Jurupa Valley Local Roberto Canchola Benefits from GRID’s Energy For All Program

By Jessica Sams - SolarCorp Outreach Fellow

“My last month's electric bill was $22, and this month’s was just $4!” Roberto Canchola happily exclaims while speaking to Yoselyn Sanchez, the Outreach Manager for GRID Alternatives, Inland Empire. As warm weathered days approach, Canchola excitedly reveals: “now I'm just waiting for the summer to really see the difference [in savings]!”. Canchola, a retired resident of Jurupa Valley, joined GRID’s family in June of 2021 after learning the news that he and his wife qualified to receive solar through GRID’s Energy For All program. 

As Sanchez and Canchola chat in his front yard, a plethora of blooming cactuses, flowers, and other native plants thrive around them below the warm Southern California sun. Thanks to a local program in Jurupa Valley, a drought-tolerant garden now flourishes where Canchola’s long forgotten grass lawn had once required significant amounts of water to maintain. Above the growing California native plant garden, an array of solar panels sits on the roof, readily absorbing the abundant sunlight shining down on Canchola’s home. 

Taking in the peaceful ambiance of the natural environment around them, Canchola recalls to Sanchez of how he was introduced to GRID’s Energy For All solar program in 2019:  “My son Robert volunteered [with GRID] on the roof at an installation a few years ago [after Robert’s employer, Wells Fargo, contributed $2 million towards GRID’s mission in 2017]. When he came home he explained that he learned that GRID installs solar at no cost– all I had to do was qualify.”

While his roof’s condition did not meet solar suitable standards at the time, GRID’s Outreach Team was delighted to notify Canchola in 2021 of the Golden State Environmental Justice Alliance (GSEJA) grant that would later come to cover the costs of his roof repairs, and allow GRID to install his solar that same year. GSEJA is a valued and long time partner, funding installation for nine other Jurupa Valley residents and a total of 70 homes in Inland Empire cities impacted by poor air quality in 2021 and 2022 alone. “I'm very grateful for the programs made available for me to fix my roof and [get solar panels]” shares Canchola, who expresses to Sanchez that Energy For All has been the only truly, free solar program he has found – thanks in part to his son, Robert. 

Canchola mentions that often people are in disbelief of his no-cost installation, and explains the unfortunate, yet common case of many people ending up “stuck with monthly solar payments and loans” after installing panels from a solar company. Fortunately for Canchola, “that is nothing like my experience. Everything has played out just like [GRID] said it would,  from beginning to end. The project took some time to complete, but it was worth it.” he tells Sanchez. 

Since retirement, he and his wife have focused on beautifying their home and adopting sustainable practices through programs that not only add life to their property, but save them money, as well. Eventually, Canchola and his wife are expected to see over $12,000 in savings during the life of their solar panel system. Additionally, their home’s solar is benefiting the environment – preventing 43 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s equivalent to planting 997 trees!

Now, Canchola is ready for his community to soak up the amazing benefits of solar as well. Just as his son shared GRID’s program with him, Canchola has proudly recommended the Energy For All program to “family members and neighbors here in Jurupa Valley, actually right around the way so they may also take advantage!”.

Echoing Canchola’s message, the GRID Inland Empire family extends a warm invitation to all of those interested in the environmental and economic benefits of solar! To confirm your Energy For All program qualification, visit www.gridsolar.org/ie/ or get involved at www.gridalternatives.org/regions/ie to explore our volunteer and paid internship opportunities. We look forward to transforming your community towards a clean energy future!

Roberto Conchola house