East Palo Alto 'Likes' Solar

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April 17, 2017

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Homeowner Olivia Jaimez Parada with GRID volunteers and staff, as well as representatives from Facebook.
Homeowner Olivia Jaimez Parada with GRID volunteers and staff, as well as representatives from Facebook.

GRID Alternatives recently kicked off an exciting new partnership with Facebook to provide no-cost solar systems for ten families in East Palo Alto.

Despite growing prosperity throughout the broader Silicon Valley region, East Palo Alto has largely been left behind in the boom: According to the US Census Bureau, East Palo Alto’s household median income is only $50,000, compared with an $126,000 median income in its neighbor Palo Alto. This collaboration will offer some relief for 10 eligible families in the form of an estimated $900 per year saved on utility bills.

“Our utility bills have been so expensive we had to go on a payment plan to help spread the cost out throughout the year,” explained Olivia Jaimez Parada, whose home in the Pulgas Gardens neighborhood was the first to go solar under the new partnership. “Now not only can we save that money, we can put it toward my daughter’s college expenses.”

Olivia’s system, installed by GRID volunteers in March 2017, will provide approximately $35,000 worth of clean energy over its lifetime, and prevent an estimated 73 tons of greenhouse gas emissions -- the equivalent of planting nearly 1,700 trees.

This effort builds on a successful partnership between GRID and Facebook that is already empowering 25 Menlo Park families to choose clean energy. "Facebook is delighted to extend its partnership with GRID Alternatives by providing onsite renewable energy to ten homes in East Palo Alto,” said Lauren Swezey, Facebook Sustainability and Community Outreach Manager. “East Palo Alto has welcomed us into their community, and we are happy to provide sustainable solutions that will positively impact our neighbors."

Several community partners are also lending support to help spread the word about these opportunities including Acterra, the City of East Palo Alto, MenloSpark, St. Francis Church, and Sustainable Silicon Valley. GRID is actively seeking additional local families for the remaining installations, and interested residents who meet income requirements are encouraged to apply to the program at www.gridsolar.org, qualify@gridalternatives.org, or 510-731-1333.

“I am so blessed and very grateful for GRID Alternatives!” added Olivia (in a Facebook comment!). “Thank you GRID employees and volunteers, and Facebook, for making this possible!”. To see photos of Olivia’s groundbreaking solar install in East Palo Alto, click here.