We can do it! GRID gets to work in Rosie the Riveter’s stomping grounds

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November 10, 2017
Atchison Village homeowner Randi Nielsen smiles while standing with a solar panel to be installed on her roof.

 This August, GRID began work on the first of what will hopefully be hundreds of solar installations in a historic Richmond community.

 

Atchison Village, located on the edge of Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood and just across the freeway from the Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park, is a unique and special community that shares GRID’s belief that positive action truly “takes a village”. The development, which consists of 162 buildings with 450 units, was built in 1941 to house defense workers at the Kaiser Shipyards (think Rosie the Riveters themselves!) during World War II. When the federal government decided to sell the development, residents sprung into action, quickly crowdfunding a down payment and establishing one of the state’s first housing cooperatives in 1957.

In the 60 years since then, villagers have worked collectively to ensure their community is a safe, beautiful, healthy, and affordable place to live. Neighbors check in on elderly or sick residents, host potlucks in the community center, work on diversity initiatives, and more. Given Atchison Village’s close proximity to the Chevron oil refinery, most residents are concerned about pollution and climate change, and many have taken strong steps to advocate for clean air.

 

And now, going solar with GRID is one more way in which the community is doing their part both locally and globally. The neighborhood’s inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places made the road to solar long and complicated, but through perseverance and creative thinking, GRID and Atchison Village forged a path forward to solar access. Comprised of both young families and elderly life-long residents, many in the village qualify for GRID’s solar services; we are committed to spending several years installing for what could be hundreds of units.

 

The legacy of the first defense workers who originally lived in Atchison Village lives on as their contemporaries band together once more to address our modern wars against climate change and economic disparity. With an average system size of 1.4 kW, each system is expected to provide approximately $13,000 worth of clean energy over its lifetime while preventing 27 tons of carbon emissions -- the equivalent of planting over 600 trees!

 

While the majority of the credit goes to the villagers and their commitment to community, GRID also thanks the volunteers, corporate partners, and job trainees that have rolled up their sleeves to help us complete our first round of solar installations for 10 households so far this year. We have been joined by participants of our Installation Basics Training Program, as well as employee volunteers from Schneider Electric and Sungrade Solar. For a peek at some of the recent solar action, and to meet one of the village’s newest solar savers, check out this fun video produced by Sungrade during their recent sponsored workday:

GRID will also be hosting a public volunteer orientation at the Atchison Village community center on January 6th, 2018 to help residents get involved in the installations happening in their neighborhood - though all are welcome to attend and learn more about this unique community! Learn more and reserve your spot on GRID’s volunteer portal.