People. Planet. Employment.
We help low-income families save money, protect the planet, and support employment all through solar power.
Solarthon takes over the LBC
Long Beach is a leading port for much of the world's shipping to America and now we're trying to make it a leading city in providing clean renewable solar power to its residents.Read more
GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles helps low-income families save money and provides community volunteers and job seekers with hands-on experience installing solar electric systems in local neighborhoods. Since 2007, we’ve helped over 600 low-income families go solar throughout Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties.
News in Greater LASee all news
- Through a service project hosted by nonprofit The Mission Continues, three branches of the U.S. Military… Read more
- We are happy to announce that Deep Patel is the newest addition to GRID Alternatives’ Team, joining our… Read more
- As a new year begins at GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles, we’re rolling up our sleeves and gearing… Read more
- On Friday, December 13th, GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation… Read more
- Employees from Mitsubishi Electric's Cypress, Calif. headquarters, and students from California State… Read more
- GRID had a great day in Long Beach on Saturday, Sept. 21st when more than 175 volunteers— individual… Read more
- California Governor Jerry Brown visited a GRID Alternatives installation at the Long Beach home of Maribel… Read more
- GRID Alternatives launched its nonprofit solar installation and solar jobs training program in the Antelope… Read more
- With the support of Angeleno Group, a Los Angeles-based clean energy and natural resources investor,… Read more
Veterans' Install: Reporting for Duty Once Again
Through a service project hosted by nonprofit The Mission Continues, three branches of the U.S. Military joined forces to install a 3.4 kilowatt AC solar electric system for the King family in South Los Angeles on Friday February 21st. Our two-day veterans' install started sharply at 8:30 AM, there was no fanfare or grandeur in the air, yet there was a quiet sense of camaraderie and honor that comes with serving your country and your community; and rightly so, as our crew was staffed entirely by veterans from the U.S. Navy, Army, and Marine Corps.
This project came to be through the efforts of Geoff Harjo, a U.S. Army Veteran who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who is currently completing a 6-month fellowship with GRID Alternatives through The Mission Continues. The Mission Continues empowers military veterans to serve our country in new ways by putting to use new skills learned in service and giving them the tools needed to succeed as they transition back into civilian life.
With hard-hats on and harnesses secured, all 12 veteran volunteers were ready for the safety talk led by Norman Graham, GLA's own veteran. Graham, who served for 23 years in Japan as a U.S. Navy Quartermaster, has been a Solar Installation Supervisor for GLA for over two years. He wrapped up the safety talk, and quickly divided everyone into roof crew and ground crews. Under Graham’s no nonsense leadership style, there was no standing around and no blank faces. It was evident our veterans were ready to get work done.
Our veterans’ crew came from many ranks; Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants, and Corporals were all together to serve their community once again. There were older veterans and younger ones, some retired, some still serving. Our ground team was lead by one of GRID’s go-to Team Leaders, Bernie Stafford; a U.S. Marine Corps who served in the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Stafford started his own business after transitioning back into civilian life. He is now an experienced electrician, and enjoys volunteering his time to teach others about the electricity needs surrounding a solar installation.
Also on the crew was Jorge Pongo, a staff sergeant who served for 14 years in Kuwait, Iraq and Djibouti and who continues to serve through The Mission Continues. Pongo now works in business management, and sees the economic upside of installing solar panels on low-income homes, “It makes sense to provide solar to people in need as it frees up income to be used in other ways.”
While all of our veterans have a different story to tell, they all have a similar work ethic cultivated through their commitment in service to our country. Graham, our Installation supervisor commented, “This is the biggest group of veterans we’ve ever had on an install. The get-the-job-done mentality we all share made this an efficient day. Working with these guys is not only a pleasure, but an honor.”
Thank you once again for your service, gentlemen. The honor is ours.
A Deep Commitment to GLA
We are happy to announce that Deep Patel is the newest addition to GRID Alternatives’ Team, joining our Greater Los Angeles Board of Directors. As the Founder and CEO of GigaWatt Inc. and the propelling force behind GoGreenSolar.com, Deep will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our work.
He is no stranger to GRID LA, having volunteered with GRID out on the roof to be a part of the action and supporting GRID’s Solarthons through GoGreenSolar.com.
