Enormous Good Feelings at GRID IE 2013 Solarthon!

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November 21, 2013

Over 20 years ago, Emma Alcantar was financially down on her luck. She went to a food bank in her city of Temecula, CA to help fill her refrigerator and to find clothes for family. After a debilitating accident in 2006, Emma started volunteering at the food bank to fill her time since she was no longer able to work. She volunteers there 3 times a week and, with her limited English skills, helps 40-60 families fill their grocery bags with food. "I understand the sacrifice it takes to volunteer your time and the enormous good feeling a true volunteer gets," says Emma.

GRID Alternatives Inland Empire teamed up with Emma and 6 other Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley homeowners to spread that "enormous good feeling" to hundreds of corporate and individual sponsors, community leaders, and job trainees on November 9th at Solarthon, GRID's annual community solar installation, block party, and fundraiser! The corporate and community volunteers worked side-by-side with the Habitat homeowners to install solar electric systems on their own homes, at no cost to them!

"I was excited to see all the different solar installers coming together - instead of competing with each other - to fundraise, volunteer, and make a difference for several fortunate families," said Mike Symmes, Solar Power Consultant with Real Goods Solar, a Solarthon Corporate Sponsor. "It was a great, rewarding experience and I felt really proud spending a few hours with Emma and her family helping them go solar with GRID!"

Emma's new solar system will reduce her electricity bill by almost 90% and provide significant financial relief, allowing her to focus on more important things, like her health and time with her family. Sharing her inspiring story during the lunch program, Emma encouraged the assembled crowd to continue volunteering, supporting GRID, and installing solar. "I feel extremely grateful for the chance to participate in a program that helps those in need, like myself. Don?t change your mind and heart about solar!" said Emma.

GRID IE 2013 Solarthon's total impact includes 18 kW of clean, renewable solar power installed for a combined savings of $168,000 for 7 families and over 520 tons of greenhouse gas emissions eliminated, equal to planting 12,400 trees, over the lifetime of the installed systems. On this milestone day, hundreds of corporate and community installation and event volunteers came out and gave back to the local community; thousands of dollars were raised to support GRID?s work in the Inland Empire; AND 81% of the event's solid waste was recycled or composted!

Check out photos of Solarthon here!

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped make GRID IE 2013 Solarthon an overwhelming success, including: Wells Fargo, SolarMAX, Real Goods Solar, Sunpro Solar, Sunmodo, Sullivan Solar Power, New Day Solar, Ameresco Solar, Three Generations for Change, GRID IE Solar Champions and Team Leaders, Premier Medical Transportation, CR&R, Pur-a-Life Water Solutions, 3in1 Design, Sweet Lumpy?s BBQ, My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, Red Bull, SolarCity, Ambassador Energy, Horizon Solar Power, That Solar Guy, Triple Line Solar, Verengo Solar, Access Solar, SunPower Corp., Yingli Solar, Enphase Energy, Jinko Solar, Suntech, Schneider Electric, Rancho Vista High School Solar Technology Program, Desert Mirage High School GrEAT Academy, AmeriGas Propane, Broken Yolk Café, Dr. David Suh, Idyllwild Coffee Roasters, Nothing Bundt Cake, Rain Bird, Rock Fitness, Round Table Pizza, Sage Mountain Farms, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Southern California Edison, Walter?s Automotive, and Yogavate. Also, our deep appreciation to all of the special invited guests, dignitaries, and celebrities who came out and showed their support for GRID?s work, including: Temecula Councilman Ron Roberts, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley and their dedicated event volunteers, Sierra Club, American Lung Association, and Electric Vehicle Association of Southern California as well as the San Diego Charger Girls, Ladies of the LA Kings Ice Crew, Miss City of Temecula and Her Court, Firefighters from CalFire Station 12, and Reach for Life and their state-of-the-art Medevac Helicopter.