People. Planet. Employment.
We help low-income families save money, protect the planet, and support employment all through solar power.
GRID Alternatives Central Valley leads teams of volunteers and job trainees in installing solar electric systems for low-income families living in San Joaquin County to the north through Kern County in the south. Our mission is to empower communities in need by providing renewable energy and energy services, equipment and training.
Central Valley NewsSee all news
- On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 15 representatives from SunEdison converged on the City of Lamont located… Read more
- On Saturday, October 26, 2013 Bank of America and Fresno State Construction Management students joined… Read more
- On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, eleven students from Harmony Academy’s Engineering Program participated… Read more
- Representatives of numerous Bank of America branches in and around the Fresno area converged on the home… Read more
- This year was the fourth annual Central Valley Solarthon. This event brought together over one hundred… Read more
- GRID Alternatives recently established a partnership with a new solar job training organization Read more
- Workers from various Fresno branches of Bank of America volunteered and helped install solar power on… Read more
- Meet the Reed family. Life has been a struggle the last several years for this Visalia family. Scott… Read more
- Students in the green energy manufacturing academy at Ceres High School got out of the classroom and… Read more
SunEdison Completes 10th Collaborative Install with GRID Alternatives
On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 15 representatives from SunEdison converged on the City of Lamont located southeast of Bakersfield in the County of Kern. SunEdison partnered with GRID Alternatives to install a solar photovoltaic system on the home of Carlos Cabrera Mejia and his family. Participants enjoyed working as a team with people from other business units to accomplish something different from the work they normally do on a daily basis for SunEdison. Throughout the day participants created the layout and installed solar racks and panels on the roof, and installed the system inverter on site connecting it to the utility meter through electrical conduit and related wiring connections. Maya Biery, Solar Development Program Analyst stated that, “We gained perspective on how solar is installed, and for those of us in other units, we learned more about residential solar”. Overall, the day was extremely productive and GRID staff was exceedingly pleased to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of industry professionals. This is SunEdison’s 10th install in California with GRID Alternatives. We look forward to future opportunities to partner with SunEdison.
Bank of America and Fresno State Constuction Management Team-Up for Solar
On Saturday, October 26, 2013 Bank of America and Fresno State Construction Management students joined forces and provided an opportunity for the family of Adelaida Lopez de Reyes to reap the benefits of solar on their family’s rooftop. Bank of America provided a generous grant in the amount of $5,000 supporting GRID’s continuing partnership with Lyles School of Engineering, Construction Management Program at California State University, Fresno. This solar installation was the second of two planned projects with construction management students this semester. In total, there were 15 Fresno State volunteers helping on the installation. They worked on system layout, installing rails, panels, inverter, and associated wiring to make the system fully functional. The Lopez de Reyes family is excited to start enjoying the cost savings their solar PV system will provide.
Another interesting fact about this particular installation, is that it also served as the senior project for Camilo Escamilla and Luis Ibarra both Construction Management Seniors at Fresno State who will be completing their studies this December. Both Camilo and Luis helped conduct initial house inspections, worked with GRID construction supervisors learning how to design the system, recruited volunteers, and also helped with installation. Camilo and Luis were engaged throughout the entire process. They plan to provide a presentation to their classmates summarizing their senior project as well as sharing their experiences.
GRID is fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy partnerships with both Bank of America and Fresno State. We believe it is a winning combination that helps families in need avail themselves of cost saving technology that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without some assistance. We are grateful and would like to thank them each for their support!
Porterville Students Team With GRID Alternatives to Make Solar a Reality
On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, eleven students from Harmony Academy’s Engineering Program participated in the installation of a solar system at the home of Israel and Sylvia Chapa in Porterville, California, a rural community nestled along the Sierra Nevada foothills in eastern Tulare County. Israel Chapa was delighted to host students from the local magnet school and was surprised to learn that 3 of the participating students had already installed two previous systems in collaboration with GRID Alternatives. Israel is looking forward to the electrical utility cost savings his new solar system will provide his family as well as helping the students gain valuable hands-on experience in solar installation.
Melanie Rubalcaba, a senior at Harmony Academy was enjoying her birthday helping install the system’s inverter. Melanie plans to pursue an electrical engineering degree. She hopes to attend either UC Berkeley, UC Davis, or UC Merced next fall in order to pursue her chosen profession. Melanie stated that, “it is exciting to learn of how the circuitry involved in the solar system’s inverter works and how the interconnections allow the system to operate”. “It is fun to install solar and a great hands-on learning experience”. “This is my third installation with GRID”.
