GRID’s Workforce Development Manager, Allison Moe, got an unexpected trip down memory lane this month. In early October, GRID installed a 3.5kW system on the home of Abdi Buni and Deqa Ali in Colorado. By coincidence, Allison, who used to work for Habitat for Humanity, supervised the construction of this home with the help of Abdi, Deqa, and hundreds of volunteers in 2008-2009. Abdi and Deqa now live there with seven of their children and Abdi’s mother. Allison stopped by during GRID’s project to re-connect with the family.
“It was so wonderful to see Abdi and Deqa again,” said Allison. “I hadn’t seen them since their home was dedicated more than eight years ago. Their family has grown, and their oldest son recently received a scholarship to attend DU. It was such a good reminder of the kind and amazing people that GRID partners with.”
Abdi Buni is a self-described businessman who has lived in the United States for almost 30 years. He and his wife were born in Ethiopia, but are of Somali descent. Abdi started the Union Taxi Cooperative a decade ago, and recently helped found the Green Taxi Cooperative. Green Taxi Cooperative utilizes all hybrid vehicles, and employs 800 worker-owners from 37 countries. Abdi also serves on the Denver Taxi Advisory Council and Denver Immigration and Refugee Commission.
The couple have family members in Ethiopia and Somalia who use solar power; they have great respect for solar's ability to provide electricity in places without access to the electric grid. So what does going solar mean for them? Ever the community leader, Abdi says, “It can save us money, which I can distribute back to help my community. And it frees me – I’m not dependent on anyone else.” With solar, the family is projected to save more than $730 per year!