At 90-plus degrees, Saturday was a sweaty day for the third annual GRID Alternatives Central Valley Solarthon, but for the families of Parksdale, it was a happy one. Thanks to the hard work of over 100 individual sponsors, corporate employee volunteers, job trainees and the homeowners themselves, the families electrical meters will be running backward this summer, not forward, saving them thousands of dollars during what is usually a season of high bills.
"I'm just happy for this moment, this day," said Esmeralda Avila, a single mother of four who helped cook breakfast for the whole crew. "The solar system will help us save on our electricity bill, and the savings will go towards my childrens college fund to prepare them for a better future."
Esmeralda and her neighbors built this community from the ground up, through the non-profit housing organization Self-Help Enterprises. Shes an administrative assistant, but many of the other families make their livings as farm workers, picking cherries, grapes and almonds. Taking volatile electricity bills out of the mix makes it that much easier to get by during the off season.
"It feels good to be part of something like this and help homeowners to save on their monthly bills," said Tyler Medel, a PG&E solar technician whose whole team was out volunteering for the day on a house sponsored by their company. "I have solar on my house and I know how much it helps me so I know it will greatly help these families out."
Wed like to thank everyone who came out on Saturdaythe homeowners, whose generosity and enthusiastic participation inspired us all; GRID Alternatives official module providers SunPower and Yingli Solar, who donated their sponsored houses to solar job trainees from Proteus; Statewide Sponsors Wells Fargo and PG&E; Megawatt Sponsors Schneider Electric, Lifestyle Solar and Proteus; Kilowatt Sponsors Real Goods Solar and Modesto Junior College and Basic Sponsors REC Solar and Verengo Solar, whose team kept everyone cool and hydrated throughout the day; our in-kind sponsors; and our 10 Solar Champions who fundraised individually to participate in the event.
Wed also like to send a special thank-you to our guest speakers, including Congressman Jim Costa and Madera County Supervisor Max Rodriguez. Check out photos from the event!