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GRID Alternatives installs solar electric systems for low-income homeowners with the help of volunteers, corporate sponsors and job trainees. Our work helps families, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and prepares workers for jobs in the growing renewables industry. Find out how you can get involved with GRID Alternatives North Valley!
North Valley NewsSee all news
- March 7th and 8th, 2013, California State University Chico's Institute for Sustainable Development hosted… Read more
- Two Grass Valley Habitat for Humanity homeowners received solar systems and curbside improvements such… Read more
- On February 4th, 2013, GRID North Valley had the pleasure of partnering with Yuba County Office of Education… Read more
- We are honored to have been recognized! Read more
- It’s official: the North Valley GRID Alternatives Office successfully completed our first annual Solarthon… Read more
- We would like to celebrate Capital City Solar’s support of the North Valley Solarthon Women’s Build team.… Read more
- On June 20th, 2012, the North Valley Regional Office celebrated GRID Alternatives' first year of service… Read more
- Thank you SMUD for your participation! Read more
- In the last month we have completed projects in Oroville, Hamilton City, Red Bluff, and Redding. Read more
Chico State Gives GRID North Valley 2013 Greenie Award!
March 7th and 8th, 2013, California State University Chico's Institute for Sustainable Development hosted "This Way to Sustainability", a conference focusing on all aspects of sustaibale development and culture. Over 100 speakers shared valuable information with more than 1400 participants. GRID Alternatives hosted a full presentation led by staff member Rebekah Casey and GRID Team Leader and Owner of Asolia, Jenka Terentieva. The presentation focused on solar technology, it's economics, and GRID Alternatives' role in facilitating residential solar for low-income families.
Each year at the conference the Institue recognizes businesses, individuals, students, non-profit organizations, and community members for their successful efforts of working toward a sustainable future with the "Greenie" award. Nominees must have a sustainable solution that addresses the “3 E’s of Sustainability”: Economy, Ecology, and Equity. GRID Alternatives is proud to report that were were selected as the winner of the 2013 Community Organization "Greenie" Award. We are honored to have been recognized by our community and look forward to working closely with Chico State Sustainability students for years to come. Thank You for the beautiful, handmade, recycled glass award! It is proudly displayed in our Chico, CA office.
Four-way partnership brings solar and other improvements to two Grass Valley homes
Two Grass Valley Habitat for Humanity homeowners received solar systems and curbside improvements such as landscaping, fencing and leveling through a GRID Alternatives collaborative project with Sierra College students from Rocklin and UNFI, the largest distributor of natural foods in the country. We are thrilled for these to be our first Grass Valley installations, and will continue to work in the Habitat for Humanity development here in the coming months.
On Friday, March 22nd, 2013 student volunteers from the photovoltaic technology course at Sierra College arrived early to begin preparing the rooftops and railings for the solar installations. The weather couldn't have been better and the views of the Sierra Nevada foothills were spectacular. The crew of future solar industry workers was able to gain first hand experience in instalation safety, flashing installation, measuring, cutting and installating rails, conduit bending and electrical panel preparartion.
The following day GRID Alternatives and Habitat for Humanity were joined by nationwide regional distrubution center managers from UNFI and the president of their board Michael Funk, who talked about the merits of solar and his own efforts to solarize the UNFI distrubution center in Rocklin and his own home in Northern California. The volunteers, in conjunction with GRID team leaders, wired the electrical panels for solar, installed the panels (generoulsy provided by Yingli Solar) and the Enphase micro-inverters.
A total of 8 kw of solar were installed on both homes and will save the homeowners a combined total of nearly $74,000 over the lifetime of the solar systems. Said homeowner, Jennifer, a single mother of 5, "I can't wait to be able to turn my system on and begin saving money. I feel good about teaching my children to conserve energy and protect the environment." A group of children from the pre-school she works at came by at one point to say hi to Jennifer and see the installers at work. Jennifer said working with GRID has inspired her to learn more about renewable energy, and to teach those principles to her young stundents.
GRID Alternatives is proud to be a part of such projects, and congratulates our Grass Valley homeowners on their new solar energy systems. A huge thank you to Habitat for Humanity of Nevada County, Sierra College and UNFI for your assistance with this collaboration. As always, we look forward to providing more low-income homeowners in Grass Valley with the gift of solar in the years to come.
GRID North Valley Partners with Youth Build for Yuba City Installation
On February 4th, 2013, GRID North Valley had the pleasure of partnering with Yuba County Office of Education Youth Build for a successful 12 panel installation in Yuba City, CA. Youth Build U.S.A. is an organization that works with low-income, out of school young people to provide opportunities to continue and complete their high school diplomas, learn a trade through apprenticeship and job training, and serve their communities by helping to construct housing for low-income families and homeless people. YouthBuild USA’s Green Initiative supports pathways of opportunity for YouthBuild students and graduates to pursue green careers and environmental leadership, while increasing the production of green affordable housing.
