GRID in the News

Uneven playing field

“Employers do background checks — and no one is hiring an ex-felon. That alone is enough to discourage someone from applying to jobs,” said Wells, who had to start his solar career at temp agencies or “mom and pop” installers because “nine times out of ten they don’t screen — but nine times out of ten they don’t pay either — or you don’t have benefits.”

Wells had to go through temp agencies — “getting hired through the temp agency and working at the same company that denied you — while getting paid $14 per hour instead of $20 per hour.”

U.S. clean-energy organizations joined nationwide expressions of grief and anger this week following the recent killings of black Americans including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) lamented continuing racial inequities in the U.S., suggesting they would redouble efforts on diversifying the renewables workforce and consider how their industries can stand against racial injustice.

Black Hills Energy has announced the partners it has selected to supply an additional 2.5 megawatts of new community solar garden capacity in Southern Colorado.

The new projects include a 2 megawatt facility and a separate 500-kilowatt garden dedicated entirely to serving low-income customers, according to Black Hills.

On Feb. 14, a lawsuit was filed against the city challenging the language of the ballot question that council approved Feb. 10, saying it does not conform to state law.

The city has responded to the suit, saying that in order to keep the May 5 election date on track it is willing to use certain ballot language proposed by the plaintiffs — although the city doesn’t agree with the plaintiffs that the original ballot language isn’t in compliance with state law. The City Council would have to approve the amendments that are made.

“Clean energy should be for everyone, and with a few strategic shifts, it can be,” said report co-author MeLena Hessel, a senior policy advocate with the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Too often, low-income communities receive the brunt of pollution and the effects of climate change, but are left out of the solutions. This report lays out realistic, common-sense guidelines for utilities to share those solutions — and the clean energy future — with all.”

Bridge House, which was selected as one of the five state nonprofits out of more than 150 applications for $175,000 apiece in funding from the tech giant, this month received the most votes in an online contest to earn another $125,000.

There were more than 7,000 votes cast in the contest.

The $300,000 in new funding for Bridge House will be used to expand its Ready to Work program, which attempts to end homelessness through connecting clients with employment training and opportunities.

Boulder’s Family Learning Center, which is working to mentor and tutor 40 low-income parents in early childhood development, child educational advocacy and early childhood professional development, and Bridge House, the local homelessness services provider behind the Ready to Work program that strives to end homelessness through employment, are competing against three Denver groups for the extra funding.

Mile High United Way, which is working to support the growth of women-owned and minority-owned businesses; GRID Alternatives Colorado, which provides paid training on residential solar installation to income-eligible participants; and Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute, which invests in entrepreneurship that is “creating economic and social mobility,” are the other three nonprofits in the contest.

GRID Alternatives is dedicated to advancing solar in the Navajo Nation and throughout Indian Country through its National Tribal Program, established in 2010. The goal of the program is to inform tribes on the possibility of solar and then assist with implementation, from educating on net metering and how to work with utilities to construction safety and installation practices. GRID recruits community members to volunteer to build grid-tied solar projects on homes and community buildings on tribal lands. In many cases, a tribe’s solar installation with GRID is its first.

According to the Solar Foundation’s Solar Industry Diversity Study, women continue to be underrepresented in the solar industry. GRID’s Women in Solar program aims to help participants gain hands-on solar installation experience while working alongside other women of varying experience levels.

The project is part of GRID Alternatives' Women In Solar program. The program works to empower women seeking technical careers in the solar industry.

"Seeing the women on the roof just killing it day after day gave me a lot of encouragement," said Scott.

"GRID brings together women to create a supportive, inclusive environment, where women can work together and gain the skills needed to advance their careers in the clean energy industry," said Adrienne Dorsey, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Colorado.