GRID Bay Area Begins Our Biggest Project Yet!

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August 28, 2018

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Image: East Palo Alto's Peninsula Park apartment complex
East Palo Alto's Peninsula Park apartment complex will soon be powered by solar

From the three-story roof of the Peninsula Park apartment building in East Palo Alto, you can watch the comings and goings from a busy shopping center (including the local IKEA), see families playing at a nearby community park and - just barely – count the cars on the wide expanse of highway 101. It’s a view that will soon be quite familiar to GRID Bay Area’s construction staff as we prepare to spend six weeks this fall filling the roof of Peninsula Park with more than 700 solar panels, GRID Bay Area’s largest multifamily solar installation to date!

The building, owned and developed by BRIDGE Housing, provides 129 affordable rental units for low-income families in the Silicon Valley community of East Palo Alto, sandwiched between the better-known cities of Menlo Park and Palo Alto. A one-time epicenter of crime in the region, East Palo Alto has been transformed over the last few decades and is even forecasted this year to break $1 million in median home prices. This uplift, while mostly positive, provides new challenges for East Palo Alto’s low-income residents who are finding housing more difficult to find and more expensive to keep.

BRIDGE Housing has sought to address this challenge since its founding: “BRIDGE was formed… to spearhead new solutions to the worsening shortage of affordable housing.” Having participated in the development of more than 17,000 homes and apartments in California and the Pacific Northwest, BRIDGE is a leader in helping realize these impacts. GRID is excited to partner with BRIDGE to bring solar to 8 of their properties across California this fall, including this local installation at Peninsula Park. All together, that will be 775 kilowatts of GRID-installed solar helping make housing more affordable for low-income renters!

The 208 kilowatts that GRID Bay Area will install in East Palo Alto will provide a new opportunity for tenants to save by generating more than $1.3 million in electricity cost savings for Peninsula Park tenants. Over the six-week installation, GRID will also provide short-term paid training opportunities in solar installation for interested individuals. If you live in Silicon Valley, you can apply for the paid installation internship online or contact trainingba@gridalternatives.org to find out more, including information about other short-term paid training opportunities in Danville and Sacramento!

We appreciate your patience during this huge Bay Area installation project as our local volunteer opportunities will be limited while we focus on completing this project. Keep an eye on the volunteer portal for a few upcoming install days at Peninsula Park, workshops and more! Our normal calendar will resume at the end of October.