This initiative made partnering with Youth Build a natural fit for a partnership with GRID Alternatives as we are able to provide hands-on experience in solar technology and implementation. Director Sandy Waterhouse and student instructor Mike Myers worked with the North Valley office to coordinate an installation which approximately 20 young people were able to participate in. They learned about OSHA safety requirements, roof-top ettiquette, electrical retrofitting, and actual panel hardware installtion. The low-income homeowner who had recently become widowed was incredibly grateful to receive her solar energy system. A big thank you to all of the youth who participated. We look forward to working with Youth Build U.S.A. in the future!
For more information about Youth Build U.S.A., visit their website at https://youthbuild.org/
GRID Alternatives is a finalist for the innovate north state 2012 green innovation award!
GRID Alternatives was honored to be a finalist for the 2012 Green Innovation Award from Innovate North State. The award recognizes companies whose product or services is strengthening the economy while increasing sustainability in the 530 area code. We were joined by two other innovative and influential companies, Springboard Biodiesel and Sunset Moulding. While the award went to Springboard Biodiesel, we are pleased to be recognized for the economic benefits our Solar Affordable Housing Program brings to communities across the state.
As a nonprofit, GRID Alternatives occupies a unique space in economic development. The investments we leverage to install solar energy has direct economic benefit to communities. In just one year, the North Valley office installed 162 systems that will result in over $5 million in energy cost savings for families over 30 years. This is money GRID Alternatives' program has made available to be spent in the predominantly rural, local economy.
GRID Alternatives is an award winning nonprofit, including: the Governors Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2008, the New Leaders Council Energy Leadership Award in 2009, the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award in 2010, the US Green Building Council’s Green Building Super Hero Award in 2010, the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions award for initiating the Solar Affordable Housing Program, Renewable Energy Award for Innovation in Policy at the Renewable Energy World North America Conference & Expo in 2011, and the 2012 Annual Clean Air Awards.
A big thank you to our volunteers, sponsors and partners whose assistance has made it possible to improve the livelihoods of over 1,000 families through solar energy technology in 2012 alone.
For more information on the other finalists, awardees and Innovate North State click here
North Valley inaugural Solarthon a success!
It’s official: the North Valley GRID Alternatives Office successfully completed their first annual Solarthon on October 6th, in Chico, CA. GRID is happy to announce that Solarthon exceeded our fundraising goal for the event and made it possible to give the long-lasting gift of solar to seven deserving families. These systems will save the families more than $125,500 and generate more than 754,000 kWh of clean energy over the systems' lifetime! These clean energy systems keep an equivalent of 489 tons of greenhouse gas from being released into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to planting 11,488 trees.
Solarthon was made possible by the generous contributions of our many sponsors: the City of Chico; Wells Fargo; PG&E; Alternative Energy Systems; Taylor Energy Systems; Capital City Solar; all of our awesome Solar Champions, including our Women's Build & Sheilds Electric teams; and official module providers Yingli Solar and SunPower Corp. Thanks also to our affordable housing partner, Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) and Clarence Lobo, Construction Superintendent, who spoke on behalf of CHIP's program and clientele.
GRID would like to extend a special thanks to Mayor Ann Schwab who came out to support GRID Alternatives' program and to speak on behalf of the City of Chico.
Thanks to the many enthusiastic participants from Wells Fargo, PG&E, Alternative Energy Systems, Taylor Energy Systems, Northwest Lineman College, Pleasant Valley High School, California Dream Week, California State University Sacramento’s Chapter of National Society of Black Engineers, California State University Chico's Associated Students Compost group and the Institute for Sustainable Development’s Business Action Plan group.
Local support is invaluable to our program's continued success in the north state. Consider volunteering or making a donation today!
Interested in seeing how the event went? Check out photos from North Valley’s successful first ever Solarthon and watch the "Solarthon in 60 Seconds" timelapse video below:
Capital City Solar supports GRID's Women's Build team in giving the gift of solar energy!
On October 6th, 2012, GRID Alternatives North Valley will be giving the gift of solar energy to seven families at their first annual Solarthon in Chico, Calif. Capital City Solar, as a sub-contractor partner, helps to extend GRID Alternatives’ program to bring no-cost solar electricity to families in need while supporting green jobs training and job trainee placement.
We would like to celebrate Capital City Solar’s support of the North Valley Solarthon Women’s Build team. At the Solarthon event on October 6, the Women’s Build team will be installing a 2 kW system for a single-mother of two.
Women’s Build is more than a campaign at GRID Alternatives. Women in technology is core to the organization. The organization is led by co-founder Erica Mackie, a professional engineer and Executive Director. The opportunity to empower and provide career opportunities for women in the green workforce and solar industry is an integral part of GRID’s organizational structure. In addition to empowering women, GRID feels it is important to recognize and celebrate women who are taking part in the fields of technology, construction, and community service.
Capital City Solar is owned and operated by a husband-wife team, Dave and Erika Schweickert. Capital City Solar is currently celebrating their 10th year of doing business in the solar industry and were voted Best of the Best by the readers in Placer Herald in 2010 and 2012. “We have been working with the CSI program since day 1 and it is a real joy to see how happy customers are once they “go solar”. We have really enjoyed working with GRID and respect the work they are doing to bring solar to those that really see the benefit of the savings,” Erica stated on Capital City Solar’s partnership with GRID. This locally owned and operated company prides themselves on offering the highest quality and most affordable solar installations in Northern California.
