Compton homeowner goes solar with the NAACP Solar Equity Initiative


May 02, 2019
Picture of group in front of finished solar installation.

This week, we teamed up with NAACP Compton, the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, and Sunrun for a solar installation in Compton, one of Los Angeles’ oldest communities of color, as part of the NAACP’s Solar Equity Initiative. The Solar Equity Initiative, which launched in 2018 with its inaugural installation in south Los Angeles, aims to connect low-income communities and communities of color with solar technology and skills training across the country.

Leaders from NAACP Compton joined GRID staff and job trainees as they installed no-cost solar on the home of Cheryl Stephen, a resident of East Compton for four decades. NAACP Compton President Paulette Gipson, the first woman to hold the top leadership position in her branch, awarded Ms. Stephen with a year of membership to the NAACP. “We welcome you to the oldest, baddest, and boldest civil rights organization,” said President Gipson.

Picture of Noemi Gallardo, Paulette Gipson, and Ashley Christy at Solar Equity Initiative installation
(Left to right) Noemi Gallardo, Sunrun, President Paulette Gipson, NAACP Compton, and Ashley Christy, GRID GLA
Noemi Gallardo, Senior Policy Manager at Sunrun, which sponsored the installation event, put it perfectly when she described the importance of creating an inclusive solar movement that includes and benefits everyone. Under-resourced communities and communities of color disproportionately bear the burden of environmental injustice: pollution from fossil fuels, the impacts of climate change, and a lack of access to clean energy jobs. The Stephen family knows firsthand the hardship of poor air quality as Cheryl’s daughter struggled with asthma her entire life.

Thanks to GRID staff and job trainees from organizations like Homeboy Industries and the Conservation Corps of Long Beach, the Stephen family has a new 3.3 kilowatt solar system that will save them more than $13,000 over its lifetime. That savings will help Ms. Stephen, who uses a motorized chair to get to the market and senior center, stay active in her community. Ashley Christy, Greater Los Angeles Deputy Director, spoke in praise of women like her, “who drove me to school when I was a student right here in L.A.”

Special thanks to all the partners who support the NAACP’s Solar Equity Initiative, including Sunrun, SEIA, United Methodist Women, and Vote Solar.