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Inland Empire Solarthon 2013
Thank you to everyone that participated in GRID IE's 2013 Solarthon!Learn more
GRID Inland Empire positively transforms the lives of residents and communities by providing access to clean, renewable solar energy to low income families and hands-on job training to help workers enter the solar industry!
News Under the SunSee all news
- “At first I couldn’t believe it. I’m a low-income senior and I couldn’t believe that someone low-income… Read more
- GRID Alternatives Inland Empire has launches a new program geared toward educating and engaging local… Read more
- GRID Alternatives Inland Empire is expanding its service territory! Read more
- Watch as GRID Alternatives goes Animated Read more
- Three tribal families to receive no-cost solar electric systems. Kick-off event is Tuesday, December… Read more
- GRID Inland Empire completed 8 demonstration builds in 2013 with the Chemehuevi and Bishop Paiute Indian… Read more
- GRID Alternatives Inland Empire teamed up with Emma and 6 other Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley homeowners… Read more
- Meet the Novak - Donahue - Pilch - Tigue Family — 8 strong. Together, they signed up as Solar Champions… Read more
- On Saturday, November 9th, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire will be hosting its 2nd Annual Solarthon,… Read more
Coachella Valley Homeowner Celebrates Her 3rd Anniversary with Solar
As an elderly single woman living in the Coachella Valley in eastern Riverside County, Kathleen Patterson was struggling to make ends meet. Summers, where temperatures are well above 100oF, were a constant worry because she had to save money throughout the year just to pay her electric bill. However, everything changed 3 years ago when Kathleen partnered with GRID Alternatives to receive a 3.5 kW solar electric system at no cost to her.
“At first I couldn’t believe it. I’m a low-income senior and I couldn’t believe that someone low-income could have solar. But now, here I have it and it is wonderful,” said Kathleen. Her solar system, completely financed with solar rebates and funds raised by GRID, will provide her nearly $33,000 in lifetime savings. “I love my solar and the affect it has had on my life and my financial situation here in the Coachella Valley and knowing that I am doing something good for the Earth. For one entire year of electricity, my bill was $100 for the year, unheard of in the Coachella Valley,” she proudly stated.
Through GRID’s education efforts, Kathleen also learned about saving and conserving energy. “I’ve become aware of how little things will eat up your energy. Small appliances that you don’t think about might have some big effect. Unplug them when not in use. If it is time for a new appliance, get an energy efficient one. It doesn’t take all that much energy for a family to live.”
Since receiving the solar system 3 years ago, Kathleen’s quality of life has drastically improved. She used her savings to “get even on her payments and bills” and wants to start home improvement projects that she always wanted to do but never had the money for. And she is no longer worried about those really high summer electric bills! Kathleen is also thrilled that her system, which will prevent 103 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over its 30-year lifetime (equivalent to taking 18 cars off the road for a year or planting 2,430 trees), is good for our planet. Kathleen sees that, with GRID Alternatives, everyone can have access to solar. She urges, “America get with it. Find out about solar. I love my solar and I thank GRID Alternatives for this opportunity.”
If you want to be a part of the solar future for low-income communities, donate today and check out Kathleen’s testimony below.
Empowering Today’s Youth and Tomorrow’s Solar Leaders in the Inland Empire!
Most high school students can tell you how to navigate their cell phone, but many may not know what powers it, where that energy comes from, or even the impact that power has on our environment. This generation of youth also knows that solar technology exists – from seeing solar panels on homes to advertisements on local billboards. But few have access to it, worked with it, or even imagined a career in solar.
The solar industry is one of the fastest growing industries today. According to a recent report by The Solar Foundation, it is expected to grow by 16% this year. In fact, there are now more workers in the solar industry than in the automotive industry. With that in mind, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) developed our Solar, Energy, and Outreach Training (SEaOT) Program for high school students to help bring a new generation of workers and leaders into the solar industry. The Program is designed to increase their awareness, knowledge, and skills about solar while engaging in actual hands-on solar outreach and education campaigns and solar installation projects for their low-income community members.