Christian Boudreaux, also a senior, hopes to attend Cuesta College, or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and pursue a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering. He plans to work for Boeing as a floor manager and ultimately start his own aerospace related company. Christian also participates in NASA’s Student Launch Project and plans to successfully launch a solid fuel rocket this April in Huntsville, Alabama with a team of students that are designing and building the rocket through their program.
Ruben Alvarez, Porterville Unified’s Workbase Learning Coordinator was pleased to have students participating on the installation. He stated that “students gain practical hands-on experience that reinforces their classroom work, builds critical thinking, teamwork, communications, and math skills”. “We are fortunate to have students of this caliber at Harmony Academy”. The participants average GPA as a group is 3.8, a statistic Mr. Alvarez is extremely proud of and hopes these and similar experiences will help carry each student to greater academic success in the future.
GRID Alternatives Central Valley office has many such educational partnerships with high schools, junior colleges, and 4 year colleges and universities between Stockton and Bakersfield. Tom Esqueda, Regional Director, GRID Alternatives said that, “the beauty of our work is that GRID helps families save money, provides valuable work experience and educational learning opportunities for students that also improves air quality in communities we serve”. “It’s a win-win for everyone”.
Bank of America volunteers install solar in Clovis
On Saturday, July 27, 2013, representatives of numerous Bank of America branches in and around the Fresno area including Bank of America branches located in Kerman, West Fresno, Manchester, and the bank’s call center converged on the home of the Yang family in Clovis, California to install a solar system on the family’s rooftop. Bank of America is a collaborative partner and supporter of GRID Alternatives, Central Valley office and has now completed two such installation projects in conjunction with GRID.
Tom Esqueda, GRID’s Central Valley, Regional Director, stated, “We are extremely fortunate in that over the last several years, Bank of America has supported our efforts in providing solar energy to families in this region through their generous financial support, rooftop volunteers, and enthusiasm.”
Bank of America provided a crew of 9 employee volunteers, including special guest Stephone Paige, former NFL player with the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings. As always, GRID’s mission of empowering communities in need with renewable energy, energy services, equipment and training continues at the forefront of our work and for that, we can all be proud. Thank you Bank of America!!
This year was the fourth annual Central Valley Solarthon. This event brought together over one hundred corporate employee volunteers, job trainees, community volunteers, and the homeowners themselves to install clean renewable solar energy for 10 families.
The event commenced with Chan Neptune leading the star spangled banner and Pastor Emzy Cope leading an invocation. Shortly after, breakfast was prepared by the 10 recipient families and served to over one hundred volunteers!
The Saephan was one of the families that helped prepare breakfast for the volunteers. The family shared how the benefits of solar would help them overcome financial challenges. “The cost savings of solar will give us the ability to purchase eye glasses and dental coverage for our family, while using a technology that it’s better for the earth and our health, said Sengfin Saephan, a family of four.”
A team of construction management students at Fresno State volunteered and gained hands on experience, while reinforcing classroom education.“This volunteer experience helped me use the knowledge that I have attained in class and apply it to practical use,” said construction management student, Nicholas Jarero. Construction management student Vanessa Montano said, “Instead of graduating with only classroom instruction and very little experience, I am able to gain hands on experience in my field of study while helping a family in need.” Hundreds of volunteers from job training organizations, educational institutions, and corporations volunteered and learned to install solar at Solarthon.
The collaborative effort of our staff, volunteers, and sponsors had the following impact in a single day: 30 kW of clean renewable energy installed, $280,243 in total savings for families over the systems’ lifetimes, 879 tons of greenhouse gas emissions prevented over the systems’ lifetimes equivalent to planting 20,673 trees!
We’d like to thank everyone who came out on Saturday including- GRID Alternatives official module providers SunPower and Yingli Solar, statewide sponsors Wells Fargo and Wal-Mart; Gigawatt sponsor Lifestyle Solar; Megawatt sponsors Central Valley Opportunities Center (CVOC), Proteus, Schneider Electric, and Wal-Mart; and our community volunteers and guest speakers.
Meet GRID Alternatives newest job training partner
The Central Valley Opportunity Center (CVOC) is GRID Alternatives' newest job training partner. This is the first year CVOC job trainees have had the opportunity to participate in our largest annual installation event of the year-Solarthon 2013.
The Central Valley Opportunity Center and GRID Alternatives recent partnership provides students with an avenue to gain hands on experience in California's fast growing solar industry. CVOC offers a solar training course for students, while GRID Alternatives construction staff trains and leads students on how to install solar power.
Thomas Davenport, the instructor for the solar program at CVOC, stated, “there is always a missing void between instruction and actual hands on training, and since we’ve partnered with the GRID Alternatives Central Valley office, students are more confident and know where they stand in the solar industry.”
