Colorado, here we come!
GRID Alternatives kicked off its Colorado expansion in fall 2012 with 12 solar installations for deserving families in Lakewood. Join us as GRID Colorado gets underway in 2013!Read more...
GRID Alternatives Colorado installs solar electric systems for low-income families throughout the state, providing families with needed savings and training Colorado workers for jobs in the growing solar industry.
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- It's time to get on the roof! GRID Alternatives Colorado, in partnership with Veterans Green Jobs, has… Read more
- GRID Alternatives and SEI formalize our relationship to bring hands-on training to solar students. Read more
- GRID Alternatives kicked off its Colorado operations and national expansion this fall with its first… Read more
- Six days, twelve families, hundreds of volunteers, staff, and curious onlookers, and a whole lot of fun!… Read more
- Lakewood homeowners take part in their installations with delicious lunch for their volunteers. Read more
- GRID Alternatives, Habitat for Humanity, and Wells Fargo join homeowners in powering community. Read more
- Danny Moore, US Army Vet and solar student volunteered all week with us, helping homeowners save and… Read more
- Three of our first four systems were finished today, thanks volunteers from Ecotech, Red Rocks Community… Read more
- We made it! Fifty volunteers and GRID staff swarmed rooftops and garages in Lakewood, CO this morning… Read more
Time to ramp up!
It's time to get on the roof! GRID Alternatives Colorado, in partnership with Veterans Green Jobs, has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) to support the installation of solar electric systems for 10-14 low-income families in Denver and Jefferson Counties before September.
In addition to receiving solar panels on their homes, each family will have received energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades from Veterans Green Jobs. Energy efficiency is the most important first step to going solar - it reduces energy use and high, burdensome utility bills, increases health and safety, and lowers environmental impacts. Reduced energy use of each family helps GRID stretch our resources to serve more families in need!
Once a home has been weatherized, GRID volunteers and workforce trainees install solar PV systems with a lifetime of 30 years. With our dedicated team and barn-raising model, each installation has a tremendous impact on our community:
- $24,393 of savings for each family served
- 149,006 kWh of electricity generated by the sun
- 116 tons of greenhouse gas emissions
- Equivalent of 21 cars taken off the road for one year
- Equivalent of 2,722 Trees planted
Our CEO grant got us halfway to our Colorado promise of 30 installations by year's end. You can help by making a charitable contribution today of $25, $50, $100 or more and invest in our next family's home installation. Please give today!
5/15/2013 Shirley Moore and Kristina Sickles
Photo Left: Construction Manager, Rob Taylor, doing site visits and gearing up for installations!
Last September, Solar Energy International (SEI) Co-Founder Johnny Weiss and Noah Davis Manager of SEI’s Solar In the Schools Program volunteered to help us install solar for 12 Habitat for Humanity in Lakewood along with some of SEI's past students. SEI and GRID are officially partnering in 2013 to bring training to GRID's volunteers and team leaders, provide extra hands-on and leadership experience to SEI students, and collaborate on new opportunities.
Solar Energy International is a non-profit educational organization that provides hands-on workshops and online courses in solar PV, wind, micro-hydro and solar hot water and works cooperatively with grassroots and development organizations in the Americas, Africa, Micronesia and the Caribbean. SEI, a long-time friend of GRID Alternatives, helped us with our early work in California. Now that we've set up shop in Colorado, it's time to take our relationship to the next level. Keep an eye out for more of our fun collaborations!
Shirley Moore 5/2/2013
Left: Johnny Weiss helping one of our volunteers hoist a solar panel to the roof during the Colorado Pilot Project last fall.
Here we come, Colorado!
GRID Alternatives kicked off its Colorado operations and national expansion this fall with its first ever out-of-state project, in Lakewood, Colorado, marking the start of a 5-year, $2 million grant from Wells Fargo to help bring GRID Alternatives' program to communities accross the United States.
