Bright Futures: Nicaraguan Women in Solar

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November 15, 2021

In 2021, GRID launched a 5-week hands-on solar installation training program for women in Nicaragua called Installation Basics Training (IBT). Sixteen women graduated from the program in 2021 and seven have already been hired in the local solar industry. The training program is unique for its focus on women in technical roles and for the breadth and depth of materials covered from electricity basics, job readiness, safety, tools, and solar installation techniques. We asked recent graduates a few questions about solar energy and their experiences as GRID job trainees.  Below are the answers from 3 of our trainees from this past year. En español aquí.

Katherine Garcia uses a drill
Trainees learned how to use power tools. Above, Katherine uses an impact drill.
Katherine Esperanza García Montoya

What was the first thing that sparked your interest in solar energy?
Knowing that there is a more feasible and efficient way to save energy but above all the fact that it contributes to the environment since it is clean energy

What was your favorite part of the GRID Alternatives training? 
The photovoltaic water pumping installation, I got to know this world that is so wide in solar energy and it was also that I also got to know the capabilities and skills of my colleagues who eventually became a family.

What would you like to tell other women about working in solar energy?
We are all capable: Project, shine, inspire

What excites you about the future?
Now that I have the basic knowledge, I know that I will be able to open up my field to this world of solar energy.

What is your favorite song, book, movie or phrase?
“From passion, seek excellence.”


Yasin Baltodano secures a ladder
Safety is a top priority at GRID. Yasin secures a ladder before getting on the roof.
Yasin Yazmin Baltodano Rivero

What was the first thing that sparked your interest in solar energy?
What aroused my interest was firstly because I had already followed up on some news from other countries about how solar energy contributed to a better quality of life, and then knowing that not only could I learn a little more, but also through GRID training could learn to install photovoltaic systems, that way with that knowledge I could contribute to the care of our planet and also highlight the work of women in society

What was your favorite part of the GRID Alternatives training? 
The weeks of installations, because it was not just having a notion of what we learned verbatim but that they had all the equipment and tools to make it a reality. When it was time to test [the system] it was very emotional, feeling the satisfaction of knowing that I could do it and also imagining the joy on the faces of the people who are benefited by the GRID projects.

What would you like to tell other women about working in solar energy?
That it is important to create equitable opportunities where our contribution also counts and that we are capable of transforming our world for the better. If I was able to learn starting from scratch, then you can too. What motivated me and helped me is that I believed that I could do it and it gave me great satisfaction when I met my goal. Taking care of our planet is not only a job for men, but of every human being.

What excites you about the future?
I would like to see a future where we can all have the same desire to take care of the only planet where we can be, free from evil. That there is always peace and harmony in each home and above all health.

What is your favorite song, book, movie or phrase ?
Film: Life is beautiful


America Padilla and Kelsey Schrock holding up a graduation certificate in front of a GRID sign
At the end of the training program, participants received certificates of completion. America holds her graduation certificate with Kelsey Schrock, Project Manager
América Padilla

What was the first thing that sparked your interest in solar energy?
There were two factors. The first my passion for electricity and the second my curiosity to know how this type of renewable energy helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions? And in what way was solar energy used to produce clean energy?

What was your favorite part of the GRID Alternatives training? ·
The passion that GRID Alternatives staff have for sharing their knowledge and teaching us the value of not only doing quality installations, but also showing their love and passion for the end result and the lives that it positively affects.

What would you like to tell other women about working in solar energy?
It is a job that leaves satisfaction; not only monetary but also moral satisfaction. It is a job that helps to create a future for ourselves starting today and leaves a better future for our children and family. Of course, I would encourage them to take the course to acquire knowledge and help make a positive change for the planet. I would invite them to break stereotypes because it is a job for everyone yet due to a taboo or social pressure we think it is a job for only one gender.

What excites you about the future?
Putting into motion the knowledge I acquired in GRID Alternatives and with that knowing that I can contribute a grain of sand for a better world and make the role of women more normal and common in the field of clean energy.

What is your favorite song, book, movie or phrase?
My favorite movie is Forrest Gump.