People. Planet. Employment.
We help low-income families save money, protect the planet, and support employment all through solar power.
Reporting for Duty Once Again
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.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
- We're thrilled to announce that this year GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles will be a cooperating… Read more
- GRID Alternatives Greater LA is now on Twitter! Follow us to keep up with our latest projects, read about… Read more
- Each year on March 31st, Cesar Chavez’s life and work are honored through community service. This year,… Read more
- On Thursday March 27th, GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles and the newly formed Workforce Development… Read more
- In her own words, GRID Alternatives Volunteer Katharine Johnston tells her story. "With a couple years… Read more
- Early Tuesday morning, the women of GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles attended the first Women in… Read more
- 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
A More Sustainable Los Angeles
We're thrilled to announce that this year GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles will be a cooperating organization for the Los Angeles Business Council's Annual Sustainability Summit.
The Summit will be held on Friday, April 25th at the Getty Center where we’ll hear from speakers including Governor Jerry Brown, City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and US Senator Mark Udall.
Join us to share your ideas about how California’s energy and water policy can drive new jobs and investment in Los Angeles.
GRID LA Launches Official Twitter Account
GRID Alternatives Greater LA is now on Twitter! Follow us to keep up with our latest projects, read about our initiatives, and be part of a movement that increases access to solar power in communities throughout SoCal.
Homeowner, volunteers, and supporters tweet your solar stories and pics @GRID_GLA and we’ll be sure to give you a shout out!
GRID’s SolarCorps Fellows pay tribute to Cesar Chavez
Each year on March 31st, Cesar Chavez’s life and work are honored through community service. This year, GRID Alternatives SolarCorps Fellows honored Chavez’s legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and civil rights leader through service to the earth and the community by volunteering at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, an area dedicated solely to California native plants and environmental conservation.
The Fellows came prepared for a day of hard work at the garden, which is home to over 70,000 native California plants. The Fellows spent the morning pulling weeds and clearing an area that will be used to expand the garden’s nursery. After a morning of hard work, the Fellows then toured the garden, which displays sculptures created from recycled materials by Los Angeles Designer and Sculptor, LT Mustardseed. In the afternoon, the Fellows got back to work around the garden by helping to set up for an art exhibit and pulling more weeds!
All in all, it was a fun and meaningful day. SolarCorps Fellow Karen Diaz commented, “At its core, GRID stands for connecting people to the environment and sustainability. Sometimes we are in the office all day working to connect people to sustainability, it is easy to forget that we need to connect with the environment ourselves!”
GRID Tackles Workforce Development
On Thursday March 27th, GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles and the newly formed Workforce Development Committee (WDC) met for the first time to take on workforce development. Leaders from the industry and academia, along with former GRID volunteers who are currently employed in the solar industry, gathered to discuss strategies to assist volunteers and job trainees as they step into the solar workforce. The WDC will be key in strengthening and supporting GLA’s workforce development efforts.
Among lively conversation, the committee emphasized the value of being on the roof. While construction jobs are not the only accessible positions in solar, getting out on the roof gives volunteers and job trainees a different perspective and understanding about solar; something recruiters value as they look to fill many positions in design, permitting, sales, and canvassing. Professor Stuart Coley from Santa Monica College emphasizes, “Solar is not just about construction, but understanding the installation process will make you a more desirable candidate.”
The WDC hopes to bring to fruition many of the ideas discussed, such as hosting a job fair within the next few months and creating a resume bank for job seekers and employers. An HR recruiter in the committee says she has successfully recruited candidates directly from the roof, thus GLA will be inviting more recruiters to attend installations. Stay tuned for what the WDC will bring, but for now if you’re looking to jump into the solar industry, the roof is the place to be!
In Her Own Words: Katharine Johnston
With a couple years of personal study under my belt, and the continued thirst for knowledge in the field of energy and electricity, I wanted something more. Two of my friends referred me to GRID Alternatives to further my studying with some real hands-on solar installation experience.
Being at the install and not knowing everything is what it’s all about. There are so many volunteers at GRID. A few will be new, but many are just brimming with knowledge and experience to share. You end up asking so many questions, that by the end of the day, your brain is fully saturated! After just four installs with GRID, I gained tons of confidence. My familiarization with job-site vocabulary, trade specific tools, and safety has been useful every day.
Sometimes, after an install, I would come home so amped that I would share my day with my house-mates. A roommate, who had been listening to my progress, recommended me to his electrician friend. After demonstrating my ability and aptitude, I am now a third prospective owner of the up-and-coming company, Pacific Electric.
If you’re looking for a job in the industry, talk with not only other volunteers, but also employees at GRID. Let people know your long-term goals. They’re looking to help you! On top of the hands-on training you receive on the installs, you should be keeping up with all of the book learning. Get involved with your local skills center, take some technical classes, or form study groups to share information and brainstorm!
Without GRID, I wouldn’t have had the hands-on skills and confidence to secure a job. I’m now working my dream job with some of the best people you could meet. Special thanks to Adewale and Jose!
From time to time GRID GLA invites volunteers, homeowners and other community members to contribute to our blog. As part of our Women in Solar Initiative, we would also like to highlight the efforts of women in GRID Alternatives. If you or someone you know, would like to share a story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Women in Green Connect
Early Tuesday morning, the women of GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles attended the first Women in Green Power Breakfast of 2014, where they joined 130 other attendees. The breakfast centered on an inspiring conversation between Ana Guerrero, the Chief of Staff to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and sustainability leader, Heather Rosenberg. Through Heather’s questions, Ana shared her personal journey as a professional woman as well as her efforts to make the City of LA more sustainable. Ana encouraged young up-and-coming professionals to work hard and find sponsors who will open the door for their careers. SolarCorps Outreach Fellow, Isabel Lopez commented “It was inspiring to be among so many driven and independent women. I look forward to building partnerships and connecting GRID GLA’s work with the various community organizers and successful business entrepreneurs we met at this event.”
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.”