Solarthon

On a dark and chilly Saturday morning 120 volunteers and community supporters devoted their time helping five families receive solar on their homes in Biola, California.
The counties that the Rosebud Sioux reservation encompasses are among the poorest in the nation, with unemployment rates as high as 83 percent, and as much as three quarters of the employed population still living under the poverty line. Winter is always the worst, with frigid temperatures, ice and snow limiting already-scarce work opportunities, and sending electricity bills skyrocketing. This year, though, a beacon of hope for some relief is taking shape in the form of a solar array on the home of tribal member Karen Spotted Tail.
The wide stretches of sparsely populated land in Navajo Nation can make it feel like you’ve stepped back into the past. For residents here, that remoteness comes with a price: many live without electricity. Across the Navajo nation, an estimated 15,000 homes have never been connected to the grid. This week we demonstrated one way to begin addressing this issue with an off-grid solar installation for Vietnam veteran Henry Yazzie.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Shinnecock Tribal leaders brought attention to how tribal communities are at the front lines of climate change in our latest Tribal Solarthon event. Few communities are closer to the front lines than the Shinnecock, a 10,000-year-old tribe on the eastern end of Long Island. With just about 1000 acres of land remaining in its name, the Nation is losing feet of precious coastline every year to rising sea levels, and saw parts of its ancestral graveyard swept away during Superstorm Sandy.
GRID Alternatives launches its Tribal Solarthon in partnership with four tribes across the country to provide solar power and solar job training to tribal residents and put a spotlight on energy and economic issues in Native American communities.
GRID Alternatives’ Bay Area team is excited to announce that this year’s Bay Area Solarthon will take place in Richmond, CA on September 26th! Solarthon is GRID’s flagship community installation event, bringing together homeowners, volunteers, corporate sponsors and job-trainees to install solar for multiple low-income families in one day. This year, GRID is proud to host our second Solarthon in Richmond CA, a diverse and historically-rich community in the East Bay that while once was a center of industry, is now best known for high rates of crime, poverty, and pollution.
In a new and groundbreaking partnership, GRID Alternatives and Grand Valley Power (GVP) teamed up this year for nation’s first community solar array dedicated exclusively to low-income customers. The project has generated interest from utilities and policy-makers across the country, and Grand Valley Power and GRID Alternatives were invited by United States Congressman Jared Polis to brief a congressional working group on Innovation in Alternatives Energies on May 6.
Cynthia Silverthorn is a solar advocate, an avid bicyclist, and a GRID Alternatives volunteer

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