2022 Sunshine Awards & Clean Tech Training Center Celebration!

On 6th December 2022, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire held our annual Sunshine Awards - this year also including the Clean Tech Training Center (CTTC) Celebration - to honor individuals and organizations who are advancing work that aligns with GRID’s mission to transform lives by providing access to clean renewable energy and hands-on job training.

The event held at the GRID Alternatives Inland Empire facility was a great success! Thank you to everyone that attended the event - we were so happy to see so many of our friends, clients, supporters, and partners come out and celebrate with us. 

Special thanks to all of our honorees for making the trip to Riverside from near and far to receive your awards and plaques. We couldn't do all our wonderful work without you. We are so pleased to celebrate and honor all of you.

Sunshine Awards 2022 Red Carpet
2022 Sunshine Awards Food

The evening started with a social hour. Guests, honorees, and VIPs were invited to walk our red carpet for a photo opportunity, and to enjoy tacos cooked onsite by GRID IE's very own Javier Lara. Beer and light refreshments were available and kindly supplied by Euryale Brewing, and finally a selection of pastries, cookies, and hot beverages were available for dessert. Live music was graciously provided by Hot Purple Energy, by their band—the HPE All-Stars.

202 Sunshine Awards Mock Roof

During the social hour, a showcase solar installation was performed by our wonderful construction team for our guests to enjoy, and to learn more about our hands-on work here in the Inland Empire. The installation was performed on our brand new mock roof that was built for the CTTC launch. It had been moved outside to the event space for the evening so everyone could see it, and for it to host the official CTTC ribbon cutting.

Many thanks to Cindy Corrales, our Workforce & Volunteer Manager, and her team supported by the Construction Department—who worked diligently in the build up to this event to ensure that the mock roof, training electrical panels, and the classroom space for the CTTC were ready for the launch and the ribbon cutting.

2022 Sunshine Awards

Ceremonies officially began with a welcome to all our guests, honorees, and VIPs with opening remarks from Jaime Alonso, Executive Director of GRID IE, who then passed the microphone to Cindy Corrales to begin events with the CTTC launch and ribbon cutting. 

CTTC Launch & Ribbon Cutting

GRID Alternatives Inland Empire is answering the call to train the workforce for our growing clean energy economy. We’re building the Clean Tech Training Center at our Riverside facility. The growing clean energy industry needs clean energy workers. Solar installer jobs alone are expected to grow 52% by 2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. GRID IE is centering equity, inclusion, and diversity in providing access to the jobs of our clean energy future. Through these efforts, GRID IE envisions that the CTTC and our workforce programs will provide local job seekers the opportunity to equitably participate in our growing green energy economy.

Sunshine Awards

We then proceeded to honor the Inaugural CTTC Supporters, and each was presented with a commemorative plaque by Jaime Alonso and Nika Hogue, our Development Officer.  Representatives from U.S. Bank, Citizens Business Bank, Edison International, Kaiser Permanente, Bank of America, Pacific Premier Bank, and Wells Fargo accepted the plaques on behalf of their organizations. Their support was key in providing the resources needed to build out the CTTC.

Nika Hogue was instrumental in securing their support and fundraising for the CTTC. Nika is pleased to announce that the CTTC campaign has raised over $150,000 thus far - which is incredible! Thank you Nika for all your hard work fundraising for the CTTC - and for all of GRID IE's work and activities throughout the Inland Empire!

Sunshine Awards

Following the plaque presentation, Cindy cut the ribbon to officially launch the CTTC! Wilton Williams, Construction SolarCorps Fellow, a current trainee and beneficiary of the CTTC facilities, ceremoniously stepped up on to the mock roof, and with a impact gun—tightened the final bolt on the solar system that had been installed earlier during the evening. The CTTC was now officially launched!

Guests were then invited to enjoy the music and beverages once again, before we moved on to the primary event of the evening—the Sunshine Awards.

The 2022 Sunshine Awards

GRID IE's friends, partners, and supporters are critical to the work we do throughout the Inland Empire. We take this opportunity once a year to recognize and honor these individuals and organizations for all the incredible work that they do in support of our work here at GRID IE. We could not do it without you!

The Sunshine Award for Collaboration goes to:

Sunshine Awards

Susan Gomez, CEO Inland Empire Community Collaborative (IECC)

For creating partnerships and working collaboratively for the greater good of Inland Empire communities.

Presented by Jaime Alonso.

