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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
- Three tribal families to receive no-cost solar electric systems. Kick-off event is Tuesday, December… 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
- Our Fall GRID Green Mixer will be held in Hemet on Monday, 7 October, 5-7pm! Read more
- On November 9, 2013, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire will harness the power of the sun in the “Place… Read more
- GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) is partnering with the Bishop Paiute Tribe for its first-ever… Read more
- Of the many volunteers and Team Leaders that GRID Alternatives trains on a regular basis, this inspirational… Read more
- A solar electric system at no cost?! Bill Shearer and his family couldn’t believe it. But not too long… Read more
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.
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 :)
Green Mixer Coming Back This October in Hemet
Back by popular demand… it’s time for another GRID Alternatives Inland Empire Green Mixer! GRID IE’s Green Mixers are designed to give GRID volunteers and community members the opportunity to connect with employers and other contacts within the solar, renewable energy, and green industries. Our Fall GRID Green Mixer will be held in Hemet on Monday, 7 October, 5-7pm! It’s being presented by the Office of Congressman Raul Ruiz and sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Western Science Center.
Many of you who attended our Summer GRID Green Mixer in June know how valuable this networking opportunity is. Over 150 attendees and more than 24 organizations and companies were present.
Here is a short list of some of the companies and organizations that participated:
California Public Utilities Commission
Southern California Edison
Sullivan Solar Power
WRCOG’s HERO Program
Don’t miss out on another great opportunity to connect with solar and green industry representatives at GRID IE’s next Green Mixer in Hemet on 7 October, 5-7pm! RSVP here.
IE Solarthon Comes to Temecula, “Place of the Sun,” Benefiting 7 Lucky Habitat Homeowners!
On November 9, 2013, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire will harness the power of the sun in the “Place of the Sun”, Temecula, CA, for our largest annual solar installation block party and fund and visibility raiser – Solarthon 2013. Hundreds of corporate sponsors, community organizations, job trainees, and individuals will come together to install solar for seven hardworking and deserving Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley (HFHIV) families in one day while raising awareness for solar energy, healthy living, and vital dollars to support and sustain GRID’s work throughout the Inland Empire!
“I feel so fortunate and happy to be part of [Solarthon],” says Saul Muro, one of the Habitat homeowners. Having lived with his family of 6 in an apartment for over 13 years, homeownership was a dream for Saul. Through HFHIV, his family worked hard, persevered, and bought their 1st home. But being unemployed after an injury at work last year has made their financial situation extremely tight and savings in their monthly utility bill cannot come at a better time. “[Thanks to Habitat], I have a home. And now my home, which is for my children, will have lower energy bills… it is wonderful and very emotional for me,” says Saul.
Solarthon will provide the 7 families a combined savings of more than $140,000 over the lifetime of the installed solar systems. “Giving our families this opportunity is beyond words. It’s not just about providing a roof over their head, but enhancing the quality of their lives with solar panels. The benefits will be reflected in their electric bill and help them make a conscious effort to better the planet, for their future, and the futures of their kids and grandkids,” says Elizabeth Hamerschlag, HFHIV Director of Resource Development.
Join us at Solarthon for a great time for a great cause with plenty of sun! With three components – solar installations, Eco-Wellness Fair, and Electric Car Show – there are a number of ways to get involved. Individual and corporate sponsorship opportunities are still available. Wells Fargo, Real Goods Solar, Solar City, and Rain Bird are among our confirmed sponsors, and we’re expecting over 500 participants, including special celebrity guests. For more information, visit www.solarthon.org/inlandempire or contact Stuart Haniff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 951-471-7107. Don’t miss this solar event of the season that everyone will be talking about!
GRID IE kicks off first ever tribal demonstration project in Bishop
GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) is partnering with the Bishop Paiute Tribe for its first-ever Tribal Solar Demonstration Project, bringing clean energy, much needed utility cost savings, and solar job skills to families on the Paiute Reservation located near the City of Bishop.
Over the course of 10 days 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 five tribal homes, a total of eighteen family members. The project kicked off on Tuesday, July 23 with an event attended by the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council, Southern California Edison, community leaders, and local and state representatives as well as families receiving solar systems. (Click here to listen to local radio coverage of the project).
For tribal homeowners, financial savings are vital. WaSuYaa West, a project participant, expressed her enthusiasm about the anticipated economic relief that this project will bring to her community. “My electric bills are very high – about $145 per month. I have a medium income job and am supporting three kids. There is no way I could ever afford solar panels on my own.” Through GRID Alternatives’ program, West will receive a 3.6 kW solar electric system that is estimated to reduce her annual electric bill by over 50%.