A Los Angeles-based entrepreneur and solar advocate, Deep sees GRID Alternatives as a platform to not only cultivate his staff’s solar knowledge, but to scout potential employees, who are usually underemployed or unemployed members of our communities. Insightfully, Deep says, "GRID Alternatives is structurally sound because it creates value for everyone involved. Volunteers serve communities in need and get real-world installation experience and business like mine find qualified workers."
Michael Kadish, our Executive Director comments, "I’m confident that Deep Patel will be an important new voice on our Board of Directors. As an employer in a growing green business that’s hired our volunteers and supported our work, Deep already understands GRID’s values. I am excited to have him bring his insights and energy to the board as we expand our job training program and our services."
Congrats Deep, Welcome aboard!
Looking Back, Moving Forward
As a new year begins at GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles, we’re rolling up our sleeves and gearing up for another successful year. This year we’re looking to outdo ourselves by building on last year’s success as we aim to increase access to solar power in the communities we serve. Is it all talk? No way, we've got the numbers to prove it!
- Number of solar systems installed: 194
- Kilowatts of solar installed (kW-AC): 517
- Estimated Family savings over the lifetime of the systems: $ 4,829,524
- Greenhouse gases eliminated over the lifetime of the systems: 15,153 tons
- Volunteers who participated on an installation/orientation: 898
- Volunteers who secured jobs after volunteering with GRID: 62
GRID Alternatives’ mission is to empower communities in need through hands-on solar energy projects. We believe in a triple bottom line which includes People, Planet and Employment. Our work makes a significant impact in our communities by strengthening civic and community life, creating environmental justice and renewable energy benefits, as well as developing work-ready trainees.
Bottom line: People
This past year, GLA provided solar power to 194 families. We not only helped low-income families gain access to renewable energy, but we also helped them save money on their energy costs by netting out most of their utility bills. An estimated $4,829,524 in future savings will be created for our families during the lifetime of the systems installed. That’s an average of $25,000 per household, a good amount of money to be invested in education or healthcare costs among other things. Last year our projects brought together 898 volunteers, who generously invested their time and energy to build and strengthen our communities.
Bottom line: Planet
194 solar electric system installations translate directly into environmental benefits. Over 30 years, these solar energy systems will offset 15,153 tons of greenhouse gases, which is equivalent to planting 356,258 tress or taking 2,697 cars off the road for one year. Those numbers speak for themselves. Moreover, GRID encourages environmental justice as it brings clean, green power to low-income communities that would not otherwise have access to it. In doing so, we demonstrate that solar power is a practical solution for all of our communities, not just for those who usually have access to the latest, clean technology.
Bottom Line: Employment
Through our volunteering and workforce development programs, we helped unemployed or underemployed members of the same communities we serve secure employment for themselves in the growing solar industry. Many volunteers had the opportunity to get out on a roof and gain hands-on experience from our staff. We’re proud to report that 62 of our volunteers stepped directly into the solar labor force after receiving hours and hours of training on installations and networking with our partners. As our Volunteer and Training Coordinator, Adewale OgunBadejo states, “With GRID’s help, people are not just finding jobs in the renewable energy sector, they are finding careers.” What’s more, because of the high quality trainees GRID prepares, Adewale is frequently being approached about work-ready candidates from potential employers.
Vision for 2014
In 2104, we’ll continue working with community members and building strong partnerships with job training partners. We’ll work on new kinds of projects and expand our work into new communities while deepening our impact in communities such as Long Beach, Oxnard, El Monte, Santa Ana and other areas where we’ve already made a big difference. GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles will make 2014 another remarkable year, as Michael Kadish, our Executive Director affirms, “2014 is the year we expand our work so that access to clean energy for all Angelinos becomes not just a worthy goal, but an inevitability.”
Time to appreciate!
On Friday, December 13th, GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Social. With more than 100 guests in attendance, positive energy flowed throughout the GLA warehouse. Attendees included experienced team leaders, generous volunteers who have donated their time over the years, as well as job trainees and professors from our various partner job training groups.