Recently launched with Arroyo Valley High Schools' Cultivating Organic Recycling Environmentalists (CORE) Academy in San Bernardino, CA, 32 at-risk students will learn about energy efficiency, renewable energy, community outreach and marketing, and solar design and installation through the 8-week hands-on Program. They will also be exposed to a variety of solar professions and building job-readiness skills, such as public-speaking and teamwork, to power their solar careers!
“SEaOT has been a positive experience for our students by providing them with real world training for jobs of the 21st century,” said CORE Academy Coordinator, Laura Gallardo. “Through our partnership with GRID Alternatives, we are helping CORE Academy students develop the skills needed so they can obtain jobs in the solar industry once they graduate high school.”
“We want to inspire and empower our youth in the Inland Empire about solar technology and to give back to their community,” said Bambi Tran, GRID IE Regional Director. “The SEaOT Program will get them involved in building an inclusive clean-energy economy and shaping a sustainable future for all.”
Bring SEaOT to your high school or youth program and educate and empower our young people through solar! Contact GRID Alternatives Inland Empire at 951-272-4743 or email@example.com.
GRID Alternatives is a nonprofit organization that brings the benefits of solar technology to communities that would not otherwise have access, providing needed savings for families, preparing workers for jobs in the fast-growing solar industry, and helping clean our environment.
ASER-taining Solar for Everyone: One step at a time
I wouldn’t be able to afford them [solar panels] in my lifetime without the help of GRID Alternatives. My family will be able to save a lot of money, which we need especially with a newborn at home. And all of this will help better the environment for our future generations.
- Homeowner Steven Escobar
Solar energy can benefit all families, no matter the income level. For low-income families in the Inland Empire like Steven’s, who could never afford solar, the benefits can be even greater in terms of financial relief and stability. This means money that can go back into the local economy for food on the table, books for school, shoes on kids’ feet, and gasoline in cars to get to work!
Under a new partnership with Riverside Public Utilities (RPU), GRID IE’s own local municipal utility, GRID will provide 10 low-income families in the City of Riverside access to solar and its many benefits this year! RPU’s new Affordable Solar Energy for Riverside (ASER) Program, modeled after GRID’s Solar Affordable Housing Program, will serve to expand the City’s renewable energy portfolio, reduce energy bills for low-income families by providing no cost photovoltaic systems, and promote economic development by increasing home prices in low-income areas and providing education and workforce development training on solar installation.
ASER is the first municipal program of this kind in California, bringing together City departments, nonprofits and community members to innovatively eliminate the financial barriers to renewable energy acquisition. It’s also designed to be a model for other municipal agencies wishing to offer solar to low-income households.
GRID IE is thrilled to be carrying out this new program starting in Spring 2014!. Together, we’re taking one step closer towards access to solar for everyone here in our local region. We will be recruiting homeowners and volunteers soon! To volunteer on a Riverside installation or to see if you qualify for the ASER program, contact us after March 2014 at: 951-272-4743.
GRID Alternatives Brings Solar and Savings to Chemehuevi Indian Tribe
Havasu Lake, CA; November 27, 2013 – GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE), in partnership with the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, is bringing clean energy, much needed utility cost savings, and solar job skills to families on the Chemehuevi Reservation bordering Lake Havasu. Beginning December 3, 2013, GRID IE, a non-profit that brings solar power and solar job training into communities that otherwise would not have access, will launch their Tribal Solar Demonstration Project for residents on the Chemehuevi Reservation.
GRID IE staff will lead teams of solar trainees from the tribe to install solar electric systems at no cost for the income-qualified owners of three tribal homes. To commemorate this significant partnership, the Chemehuevi Tribal Council, Southern California Edison, invited guests, and community members as well as families receiving solar systems provided by GRID Alternatives will be attending the Official Kickoff Event on Tuesday, December 3, beginning at 11am.
Access to clean power, protecting the environment, and self-sufficiency are top priorities for the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe. And for tribal homeowners struggling to make ends meet, financial savings are vital. Through GRID Alternatives’ Solar Affordable Housing program, Steven Escobar and his family living on the reservation will receive a 3.7 kW solar electric system that is estimated to reduce their annual electric bill by over 40%. “We’ll be able to use the savings to cover many of the bills and costs of our home and family,” said Steven, “especially food costs, since our daughters are growing up so fast!”
