Honoring SunPower, SunEdison and The State of California

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May 15, 2015

In San Francisco last week, nearly 300 people came out to help us celebrate another incredible year making solar power and solar job training accessible to people who need it most. Our Interconnection event this year honored three key supporters who have not just helped us achieve our mission, but have been leaders in the clean energy transition: the State of California, SunPower Corp., and SunEdison.

 

 

 


Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, accepted the award for California and called GRID’s work an important part of California’s broader clean energy policy. California has long been committed to ensuring that low-income families are included in the state's solar economy, and just this year allocated funds for GRID to provide solar to 1600 families through 2016.

 

 

 

 


SunPower is GRID Alternatives’ longest-standing supporter in the solar industry, and was the first company in the industry to create a dedicated foundation. From 2007 thru 2014 SunPower has provided nearly $2 million in donated equipment and cash to support GRID Alternatives’ expansion from a local to a national and international organization, and this year is making a major new investment in GRID for an education program focused on high school juniors and seniors. SunPower CEO Tom Werner accepted the award, and made the room erupt in laughter as he dove off stage.

 

 

 


Finally, we honored SunEdison for its major commitment to expanding diversity and inclusion in the solar industry. Last year SunEdison made a $1.2 million investment to launch our Women in Solar Initiative to bring more women into the solar workforce and support their advancement. This year SunEdison follow up with an unprecedented 2 year, $5 million commitment to both expand that initiative and launch the RISE initiative to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the solar industry, and connect an industry that needs good people with communities that need good jobs.

"We choose to partner with GRID because we can't do it alone,” said SunEdison CEO Ahmad Chatila. “We need to work with people who are as passionate as we are," he continued, "This is an invitation for the whole industry to join us in this effort of diversity and inclusion." 


Krystal Ruiz, GRID's own SolarCorps Construction Fellow, brought all of these investments and all of our hard word to life as she shared her experience finding a new career path in solar after a rough start in life in New York City's lower east side projects.

“I wanted something that was going to give me a purpose,” she told the crowd. “With all the support we have there's no limit to the wonderful things we can do. We are here to implement change and help people get jobs. GRID helps so many people and I just want to thank all of our supporters for investing and being our helping hands."

Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us at Interconnection, and continually supports our work! Special thanks to Interconnection 2015 sponsors: SunEdison, SunPower, PG&E, Wells Fargo, Sungevity, Sunrun, Yingli Solar, Winston & Strawn, Vivint Solar, Beneficial State Bank, Enphase Energy, and KBI Benefits.

Check out photos from the night here, and snapshots from our photobooth!

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