GRID Alternatives greatly values Capital City Solar’s partnership and appreciates their generous support of the Women’s Build Solarthon team!
North Valley celebrates one year of service to the north state!
On June 20th, 2012, the North Valley Regional Office celebrated GRID Alternatives' first year of service in Northern California. Executive Director and Co-founder Erica Mackie, P.E. welcomed a crowd of North Valley team leaders, University professors, community college staff, City, County and other non-profit housing partners and more, inviting them to join GRID's upward momentum and help solarize communities in need right here in the North Valley.
Before the luncheon, guests browsed a number of informational and interactive displays featuring different aspects of GRID's Solar Affordable Housing Program; job training and volunteerism, client eligibility and the North Valley's impact calculator. Guests toured our warehouse and talked solar technology specifics while viewing the mock roof. Our first clients, the Metzger family, were in attendance and said they had not paid a single dollar for electricity since their system was installed in October 2011.
"If we can do it in Chico, we can do it nationwide," Erica Mackie proclaimed during her lunch program presentation. Speaking of GRID Alternatives' plans for national expansion, she says, "The rest of the nation looks less like Oakland, and a lot more like Chico, California."
GRID Alternatives is a non-profit solar contractor installing solar electric systems exclusively for low-income households. The North Valley regional office is GRID's newest office established in 2011 and serving over 20 counties in the north central valley. The North Valley office will install approximately 160 systems for families in need in 2012 alone. Statewide, GRID Alternatives will assist over 1,000 low-income homeowners this year.
To find out more about our programs in the North Valley, and to find out how you can get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
GRID North Valley working for Winters
The North Valley Office of GRID Alternatives was working in Yolo County last month to install two solar systems for families in the small town of Winters California. We are always excited to bring the benefits of the SASH program to a new town in the state. Together these systems will provide 6.3kw of clean power and save two families over $50,000 in electricity costs. These systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to planting over 4,100 trees.
We were excited to have Karen and Stephen from SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) lend a hand on the installation! Aside from a strong commitment to renewable energy, SMUD has pioneered an innovative community solar program called SolarShares. This program allows renters and people who normally could not afford a PV system to invest in large scale solar energy.
Additionally we had a few students from Sierra College’s photovoltaic training program come out as volunteers. Sierra College in Rocklin has a commitment to providing students with relevant technical education to succeed in a changing job market. Sierra College has one of the highest pass rates for the solar industry standard NABCEP entry level examination. Students from Cosumnes River College’s architecture program also supported the installation. As an office, we hope to continue to develop relationships around Sacramento and provide hands on solar training to interested students.
Our client, Mr. Aracil, had an interesting story behind how he obtained his home. Back in 2004 the City of Winters held a raffle lottery to determine which qualified families would be able to purchase a home in “The Cottages” affordable housing development. When Mr. Aracil got to the event he didn’t think he stood a chance because there were so many eligible people. It was decided that the children in the audience would choose the raffle tickets. Luckily, Mr. Aracil’s granddaughter chose his ticket! Now his home will be mostly powered by renewable energy. Considering he is on a fixed income the savings on his electricity bill from the solar system will go a long way in helping him pay other bills. This is especially important because Mr. Aracil also currently cares for his disabled son so he has to keep the home at a stable temperature and run a chair lift.
North Valley office expanding our reach
The GRID North Valley Office has been working to bring the benefits of renewable energy to as many qualified families as possible in the North State. In the last month we have completed projects in Oroville, Hamilton City, Red Bluff, and Redding. In the coming weeks we will also be completing projects in Orland. In the coming months we hope to hold projects in the southern reaches of our territory near Yuba City, Marysville, Winters, and West Sacramento.
In the town of Oroville we have been privileged to be working with a number of students from the Northwest Lineman’s College. Northwest Lineman’s College is a dynamic, visionary, and leading training institution providing the benchmark level of education for electrical lineworkers and related occupations. A number of Lineman students have assisted on a recent installation. We hope that our projects have helped students expand their electrical knowledge into photovoltaics and distributed generation. With the rapid expansion of solar power throughout California remaking the grid to accept more renewable energy will be an important project in the coming years. We hope to continue to develop our relationship with the NWLC and the Clean Tech Innovation Center that has exsisted in Oroville since 2009.
Our goal is to bring the benefits of renewable energy to our region, but we can’t accomplish this without your help. We would like to thank all our dedicated volunteers who have participated on our projects so far. We ask that you spread the word about GRID Alternatives to any of your friends or colleagues who you feel would be interested in our program. For potentially interested volunteers, we hold orientations at our Chico office and the Redding public library every month. We will soon have orientations available in Sacramento as well.
For those who are looking to gain deeper knowledge into solar check out our Team Leader training series that we hold every few weeks. Check out our statewide calendar for more information.
We have been introducing a car pooling system to help volunteers travel together and save on gas. If you indicate you are interested in car pooling on our sign up document you will be shared on a google document to coordinate with other volunteers.