Former GRID Volunteer Brings Solar to South America


November 21, 2018

GRID Alternatives is a place of great opportunity, and is a factor that has led to a fulfilling and successful future for many individuals. After almost 200 hours of training through GRID’s volunteer program, Andy Barros was able to use this experience to launch his own solar company in Panama, bringing GRID’s values with him.

Andy first developed an interest in renewable energy more than 25 years ago, and decided to pursue these interests by first educating himself at Everblue Institute. During his time there, he was advised by one of his colleagues to contact GRID Alternatives Inland Empire and participate in their hands-on job-training program. GRID’s free job training helps to develop skills and prepare trainees for opportunities in the solar job market. During his time with GRID, Andy says he learned a lot about solar installations, safety measures, organization, and logistics. Additionally, he also shared how his experience altered his perception of the social environment within the United States. Despite the negative climate immigrants are sometimes faced with, working with GRID and understanding the values the organization embraces on equity, inclusion and diversity helped change his perspective. “I saw and felt very good relations between people from different countries and races helping each other. Working with GRID gave me the satisfaction of helping others,” said Andy.

Andy now operates his own solar company out of Panama, attributing some of his success to his job training with GRID. Andy has completed solar installations in multiple other countries including Brazil and Uruguay, working through the tropical climate and traveling to remote locations. He said that his working experience with GRID and his certifications gave him higher credibility, allowing him to gain the business and trust of many foreign clients. Though Andy is thousands of miles away now, he continues to reproduce the positive impacts that GRID prides itself on. Andy encourages anyone considering a career in solar to get involved with GRID.

Learn more and sign up today for GRID’s free job training.