The Chemehuevi solar electric systems combined will total nearly 12 kW, generating over 650,000 kWh of clean renewable energy over the lifetime of the systems. This equates to $110,000 in total savings for the three families. In addition, 340 tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be prevented, equivalent to planting 8,000 trees, or taking 60 cars off the road for one year!
About Chemehuevi Indian Tribe
As part of the Great Basin Culture Area, the Chemehuevi (a term given by the Mojave people meaning "those that play with fish"), a branch of the Southern Paiute, have been persistent occupants of the Mojave Desert. Known to themselves as Nuwuvi (The People), they have been nomadic residents of the Mojave Desert's mountains and canyons and the Colorado River shoreline for thousands of years. The Chemehuevi Indian Tribe became a federally recognized tribe in 1970. Today, the Reservation comprises approximately 32,000 acres of trust land that includes thirty miles of Lake shoreline. For more information, visit www.chemehuevi.net.
GRID’s Tribal Work in the Inland Empire: So True!
Near the Mojave Desert on the California and Arizona border, lies the Chemehuevi Indian Reservation with a few hundred homes clustered on its vast 32,000 acres bordering Lake Havasu. GRID Alternatives Inland Empire first learned about Chemehuevi last year from one of our many energetic volunteers, Valthyna Cade. Valthyna, a solar job trainee and a relatively new volunteer with GRID at that time, lived on the Reservation for a number of years. She was determined to bring GRID’s program to her family and friends there so they could save money on their bills and gain tangible job skills to move towards greater self-sufficiency.
But skepticism abound when Shirley and GRID IE had initial discussions with the tribe. Few believed that a program like GRID’s was a legitimate opportunity. Shirley Smith, Chemehuevi Tribal Council Vice-Chair shared, “When I first heard about GRID’s program, I thought it was too good to be true.” Through everyone’s hard work and persistence, a partnership built on trust and respect was established between GRID IE and the Chemehuevi Tribal Council. And Valthyna’s dream became a reality in early December 2013 as GRID IE construction staff, working alongside Valthyna (who doned her trademark Redskins hardhat) and over a dozen other tribal job trainees, installed 3 solar systems for income-qualified Chemehuevi families!
Valthyna’s son, Steven Escobar, was the first homeowner to qualify for GRID’s program at Chemehuevi – and the first one installed! Standing proudly in front of his installed system, he stated, “I’m very grateful to get the solar panels. I wouldn’t be able to afford them in my lifetime without the help of GRID Alternatives. My family will be able to save a lot of money, which we need especially with a newborn at home. And all of this will help better the environment for our future generations!” Tribal Council Vice-Chair Smith added, “Looking at this first installation today, I know GRID’s program is NOT too good to be true. It’s going to help the families and workers here in our tribe tremendously.” (In the neighboring photo from left to right: Valthyna Cade - Volunteer, Jeff Apoian - GRID Construction staff, & Steven Escobar - GRID Homeowner, son of Valthyna Cade)
GRID IE wraps up 2013 having completed solar demonstration projects with both the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe as well as the Bishop Paiute Tribe in Bishop, CA. Together, 8 low-income tribal families were empowered to go solar, saving them over $270,000 in lifetime electricity costs and eliminating 845 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to planting 12,000 trees or taking 150 cars off the road for one year! Furthermore, more than 20 tribal job trainees gained the knowledge, skills and experience needed to break into the solar workforce.
Help GRID bring solar power and solar job training to tribal communities in the Inland Empire and nationally! Give, get involved, and connect us to your tribal leaders (contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-496-4743).
Enormous Good Feelings at GRID IE 2013 Solarthon!
Over 20 years ago, Emma Alcantar was financially down on her luck. She went to a food bank in her city of Temecula, CA to help fill her refrigerator and to find clothes for family. After a debilitating accident in 2006, Emma started volunteering at the food bank to fill her time since she was no longer able to work. She volunteers there 3 times a week and, with her limited English skills, helps 40-60 families fill their grocery bags with food. “I understand the sacrifice it takes to volunteer your time and the enormous good feeling a true volunteer gets,” says Emma.
GRID Alternatives Inland Empire teamed up with Emma and 6 other Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley homeowners to spread that “enormous good feeling” to hundreds of corporate and individual sponsors, community leaders, and job trainees on November 9th at Solarthon – GRID’s annual community solar installation, block party, and fundraiser! The corporate and community volunteers worked side-by-side with the Habitat homeowners to install solar electric systems on their own homes, at no cost to them!
