How One Woman Spread Solar to Hundreds


March 12, 2014

Espanola Jackson is a San Francisco Bayview resident of 46 years, community activist, grandmother to over 70 grandchildren and the proud owner of a solar powered home thanks to GRID Alternatives.  However, Espanola’s pathway to solar isn’t typical and neither is her dedication to spreading solar to over 100 fellow San Francisco homeowners.

In 2009 a fire caused by an old heating system left the top floor of Espanola’s home charred.  Espanola was shocked by this unfortunate event but also felt that it would bring positivity to her life in some form.  During the weeks following the house fire she attended a Public Utilities Commission meeting where she heard about the opportunity to own her own solar system for little to no cost.  The next day she submitted her application, received approval, and was next in line to get solar through GRID.  When GRID contacted her to set up the date of her install she kindly informed the scheduler that she was very excited to get solar but that her neighbor was desperate for savings and should get their system installed first.  GRID responded by immediately reaching out to Espanola's referral and in no time had set the date for both neighborhood installs.  The systems were installed the following week leaving Espanola with a 2.0 Kw system on her roof and a reduced electric bill costing around 4 dollars a month.

Feeling blessed with the opportunity to become a solar homeowner, Espanola felt she should help more people in her community get involved with GRID, and that's exactly what she did.  From 2010 to 2012, she told hundreds of community members about the opportunity and this yielded spectacular results.  From 2010 to 2012 over 90% of all San Francisco clients that heard about GRID through word of mouth came through Espanola.  When asked "If you could give solar to one more homeowner in San Francisco who would it be?" She answers, “I would give it to everyone, because it’s not about one person, it’s about the people."

Giving the gift of solar is an amazing feeling that is best rewarded by the smile of a homeowner turning on their system for the first time.  At GRID we have the unique opportunity to solarize thousands of roofs, but this can only happen with your help!  Almost everyone knows a homeowner who qualifies for solar through GRID, and that’s why we’re asking all our supporters to refer at least one person in their network.  We can all be a solar catalyst like Espanola by referring homeowners, and not only reduce electricity cost for family, friends, and neighbors, but also inspire others to brighten the world for future generations.

Please check out these GRID qualification guidelines and if anyone you know living in Richmond, Oakland, SF, or San Jose could potentially qualify, please have them call Ronnie at 510-731-1334 to check their eligibility.