Job trainee gets hands-on experience with SunPower CEO Tom Werner


June 12, 2012

When Denise Alvarez signed up for the Green Building Construction program at the Center for Employment Training, she never imagined she'd be working on the roof with the CEO of SunPower. But last Friday, she joined GRID and a team of SunPower employees and executives, including CEO Tom Werner, to install a solar system for the Cuevas family in San Jose.

"Meeting the people that are working at SunPower and helping GRID Alternatives in this program is really a great experience for me," said Denise as she took a break from the heat. "I'm honored and grateful."

SunPower employees have logged more than 1000 hours volunteering with GRID, but this was Mr. Werner's first time out since 2007. "It was awesome," he said after a hard day's work. "It's great to stop talking about things and do things. It's very fun."

One of the things Tom said before he got here is, "'I really want to do work!'" said GRID Alternatives Founder and Executive Director Erica Mackie, "And that's our experience with SunPower volunteers. Whenever they come out they work hard, they celebrate with us and they really are incredible volunteers."

Denise and the SunPower team also got to work alongside the homeowner, Juan Cuevas, who took the day off from his job installing roof metal to help with the solar installation. A father of four, he says the savings from his system, around $34,000 over its lifetime, will help him send his eldest son, now 17, to college.

"I am really moved that all these people came to donate their day, their work as volunteers," said Juan. "I am so thankful to GRID Alternatives and SunPower, and excited to start saving on my electricity."

Check out photos from the installation!