On the morning of Saturday, March 24, an all-star team of female business and civic leaders from across Los Angeles came together to install solar in celebration of Women’s History Month. This Women's Executive or “WEBuild” brought renewable energy to a home in Watts owned and operated by A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project. Founded by Susan Burton, this nationally-recognized nonprofit provides an array of support services, including housing, to women returning to society from after incarceration and their children. The 2.8-kW system will save A New Way of Life more than $27,000 in utility costs over the lifetime of the equipment, freeing up resources for the nonprofit to further their mission.
The WEBuild was made possible through The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, whose contribution fully funded the installation and will allow GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles to provide paid training opportunities for formerly-incarcerated women. We are thrilled that Soqueria, an A New Way of Life resident, will be joining our office for fourth months during a paid internship this spring.
This install was part of efforts to create greater equity in the solar industry (particularly for women of color, who are the most underrepresented group in the solar workforce, as well as for returning citizens facing the highest stigma upon re-entering the workforce).
A highlight of the day was a surprise visit from ANWOL founder Susan Burton, who sat with our staff and volunteers in the backyard of the home during lunch. Ms. Burton, along with ANWOL Co-Director Tiffany Johnson, lead a conversation to discuss the tremendous challenges that face women struggling within the criminal justice system and the need for services that address the specific needs of each woman, as well as to express her appreciation for the impact of long-term cost savings that solar will give them.
“WEBuilds” and Women’s Builds are part of the GRID Alternatives Women in Solar program that aims to bring more women into the solar industry and support them in their professional advancement through recruitment, exposure, training opportunities, networking, and employment connections.
By all accounts, it was an incredibly meaningful and rewarding day!