Heard it Through the GRID-Vine!


October 29, 2014

Testimonials from families with GRID systems of their own are the best way for GRID to meet new clients. Particularly in communities where rooftop solar isn’t as pervasive, hearing the benefits of solar from a trusted neighbor can provide a needed introduction to the technology and to GRID’s model which provides low-to-no-cost solar to qualifying families.  That’s why partnerships like GRID has with the Oakland Housing Authority that relies on real-life testimonials are so vital. In fact, thanks to this partnership, GRID has installed solar for seven new Oakland clients in just three months!

In 2012 GRID Alternatives installed a solar system in East Oakland for Vickie Marcinowski, and ever since she has been an outspoken Solar Superstar Homeowner. As a client of the Oakland Housing Authority, this year Vickie shared her GRID story in an Oakland Housing Authority workshop for low-income homeowners. As she says, “I have been given the gift of gab and I intend to use it!”

Though an electrician by trade, Vickie is unemployed due to health setbacks. Having to rely on a fixed income and government support, the only $3 a month bill that Vickie now spends on her electricity makes all the difference.

Thanks to Vickie, the Oakland Housing Authority, and the support of GRID’s Outreach team, word got out about GRID’s Solar Affordable Housing Program to new homeowner Terri McIntosh and her daughter. Terri, who works security for the Oakland Unified School District, was so thankful to go solar that she came out on the roof to help install the system herself! “My main concern is my daughter,” Terri says. “She is asthmatic so anything that is going towards improving the earth and the air for her is great! Everyone should go solar.” Terri, like Vickie, is already sharing the benefits of solar to her neighbors by telling her GRID story at Oakland Housing Authority workshops.

Hanan Albabtain, Resident & Community Service Coordinator of the Oakland Housing Authority, shares that homeowners in their program are often living off of little more than $850 a month. For low-income homeowners struggling to pay basic expenses, and in many cases to keep their homes, solar can make the difference. “Coming across GRID resources was a heaven-send because our homeowners save on energy bills,” Hanan says. “Not only that, but our homeowners are helping to save the planet.”

The partnership has already reached 10% of their clients in just a few short months, but Hanan’s goal is much broader, she wants to see all qualified homeowners in the OHA program go solar. “Our homeowners strive to forge ahead and we want to connect them with resources so that they can move forward,” says Hanan. GRID’s Solar Affordable Housing program could not be the success it is without the help of partners like the Oakland Housing Authority and Solar Superstar Homeowners like Vickie and Terri. To learn more about our Bay Area partnership, please see here and to see photos of Terri's install, see here. Terri's install was made possible through the generous support of the Clif Bar Family Foundation.