True to form, everyone was ready to share. Networking organically took center stage and volunteers, both old and new, told their stories. Friendships were forged and people’s networks were expanded. That’s what it’s all about, coming together for the good of the environment, the good of the community, and the good within all of us. Together we truly make the world a better place. Here at GRID Alternatives, it happens “one rooftop at a time,” but so much more than solar happens on those rooftops. This is because of people like you. Thank you for all of the wonderful work you did in 2013! We will build on this momentum in 2014.
Happy Holidays from GRID Alternatives!
Mitsubishi & CSU Long Beach Disabled Student Services Join Forces
Employees from Mitsubishi Electric's Cypress, Calif. headquarters, and students from California State University Long Beach’s Disabled Student Services joined forces with GRID to install a donated solar electric Diamond Kit system on the roof of a North Long Beach home. Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., a leading manufacturer of solar modules and other premier electronics, sponsored the installation of the 1.8 kW Diamond Kit, a bundled solar electric system incorporating equipment donated by Mitsubishi Electric, SolarEdge Technologies, and Orion Solar Racking.
Read more from CSU Long Beach>
Solarthon takes over the LBC
GRID had a great day in Long Beach on Saturday, Sept. 21st when more than 175 volunteers— individual sponsors, corporate teams, job trainees and homeowners themselves— came out to install solar electric systems on nine homes for our fourth annual Greater Los Angeles Solarthon. Event highlights included receiving a certificate honoring Greater LA's fourth annual Solarthon from Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal; a special presentation made by the Board of Directors to GLA's departing Executive Director, Susie Chang, as she moves on to her next chapter at GRID, working to expand our services onto tribal lands and explore international opportunities; musical performances by graduates of Garfield Elementary School and tacos for all from local favorite Patricia's.
GRID has made a real impact in the LBC. We've installed for 65 families and we plan to keep on greening this port city; house by house, family by family. "I wanted to take a step towards clean energy and eliminating the use of dirty energy and its production," said Armando Lomeli, whose eight person household received a 2.8kW solar electric system at Solarthon. "We are from a humble family, and we are grateful to the sponsors. Our financial situation is tough but this program will help us tremendously."
It's not only the homeowners who benefit from our program, but volunteers and green job trainees as well. "I would like to thank GRID Alternatives for giving me the opportunity to be a part of an awesome organization," said Melvone Garrett, a Homeboy Industries student who is taking classes at East Los Angeles Skills Center. "Today I've had the opportunity to share my experiences, help educate others, and collaborate with the community sponsors and employers in making the world a better place one module at a time."
Check out our social media feed to get a feel for the event!
Gov. Brown Visits GRID Install
Governor Jerry Brown visited Long Beach on Friday, May 17 to observe the site where homeowners Maribel and Jose Mendoza and their four boys will soon reap the benefits of solar power. Their new 4.3kW system, installed with the help of job trainees from Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC), is the sixth GRID Alternatives installation on the block!
The visit was a chance for the Governor and other officials to see first-hand how California’s Single-Family Affordable Homes (SASH) program, managed by GRID, is helping underserved communities across the state. The Mendozas will save up to 90 percent on their electricity bill, savings they plan to use toward their children’s schooling.
“GRID Alternatives helps low income people be part of the solar revolution,” said the Governor, who spoke to a crowd of GRID supporters and media. Other speakers included Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Assembly Member Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), co-author of a bill to extend the SASH program, and Hector de la Torre of the California Air Resources Board.
GRID Alternatives has installed solar for more than 3400 families like the Mendozas to-date, while training more than 11,700 volunteers and job trainees in the basics of solar PV installation.
“We are so thankful for the chance to not only save money for our kids,” said Maribel Mendoza, “but also leave them a cleaner environment.”
To view pictures from the event, view the photo album here!
GRID Alternatives in the Antelope Valley
GRID Alternatives launched its nonprofit solar installation and solar jobs training program in the Antelope Valley in partnership with the City of Palmdale, the University of Antelope Valley, and a SunPower sponsor team. On Thursday May 16th, GRID completed two solar electric installations for Palmdale low-income homeowners, Marsha Furman, and Cynthia and Benjamin Leh (read the KCET ReWire article on the installations here).
