This is the latest in series of regular profiles introducing the GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles staff. In their own way, each member of our team brings a passion for renewable energy to the day-to-day work of Los Angeles' most socially-minded solar company. Here's how one got to where he is today: meet Alex Turek.
Multifamily and Nonprofit Program Manager Alex Turek has been with the GLA team since 2016, when he joined our office to help us pursue new types of installation work beyond the single-family model we were founded on. Since then, he's been involved in the development of diverse and exciting projects, spread all across the map of our service area: from the Antelope Valley in the north, to Orange County in the south, to rooftop installations right here in Los Angeles. His familiarity with emerging technologies and interest in working with electric vehicle charging tech and energy storage brings an innovative slant to some of our solar projects. And while his work may take different shapes, it's mission-aligned: Alex is motivated by desire to shut down fossil fuel extraction entirely and replace those resources with a clean energy economy, creating "a model that can adopted rapidly across the world."
The largest accomplishments Alex has under his belt to date are multifamily solar installations. "This is an expansion of the work that we do for single-family households and an expansion of our mission," he says, "widening solar access for those facing the greatest barriers." Alex likes to point out that some of the Los Angeles residents who face the most significant economic challenges are low-income renters … yet this is a customer market that many existing solar companies have overlooked. That's why, working with a GLA team of about half a dozen, Alex considers every day an important opportunity to help housing operators understand what Energy for All offers. They work with him on every stage of a project, from concept to permission-to-operate.
Alex's favorite showcase so far is the work GLA did at City Gardens Apartment Homes in Santa Ana, a 390-kW system for working families and single renters. As our most recent job with LINC Housing, City Gardens was both an experience that Alex found significantly challenging and one whose community value is easy to see. Because GLA and LINC are mission-aligned ("We have the operator's best interests in mind," as Alex puts it), we're confident that they enjoy the full benefit of our Multifamily work today: residents have training, renters save money, and LINC is leading their colleagues in sustainability.
"This is a great way to deliver solar benefits to low-income housing operators and their residents, or to reduce operating costs for mission-aligned nonprofits," says Alex. "Solar positions them to be successful at achieving their missions." The projects that nonprofit organizations have been able to plan with us tend to be especially cost-competitive, since GRID Alternatives doesn't have the same needs around profit margins that other companies do.
Before running his GLA program, Alex remembers being curious about our work as a researcher. About five years ago, he'd been working on evaluating solar potential in the region for UCLA's Luskin Center for Innovation and saw the GRID difference: "[It was] interesting, inspiring, and a lot more connected with the impact I wanted to have [than] supplying information to policymakers and crossing my fingers hoping they would do what you recommended they do." One project at a time, Alex believes in responding to the growing concern about climate change with impactful, progressive solutions. Given GRID GLA's ability to lead, he hopes that we'll continue to grow our work hand-in-hand with local policymakers:"How can we set the blueprint by doing what we do on the front lines everyday?"