Access to clean power is a top priority for the Bishop Paiute Tribe. “My grandkids have asthma, and I have developed allergies over the years,” said Charlene Redner, a participating homeowner. “I really think solar power will help improve the air, making these things much better.”
“[Solar power] is less harmful to the environment than electricity generated by oil and coal,” noted another tribe member. “And solar will help our community because it is dependable.”
The Bishop Paiute solar electric systems combined will total over 17 kW, generating nearly a million kWh of clean renewable energy over the lifetime of the systems. This equates to more than $160,000 in total savings for the five families. In addition, 505 tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be prevented, equivalent to planting 12,000 trees, or taking 90 cars off the road for one year! All of the systems were designed with Yingli Green Energy America modules and Enphase inverters. Stay tuned for more posts as the project gets underway, or check out our Facebook page for photos and updates.
Volunteer Spotlight: Sinclair Wallace
A native of San Pedro, California, Sinclair has lived all across the state from Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo, to Contra Costa County, and back down to San Diego. Sinclair’s career was just as diverse, ranging from being a salesman for marine electronics, to crafting surf boards, and investing in real estate. Unfortunately, after the housing market plummeted, Sinclair found himself out of work and struggling with a drug addiction. After a dark period, he decided to change his ways and get back on track for himself and his family through a recovery program.
One day during his recovery, Sinclair drove past an ad for a PV course at a local trade school in the LA area and thought it would be a great direction for him professionally and personally. Through the PV program, Sinclair became NABCEP Entry Level certified and learned about volunteering with GRID Alternatives through his instructor, who is a GRID Alternatives Certified Team Leader.
Sinclair began volunteering with GRID IE in August 2012 and quickly moved his way up to becoming a Certified Team Leader as well! In January 2013, he was hired as a solar apprentice with an LA-based solar company. He attributes much of his recovery and solar career success to GRID Alternatives. “Being unemployed was really tough on my recovery, and GRID helped me get back on track, working and interacting with people, and gaining a new skill,” said Sinclair. He added, “I hadn’t had a real tax paying job for 6 years and had a tough time getting a job with a real company. By volunteering with GRID, it put me back on the map again.”
Sinclair plans to work towards his NABCEP PV Installer certification and continue his bright and promising career in solar. He declares, “I feel like I’ve been in such a dark hole and moving into solar and working with GRID really opened my eyes…[I saw] that people really do care. I feel good and secure and actually happy about my life. I’m working and have lots of new friends, and things are a lot better. Life has been really good for me!”
Thank you Sinclair for your inspiring story, great attitude, and time volunteering with GRID Alternatives!
To meet and network with other inspiring volunteers join us at GRID IE’s upcoming SOLARTHON community installation, block party, and fundraiser in Temecula on November 9th. Click here for more information and to register!
Much Enthusiasm for Solar from the Shearer Family in the City of Redlands
A solar electric system at no cost?! Bill Shearer and his family couldn’t believe it. But not too long ago, this became reality for them! Through GRID Alternatives, the Shearer family received a 6.9 kW solar system designed to lower their annual electricity bill by about 80% – at no cost to them. This translates into about $64,755 saved and 219 tons of CO2 emissions reduced over the life of the system.
Bill and his wife think that GRID Alternatives’ Solar Affordable Housing Program is fantastic. “The solar system is definitely taking care of one of the financial burdens we face every month. We see a huge difference in our quality of living and our disposable income.”
Bill even volunteered and participated in his first ever solar installation on his own house. Now he can tell people that not only did he get a solar electric system, he also helped install it! Bill describes the experience working with GRID IE as “very professional…and the volunteers were fun to work with. I helped out on the ground and it was quite a learning experience. Everyone was really gung-ho!”
With solar energy in their life, Bill said that it “got us thinking on a different energy path and truly supportive of green resources. We tell everyone about renewable energy and now our friends, family, and neighbors want to explore different avenues of green energy themselves.”
Overall, Bill and his wife are ecstatic and send “Thanks to GRID Alternatives Inland Empire from our family!”
Well, Bill, we thank YOU for working with us and being a true solar advocate!
GRID Alternatives works throughout California and Colorado. To see if you qualify for a no- or reduced-cost solar system through GRID Alternatives, click here.
By Melissa Matlock, SolarCorps Program Fellow
Posted: 12 June 2013