From September 24-29, we installed solar electric systems for 12 deserving families living in homes built by Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver in the City of Lakewood. These systems will save families $360,000 over their 30-year lifetimes, and take the CO2 equivalent of 231 cars off the road for a year! And as usual, we had the help of community volunteers, job trainees and employee volunteers from our corporate and other partners. Check out our other news from September to read all about our Colorado adventures!
This project was just a preview of what's to come, with GRID Alternatives Colorado slated to open its doors in Denver in 2013!
Interested in volunteering or otherwise getting involved? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
For media inquiries, please contact Julian Foley, email@example.com
It's a wrap!
Six days, twelve families, hundreds of volunteers, staff, and curious onlookers, and a whole lot of fun! Today was the final day of our Colorado pilot project, and the sun was out in all its fall glory. Maria Ojeda was one of the last homeowners to get her system, and she looked on as a team of 11 women (our first Colorado Women’s Build!) scurried up and down the ladder, hoisted panels, pulled wire, etc., making short work of a relatively complex installation on her double-pitch roof.
Maria has been a home health aide and nursing home assistant for 15 years, and has three of her seven children still at home. She and her family worked off their Habitat for Humanity hours in just six months, with her parents and older children all pitching in. She can’t wait to start getting her power from the sun and saving some money for her kids.
‘I'm so excited to save money on my electric bill! Thank you GRID Alternatives!” she said.
We had occasion to thank her too, for the delicious beef and potato quesadillas she made for lunch today. We’re all heading back to California with full bellies and happy hearts. Thanks Colorado, for such a warm welcome. We can’t wait to come back!
Nohemi Hinojos is still waiting for the roofer who was supposed to come out last week and get her roof repaired and ready for her scheduled installation today, but that didn’t stop her from firing up her grill and cooking 30 pounds of carne asada for the GRID volunteers. Plates were piled high with meat, tamales, enchiladas, guacamole, two types of salsa, refried beans and more, all cooked by today’s homeowners. Feeding volunteers is just one of the many--and perhaps our favorite--ways our homeowners participate in their installations, and this feast was about as good as it gets!
“What you guys are doing is a huge service. Making lunch is nothing compared to what you guys are doing for us.” said Martha Cruz, whose system was installed yesterday.
We’re prepping the final four homes for panels today, including Nohemi’s, and we hope we’ll be able to finish her system with local volunteers and the few remaining staff next week. Two of her five children were working with us, one on the roof and another, 7-year-old Obed, helping prep the rails on the ground. He’s got a solar career ahead of him for sure!
Tomorrow is our last full day here. Stay tuned for a report from our impromptu women’s build!
More than panels on a roof
One, two, three, four! One by one, Wells Fargo employee volunteers cheered on four elated homeowners as they flipped the switches on their solar systems this afternoon, after what will go down in GRID history as a landmark day -- the official launch of our Colorado project, a day when we celebrated with the volunteers, homeowners, sponsors, public officials and partners that have helped us make it happen.
“This is about so much more than a house,” said Heather Lafferty, Executive Director of Habitat of Humanity of Metro Denver, speaking before the crowd during lunch. “This is about so much more than a roof and walls, and even solar. This is about community.”
It is about Juan and Norma Ibarra, homeowners who rolled burritos for the volunteers and guests in between trips up to the roof to help out. It is about Fatimah, just eight years old when her family finished building their Habitat home, who spoke movingly about what having an affordable home means to her, her family and her community. It is about 30 Wells Fargo employees who took the day off work to help others. It is about a group of veterans who are learning a new trade as they embark on civilian careers. And it is about all the people who are going to walk away from this week with a passion for solar energy and its power to improve people’s lives.
“You are now ambassadors for solar,” said Ron Binz, former head of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and renewable energy advocate, addressing the families. “You will be telling your neighbors, your friends, and colleagues, ‘this is not some weird technology. This is a solar panel on my roof that is powering my mixer.”
We are so proud to be powering not just mixers this week in Colorado, but also communities like this one.