Over the last several years, the Central Valley GRID Alternatives office, has established many similar partnerships throughout its 13 county region. Hundreds of job trainees from local educational organizations have volunteered on solar installations. “By volunteering with GRID Alternatives students learn firsthand what is expected of them before commencing a career in the solar industry, and this motivates me to start a career in solar,” said Hector Villagomez, a student at Central Valley Opportunity Center All in all, it is a mutually beneficial partnership between the two organizations
Bank of America volunteers install solar on Fresno home
Workers from various Fresno branches of Bank of America volunteered and helped install solar power on a home in South West Fresno. The solar project not only had a meaningful and positive impact in the community, but also for the workers at Bank of America.
Branch manager, Eddie Zamora, said “this experience gives my colleagues an opportunity to give back to the community that they live and work in, learn new skills, and network with others that are interested in community service.” For Eddie, the volunteer experience reminded him of the time in his childhood when his family was in need of assistance from nonprofit organizations. “It is rewarding to volunteer and help a family in need, while at the same time recalling a time in my life were organizations helped my family", said Eddie Zamora.”
Nancy Lopez, the customer service manager at Bank of America's call center, helped install eighteen SunTech Power modules onto the roof. Nancy found the use of power tools fun to use and the volunteer work meaningful. “It was heartwarming to see how happy the homeowners were and to know that Bank of America volunteers made a difference in this family’s life,” said Nancy.
The solar electric system installed during this community service project, is projected to produce over $36,432 worth of renewable energy for the Moua family over the system’s lifetime, and eliminate over 228,000 pounds of carbon emissions. The home owner Yor Moua said, “our solar system will help us save money for a longtime, and will help us save for our three children and maybe even their grandchildren.
Click here to view the photo album of the install
Getting the Reed family a needed "win"
Meet the Reed family. Life has been a struggle the last several years for this Visalia family. Scott Reed wanted to share his family’s story and spread his appreciation for GRID Alternatives.
My name is Scott Reed, I am originally from Philadelphia and I am currently a Chief in the United States Navy. I have been in the Navy for over 12 years and have been stationed in Lemoore, California for the last 10 years.
My wife’s name is Meyling; we have been married for 10 years. We have a nine year old daughter named Alisa. In 2008 Meyling was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and doctors removed the tumor. But, in October 2010 Meyling was re diagnosed with breast cancer only this time it migrated to her lower spinal cord. The doctors told us that they cannot remove the cancer from her spine and that it is terminal. In the last eight months, Meyling has had two back surgeries to prevent her spine from collapsing. Meyling is on heavy medication and is unable to get around on her own and needs assistance to get out of bed and to perform most normal tasks.
The system from GRID Alternatives will help ease some of the financial strain from medical bills that has been put on our family.
Fortunately, the Reed family heard about GRID Alternatives from a family friend and decided to pick up the phone to call the GRID Alternatives Central Valley office. The family soon received the call they were anticipating, and qualified through the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes program administered by GRID Alternatives. “We needed a win, my wife is real sick, and it was a sigh of relief to hear we would receive solar and how it would relieve a tremendous amount stress from bills,” said Scott Reed.
Scott helped install the solar electric system with Proteus students that are studying coursework in solar. The students gained valuable job training skills installing 16 SunPower panels and an SMA America inverter, while taking part in a project that would help ease the financial strain from medical bills on the Reed family. The family is very thankful for GRID Alternatives, its volunteers, and all its supporters.
Click here to view the photo album of the install
High School students gain experience installing solar power
Students in the green energy manufacturing academy at Ceres High School got out of the classroom and onto a rooftop to install solar power. This was the second installation that Ceres High school completed in the city of Livingston in conjunction with the Central Valley GRID Alternatives office.
Hellen Valle and Lizzy Magna, both seniors at Ceres High School, helped wire the inverter where direct current is converted to alternating current electricity. Hellen and Lizzy are sports enthusiasts and very active on campus. Hellen is on the swim team and Lizzy plays tennis on the varsity team. “In tennis we often play doubles and it requires a lot of communication with your tennis partner, said Lizzy. “By working as a team to install the inverter it tested and improved my communication skills."
The installation took place at the home of the Guzman family. Raul Guzman works on a farm and Ana Guzman is a stay at home mom who takes care of the children: Benjamin is eleven years old, David is eight years old, and Marilyn is four years old. The oldest child, Benjamin, was born with cerebral palsy and Ana takes close care of him. “Now he is doing better with therapy,” Ana Guzman said.
Raul Guzman took time off work to help the students with the installation. “The work of GRID Alternatives and the volunteers will help me better provide for my family, save money, and contribute to a cleaner environment,” said Raul Guzman. “Thank you for everyone that contributes to these solar projects and for the impact it has on families like mine,” said Raul Guzman.
Click here to view pictures of the install.