“I was excited to see all the different solar installers coming together – instead of competing with each other – to fundraise, volunteer, and make a difference for several fortunate families,” said Mike Symmes, Solar Power Consultant with Real Goods Solar, a Solarthon Corporate Sponsor. “It was a great, rewarding experience and I felt really proud spending a few hours with Emma and her family helping them go solar with GRID!”
Emma’s new solar system will reduce her electricity bill by almost 90% and provide significant financial relief, allowing her to focus on more important things, like her health and time with her family. Sharing her inspiring story during the lunch program, Emma encouraged the assembled crowd to continue volunteering, supporting GRID, and installing solar. “I feel extremely grateful for the chance to participate in a program that helps those in need, like myself. Don’t change your mind and heart about solar!” said Emma.
GRID IE 2013 Solarthon’s total impact includes 18 kW of clean, renewable solar power installed for a combined savings of $168,000 for 7 families and over 520 tons of greenhouse gas emissions eliminated, equal to planting 12,400 trees, over the lifetime of the installed systems. On this milestone day, hundreds of corporate and community installation and event volunteers came out and gave back to the local community; thousands of dollars were raised to support GRID’s work in the Inland Empire; AND 81% of the event’s solid waste was recycled or composted!
Check out photos of Solarthon here!
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped make GRID IE 2013 Solarthon an overwhelming success, including: Wells Fargo, SolarMAX, Real Goods Solar, Sunpro Solar, Sunmodo, Sullivan Solar Power, New Day Solar, Ameresco Solar, Three Generations for Change, GRID IE Solar Champions and Team Leaders, Premier Medical Transportation, CR&R, Pur-a-Life Water Solutions, 3in1 Design, Sweet Lumpy’s BBQ, My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, Red Bull, SolarCity, Ambassador Energy, Horizon Solar Power, That Solar Guy, Triple Line Solar, Verengo Solar, Access Solar, SunPower Corp., Yingli Solar, Enphase Energy, Jinko Solar, Suntech, Schneider Electric, Rancho Vista High School Solar Technology Program, Desert Mirage High School GrEAT Academy, AmeriGas Propane, Broken Yolk Café, Dr. David Suh, Idyllwild Coffee Roasters, Nothing Bundt Cake, Rain Bird, Rock Fitness, Round Table Pizza, Sage Mountain Farms, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Southern California Edison, Walter’s Automotive, and Yogavate. Also, our deep appreciation to all of the special invited guests, dignitaries, and celebrities who came out and showed their support for GRID’s work, including: Temecula Councilman Ron Roberts, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley and their dedicated event volunteers, Sierra Club, American Lung Association, and Electric Vehicle Association of Southern California as well as the San Diego Charger Girls, Ladies of the LA Kings Ice Crew, Miss City of Temecula and Her Court, Firefighters from CalFire Station 12, and Reach for Life and their state-of-the-art Medevac Helicopter.
Interested in getting that “enormous good feeling”? Sponsor Solarthon 2014, volunteer with GRID, and/or sponsor an employee volunteer workday for your company! We have a wide variety of opportunities and unpaid internships available. Click here for more information!
Three Generations for Change
They are young, they are middle-aged, they are old. They are full-time students, employed, unemployed, and retirees. They span 3 counties—Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange. Meet the Novak - Donahue - Pilch - Tigue Family - 8 strong. Together, they signed up as Solar Champions for GRID Alternatives Inland Empire 2013 Solarthon on November 9th in Temecula so they can be part of the change!
Solarthon is providing this family a very unique opportunity to become more deeply involved and to see first-hand how a community can truly come together to make a difference in one day. “It’s so easy for people to get involved in their own worlds. Yet, we are all dealing with similar struggles. Solarthon is happening right here at our back door…so close to us…to home! This will help keep us grounded and be thankful and grateful for what we have,” says Noёl Novak Donahue, GRID’s very own SolarCorps Outreach Fellow, who is leading the team.
