Champagne, gifts, flowers, and party favors - that’s how most people picture a bridal shower. Instead, Leslie imagined hardhats, harnesses, ladders, and power tools. Rather than having a typical bridal shower, Leslie Barkemeyer (soon to be Leslie Hodge), decided to celebrate her engagement with a “bridal build,” and spent a day installing solar with her friends. Leslie and her bridesmaids participated in GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic’s new Solar Champions program, raising money for GRID to install a solar system that will save a DC homeowner approximately $700 a year, and prevent about 100 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Solar Champions is a way to get even more involved as a volunteer. Participants form a team of 5-10 Solar Champions and fundraise for GRID before participating in solar installation together. This bride decided to give back to her community through the GRID Solar Champions program.
So why did she pick GRID Alternatives for her community service? For Leslie, she found the environmental mission crucial. “GRID is super hands-on. The mission is important. We are in a climate crisis,” she explains, “We need more renewables. We need to start transitioning now.” She also used it as an opportunity to engage her friends. “I want to empower people in my life to be a part of the solar movement. There are some women in solar in business and policy roles, but fewer in engineering and construction,” said Leslie, “I thought it would be cool for the women in my life to get a chance to roll up their sleeves and install a system.”
As a Solar Champion, Leslie made a huge impact. Afterwards, she sent a card to her fellow bridal build installers, explaining the significance of their work. Thanks to the help of her and her bridesmaids, we have one more solar installation in the world, benefiting a deserving family.