Meet Captain Moore
Daniel Moore was one of the first volunteers we met on Monday, and he’s been on the roof with us ever since, gaining more confidence and taking more leadership with each passing day. If we had brought any orange team leader shirts, he’d probably be in one by the end of the week! Danny is a solar student at Ecotech Institute, which has been the source of many of our volunteers so far this week, and is also an intern at Veterans Green Jobs, the amazing partner we mentioned in our first post. At 37, he’s got 18 years of army service under his belt, as an airborne ranger, a helicopter pilot, and a counter IED team leader. He's expecting one final deployment sometime next year.
Like many of the vets we've worked with, Danny is passionate about solar. “Our country became great in the 50s because we had access to so much cheap energy,” he explained. “I realized that if we want to maintain our leadership role and set an example for other countries, we need to start finding more balance in our energy sources. Solar always sticks out in my mind as one way to achieve that balance.”
He and his wife moved to Colorado from California last year so he could go back to school and get involved in renewables. When he found out about GRID, he signed up to work the whole week, and we are thrilled to have him! He and the other volunteers—many of them back for the second or third time—managed to complete one system today and prep another four homes for tomorrow’s install with employee volunteers from Wells Fargo. Tomorrow is also our big open house launch event, where we'll be hosting some local VIPs and honoring our partners. If you're in Denver, look for us on Channel 9 in the morning!
All systems go
Despite a morning of on-and-off rain that forced volunteers off the roof twice, homeowner Traci Schwindt's daughter had the thrill of turning the family's system on this afternoon and watching the meter roll backward. Our first Colorado system to go live!
“We are really excited about this,” said Traci, who shares her modest home with her four children, a son-in-law, two grandchildren ages 5 and 2 weeks, and her dog Baby. Traci had hoped to get a solar system when she built her house 13 years ago through Habitat for Humanity, but wasn’t able to. A widow of 16 years, she raised her children alone on a variety of jobs, from clerking at Blockbuster to caring for animals at an overflow shelter. The savings from solar will help a lot, especially with so many people in the house.
“I’ll be able to catch up on some bills,” she said, “take the car in.”
Three of our first four systems were finished today, thanks to patient and hardworking volunteers from Ecotech, a local job training organization, Red Rocks Community College, Solar Energy International, Veterans Green Jobs, and Energy Outreach Colorado, a weatherization and energy assistance organization, plus a few volunteers who showed up from as far away as Florida (!) to work with us this week. With a little luck, we’ll dodge the rain again tomorrow and get our next three homes prepped for panels.
Above: Traci turns on her system for the first time.
We made it! Fifty volunteers and GRID staff swarmed rooftops and garages in Lakewood, CO this morning to start installing the first four of 12 solar electric systems we'll be putting in here this week. The project is a preview of GRID Colorado, opening 2013, which will bring solar savings, job skills and clean, local energy to communities across the Centenial state!
We couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome, from the Wells Fargo seed grant that got us started, to the support of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver in finding clients, to the tables, chairs, tools, you-name-it offered by local non-profit Veteran's Green Jobs, whose employees will be out on the roof with us all week. (Stay tuned for some great stories from this group, who are retired Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy helping others like them find new careers serving their communities and improving the environment.)
Our site this week is a single-family Habitat for Humanity development built in 1998, and you can see new Habitat buildings going up just across the street from where we are working. Josie, a homeowner in the neighborhood who is volunteering with us this week, spent five years putting in the 500 hours she needed to get her Habitat home. Now she's back on the roof helping out her neighbor.
Most of our volunteers today were from Veterans Green Jobs, Colorado Energy Office and Xcel, one of Colorado's investor-owned utilities. The Xcel employees, most from the renewable energy and energy efficiency divisions, are no strangers to volunteering -- the company gives employees 40 hours of paid volunteer time a year -- but for many of them it was their first time on the roof. Needless to say, they left happy and proud, even if they didn't get to lay any panels.
Thanks to all who made this happen. We're so happy to be here!