Along with hundreds of other individual Solar Champions, corporate sponsors, such as SolarMAX, Real Goods Solar, Sunpro, Sunmodo, and Wells Fargo, community leaders, and the homeowners themselves, this “Three Generations for Change” team will help install solar for 7 low-income Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley families, saving them over $165,000 over the systems’ lifetimes, and fundraise to support GRID’s work. “I am extremely excited,” says Noёl, “and this is such a wonderful event and opportunity for my family to work together as a unit and give back!”
Only a limited number of Solarthon Solar Champion spots are still available! Please sign up and join the Three Generations for Change team for this one day of making a difference and fun in the sun! Register at www.solarthon.org/inlandempire OR contact Cindy Corrales at email@example.com or (951)-471-7043.
Solarthon and the organizations that make it happen
On Saturday, November 9th, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) will be hosting its 2nd Annual Solarthon, the biggest fundraiser of the year in the city of Temecula. Solarthon is a one of a kind opportunity for GRID IE to demonstrate our everyday work in the region and highlight our community and corporate partners.
This year, we are thrilled to announce that our statewide partners Wells Fargo and Real Goods are participating for a second time in our GRID IE Solarthon! In addition, our newest statewide partner, Sullivan Solar, and our regional partner, SolarMax, will be joining us as well this year! Together, with sponsorships and our partners, we will be able to install solar electric systems for 7 deserving Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley homeowners and will be able to do all of this all at no-cost to the homeowners.
Last year, GRID IE’s Solarthon event was an unprecedented success. Not only did GRID IE install solar electric systems for a neighborhood in the city of San Jacinto, but the event itself was sustainable and Sustainable RCC, a collegiate organization, was on-hand to perform a waste audit of the entire event.
This year, GRID IE has several unique innovations to the Solarthon event. GRID IE will continue to make the event as sustainable as possible with the assistance of students at Rancho Vista High School who will be performing the waste audit. Also new this year, GRID IE has opened Solarthon to the entire community, as Solarthon will also encompass an Eco-Wellness Fair and an Electric Car Show. The Eco-Wellness Fair is an opportunity for businesses in the community to display their practices that focus on environmental friendliness and/or overall community health. Exhibitors include Rain Bird Corporation, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Sierra Club My Generation, and the American Lung Association, just to name a few. At the Eco-Wellness Fair, every exhibitor will have an educational, interactive activity that will be certainly be great fun for the entire family. If you are interested in signing up to be an exhibitor, please click here. The Electric Car Show will be an opportunity for the community to see first-hand environmentally friendly car options. With not all of the cars from a dealership, the community will be able to speak directly to the actual owners of the cars and hear their experiences with each distinct model.
There are even more new pieces to this year’s Solarthon event! Partnering with Rancho California Water District (RCWD) and Rain Bird Corporation, GRID IE will help its 7 Habitat for Humanity homeowners save on their water bill as well. RCWD offers a rebate program for water saving devices and the district will assist families in applying to this program. In addition, Rain Bird Corporation will be donating drip irrigation kits and weather smart irrigation sensors to our homeowners. Homeowners will not only be saving on their water bill, they will saving a precious resource for the Southern California region.
GRID Alternatives focuses on People, Planet, and Employment and at GRID IE’s 2nd Annual Solarthon and Eco-Wellness Fair that will proudly be on display thought each and every aspect of this one of a kind fund and visibility raiser. Please join us as our guest and come check it out! All are welcome, and it’s free to the public!!
Update: Here is a short list of companies, restaurants, and special guest appearances:
- SolarMax Tech, Real Goods Solar, Sunpro Solar, Sunmodo, Solar City, and Verngo Solar (just to name a few)
- Meet and Greet and pictures with the Girls of the LA Kings Ice Crew
- Electric Vehicle Show featuring: Fiats, Mercedes, Tesla, and more!
- Eco Wellness Fair in Rotary Park featuring:
- Dance Demonstrations by the San Diego Charger Girls
- Free yoga classes for families and children from Hollywood's Yogavate
- Fresh produce from local area farmers
- Delicious deserts from Nothing Bundt Cakes Free
- Food tastings from Broken Yolk Cafe
- Solar powered juice bar
- Carnival games and raffle prizes Solar Consultations from the area's TOP solar companies
- The American Lung Association
- Sierra Club My Generation ...and of course many more :)