Electrifying the oldest day laborer center in the South Bay with solar and storage

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May 21, 2019
A guitarist sings into a microphone held by another person

Our first combination of clean solar energy and battery storage for a nonprofit organization drew enthusiastic applause Monday afternoon. Wilmington's Harbor City Community Job Center celebrated a GRID Alternatives system on the roof of their trailer with a day of music, friendship, and fun! Workers and family members packed the gravel parking lot of the Wilmington institution to see our ten panels, which are now connected to two 3.5-kWH batteries in the main office!

Local constituent Eusebio opened the celebration and switch-flipping with ranchera music. Then, honors were paid to the dedicated worker-trainees from this Wilmington program – people like longtime day laborer Carlos, who had helped our Solar Installation Supervisors complete the job. Donors, neighborhood folks, and partners shared an inspiring afternoon with staff from the Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California.

IDEPSCA is an important resource for a community like Wilmington, where wage theft is prominent, especially from jornaleros. Low-wage workers may not have the legal acumen or understanding of their rights to advocate for fair pay and good conditions. But access to power around the clock makes a difference to IDEPSCA's operations. "We saw that this off grid facility had no electricity other than what they could produce by running a generator. IDEPSCA was forced to spend scarce resources on gas and further dirty the local air their members breathe," said Executive Director Michael Kadish. "This made it a clear and compelling opportunity for GLA to do our first solar and storage project. Going forward IDEPSCA can put more money into their mission and enjoy clean and free energy."

Audience members listen to a speaker under an outdoor tent
Communities like Wilmington have so much to celebrate. At the Harbor City Community Job Center, Executive Director Maegan Ortiz welcomes the solar team.

The power of clean energy was on display for stakeholders in one of the city's most important environmental justice communities. By lowering overhead for IDEPSCA and bringing professional skills to the men and women who use their space, we're doing our part to have a brighter economic future in the Harbor region. IDEPSCA is a true local institution: its staff and members received an in-person welcome from the district team of Councilman Joe Buscaino. And most importantly, the joyful music and shared food and drinks throughout Monday afternoon told everyone in attendance that a bright new future was opening up for laborers in the neighborhood.

We installed battery storage and clean, no-cost solar for this nonprofit organization thanks to generous year-end donations, along with the Office of Supervisor Janice Hahn and a project grant from Bank of the West. Thank you to our many supporters making a difference!