Marsha Furman is a widow relying on her social security to get by. As a very low-income homeowner, she appreciates any assistance in meeting her monthly bills, but the solar electric system GRID installed, combined with GRID’s recommended energy efficiency measures, can reduce her energy costs by nearly 100%.
Students from the University of Antelope Valley’s Sustainable Energy program came out and installed Ms. Furman’s system alongside their class instructor and a GRID Alternatives Solar Installation Supervisor. Robert Heath, an Antelope Valley student who participated on the install, told the Antelope Valley Times, that the hands-on experience he was getting with GRID was critical. “You can read about it and do the book work, but you have to actually do it to learn it.” Robert got in to solar “because it’s a growing industry and Lancaster is going to be the solar capital of the country.”
One major force behind this solar growth in the Antelope Valley is SunPower, who developed and is currently the contractor for the largest PV solar development in the world. SunPower has worked with GRID Alternatives since 2006 and earlier this year, pledged to provide its high-efficiency solar panels through a combination of donations and fair market value sales to support GRID's work in underserved communities. This new phase of the ongoing philanthropic partnership is projected to generate approximately $4.8 million in energy savings for low-income families throughout the lifetime of the systems.
A volunteer team from SunPower’s Lancaster area offices came out to help install solar for the Leh family, many of whom had never had the opportunity to get out of the office and work with their own modules in the field, and all of whom enjoyed the opportunity to work together and use renewable energy to support a local family in need (view more photos here).
Also a very low-income family, Benjamin Leh is disabled and has been confined to a wheelchair following a stroke and Cynthia is his full-time caregiver. The Leh’s struggle every month to meet their expenses and look forward to their energy cost savings, most especially during the hot summer months.
Throughout the Antelope Valley, heat-related illness and death is a major health threat for elderly community members and for those with pre-existing health conditions, but local low-income families typically cannot afford critical cooling strategies like air-conditioning. The clean affordable power that these solar electric systems will generate will allow Marsha Furman and the Leh’s to protect their health in the coming summer while reducing the greenhouse gasses that contribute to higher temperatures, supporting economic and environmental sustainability for the region's most vulnerable families.
Mother's Day in South LA
With the support of Angeleno Group, a Los Angeles-based clean energy and natural resources investor, GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles celebrated Mother's Day a little early with the gift of solar power for a family in need, reducing pollution for Mother Earth and reducing energy costs for a local Mom.
Tyja Williams, a proud mother of two, is raising her children in the same Willowbrook neighborhood she was raised in and her parents still live just down the block. Her 20-year-old son wants to be a sports agent and her 12-year-old daughter, a cheerleading champion, dreams of becoming a veterinarian. Tyja is faced with high monthly bills and worries she may not be able to meet her daughter’s education expenses.
On Friday, May 3, GRID Alternatives, together with the philanthropic and volunteer support of Angeleno Group, installed a solar system for Tyja that will reduce her energy bills and enable her to start saving money immediately to invest in her daughter’s future. Tyja and her family knew very little about solar power before GRID came to her door. She now believes it is a wonderful way to combat the pollution that affects her city and in fact her 4.2KW solar system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 123 tons, the equivalent of planting over 2,800 trees. In addition to these environmental benefits, Tyja is looking forward to substantial cost savings: her solar system is projected to save up to $45,000 in energy costs over its lifetime. Tyja plans to use these savings to support her daughter’s college education.
“We are proud that Angeleno Group was able to partner with GRID Alternatives to support the continued installation of much needed renewable power generation in this community,” said Yaniv Tepper, an Angeleno Group Managing Partner. “This team-building solar project gave Angeleno Group the opportunity to work alongside a motivated crew of volunteer installation trainees, many of whom will have the opportunity to become certified solar installers serving the rapidly growing residential solar market.”
The Williams family installation was the 41st installation for low-income families in the Willowbrook neighborhood and one of over 3,000 throughout the state. Angeleno Group, based in Los Angeles, provides growth capital for next generation clean energy and natural resources companies globally. By sponsoring the Williams family installation and coming out to brave one of the first of many hot days of LA’s summer to help get their system up and running, the firm has made a tangible contribution to a local family’s “next generation.”
Celebrate Mother Earth and your own Mom with a donation in her honor to GRID Alternatives and happy Mother's Day from all of us at GRID!