A Bright Future for Outreach SolarCorps


August 28, 2017

The SolarCorps Fellowship Program is a yearlong opportunity for highly motivated individuals to serve communities in need across all departments at GRID Alternatives. SolarCorps Fellows learn about solar and the nonprofit sector through hands-on experience while making a positive impact across the nation. At GRID IE, Tracy Ruiz, Nicole Villanueva, and Rachel Norwood competed their terms Outreach Fellows for families throughout three counties and found the experience enriching, challenging, and fulfilling.

One SolarCorps program goal is to prepare Fellows to enter the solar industry or the nonprofit sector. “I didn’t know anything about the solar industry until I started at GRID,” Nicole admitted, “But now I feel really confident explaining how the process works to homeowners and handling their projects from start to finish.”

Nicole joined the Inland Empire office to give back to the communities she grew up in and quickly realized that she could achieve that goal in a dozen different ways. She advises anyone interested in the SolarCorps Program to say yes to new challenges. “GRID offers so much support,” said Nicole. “You get an opportunity to learn as much as you want as quickly as you can.”

The three Outreach Fellows completed their term well versed in the various aspects of operating a nonprofit in the rapidly expanding solar industry. “It definitely challenged me in terms of trying to bring true change to people,” Rachel commented. “But through GRID we were able to really make a difference for people who need help.”

Rachel was able to build her analytic and creativity skills, developing solutions to the daily rigor of problem solving. For example, when a major utility changed the interconnection process for connecting solar systems to the grid, Rachel designed a new system to track projects requiring changes that prevented delays. Homeowners were able to start saving money just in time for the summer heatwave.

“At the end of the day, we’re making a big difference for homeowners and their families and it makes all the hard work worth it,” Tracy Ruiz remarked about her experience. Tracy’s desk is full of project folders and notes. As Tracy flips through the files she commented, “Every project has different needs, and it’s really fulfilling to know that we can help all kinds of people afford a better life.”

Service and impact are the biggest reward most SolarCorps participants receive. It is an opportunity for Fellows to work towards a great cause while gaining valuable skills. SolarCorps embraces diversity and many positions are entry level. Fellowships are available in nearly every department including Outreach, Workforce Development and Construction. For more information, or to see what positions are available or which offices have openings, please visit GRID’s Job Postings Page and visit the SolarCorps Fellowship Page for more details.