Congratulations Susan!


The Sunshine Award for Environment goes to:

Sunshine Awards

Robert Vance, Housing Director Timbisha Shoshone Tribe

For advancing green practices and promoting the benefits of sustainability while creating economic wealth, mitigating environmental impacts, and acting inclusively towards all segments of society.

Presented by Lisa Castilone, Community Development & Tribal Manager.

Congratulations Robert!


The Sunshine Award for Equity and Justice goes to:

Sunshine Awards

Steven Leash, Director of Public Works, Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians

For advancing equity, building inclusion, expanding diversity, and championing justice with innovative programs and initiatives.

Presented by Lisa Castilone.

Congratulations Steven!


The Sunshine Award for Workforce Development goes to:

Sunshine Awards

Casey Heiser, REAL Academy Instructor, Desert Hot Springs High School

For expanding access to green, clean energy careers and leadership opportunities, and connecting people that need good jobs with industries that need good people.­

Presented by Cindy Corrales.

Congratulations Casey!


The Sunshine Award for Public Partner goes to:

Sunshine Awards

Mayor Michael M. Vargas, City of Perris

For their strong advocacy of GRID programs and offering innovative solutions to inform underserved residents about renewable energy access and solar savings.

Presented by Victoria Pacheco, Community Development Officer.

Congratulations Mayor Vargas and the City of Perris!


The Sunshine Award for Corporate Partner goes to:

Sunshine Awards

Flor Tolley, Wells Fargo VP, Senior Social Impact & Sustainability Specialist Southern California Region  

For the strong support and advocacy for GRID IE, both within the organization and externally to the community at large, supporting GRID IE's sustainability and impact.

Presented by Nika Hogue.

Congratulations Flor and Wells Fargo!


The Sunshine Award for Solar Champion goes to:

Sunshine Awards

Jim Oana, business owner, Energized Electric

For the strong support and advocacy of GRID IE's mission and values. 

Presented by Dan Glasow, Construction Operations Manager.

Congratulations Jim!


Thank you all for your continued support and partnerships which help to expand and promote the vital work we accomplish in the Inland Empire—providing no-cost solar and job training to the communities and individuals who need it most. 

We hope to see all our friends and supporters again at next years Sunshine Awards!



Finally, many thanks to the staff at GRID IE for working so hard to bring this event to life. This was our first large-scale in-person event in a long time, and all the staff at GRID IE did such a wonderful job of preparing for, and hosting this successful evening.

Thank you GRID IE:

Jaime Alonso, and the Operations Department - Kara Allen. For all your hard work MC'ing the event, presenting awards, preparing the offices, and finding parking for everyone.

Dan Glasow, and the Construction Operations Department - David Ham, Zach Cain (especially for preparing the facilities and parking lot), Omar Ojeda (red carpet photographer), Victor Rodarte (artist behind our outstanding new lobby sign), Amanda Vo, Laura Aguirre, Wilton Williams, Angel Mejia, Daniel Montero, Francisco Prats Ramos, Javier Lara (head chef for the event), Jeremiah Lee, and Jose Valazquez. For all your work preparing the facility, working on the mock roof, the amazing food, presenting an award, and the solar installation demonstration! 

Cindy Corrales and the Workforce Department - Sandra Romero, Erik Rodriguez, and Jailene Vera. For all your work preparing the mock roof, training spaces and training electrical panels, as well as for presenting awards, guest check-in and welcoming guests to the event.

Yoselyn Sanchez and the Outreach Department - Alejandra Guillen Garcia, Nadia Sanchez, Nicole Vences, Samantha Marino, Andrew Alvarez, Elisha Bright, and Halimah Shabazz. For all your work at guest check-in, and the silent auction.

Lisa Castilone and the Community Development Department - Victoria Pacheco. For all your work presenting awards, making announcements, and especially to Victoria for her tireless work on the aesthetics of the event and all the decorations - it truly lifted the event to be the awards ceremony we all imagined it might be!

Richard Lintin and the Marketing and Communications Department - Jessica Sams. For all your hard work organizing and managing the event and event planning, photography, and interviewing our guests and honorees.

Nika Hogue, Development Officer - for presenting awards, and without whom we would not have been able to have this wonderful event. Nika's incredible work secured the funding for the CTTC, and also the funding for the event itself - Thank you!

Thank you to our presenting sponsor Wells Fargo for the generous support that made this event possible!

Full photo gallery available here