On September 21st, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire Outreach Team gathered in Ontario, California at the De Anza Community and Teen Center to set up their fourth in-person, solar application workshop. Since June of this year, GRID IE has worked with the City of Ontario to provide three in-person workshops, as well as one in the City of Riverside.
Zoe (left), Yoselyn (middle), and Ashley, the newest addition to the Outreach Team (right)
Through Ontario SHINE (Solar Homes Initiative & Neighborhood Empowerment), a partnership funded by the California Strategic Growth Council Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program, GRID IE is enhancing the generation of local renewable energy by installing up to 700 kilowatts of DC-rated (kW-DC) solar PV panels on the roofs of residential buildings, all at no cost to property owners. A total of 360 kW-DC will be installed on single-family homes, and 340 kW-DC will be installed on multifamily affordable housing.
Outreach Manager, Yoselyn S., verifying program application documents with a workshop attendee.
As city partnerships with GRID IE continue to grow stronger, efforts to expand accessibility to IE communities have increased significantly. From in-person and online homeowner orientations, to workshops in both English and Spanish, expanding GRID IE’s reach brings neighborhoods one step closer to a cleaner future. We interviewed members of the Outreach Team to learn more about their most recent in-person application workshop in Ontario:
What is the importance of in-person workshops?
“In-person workshops help put a face to our organization, creating a sense of security, and fostering stronger connections among homeowners.” –Zoe O., Outreach Assistant
“Since COVID in-person events have been hard to do. Now, we get to meet our clients where they are at– which makes it more convenient for those who can’t drive to our office, or who don’t have the time to do so.” –Alejandra G., Outreach Coordinator
What barriers have your in-person efforts helped tackle?
“In-person workshops help homeowners get their questions answered right then and there, and allows them to apply right away if they would like. This helps them start the process quickly and confidently, the sooner they can get started, the sooner they get savings on their utility bills.” –Sam M., Outreach Coordinator
“Our prescreen process involves asking homeowners about 10 – 15 questions in regards to their household size, income, and home. However, many feel cautious giving out information without learning about our program in more detail. In-person workshops help bridge this gap by providing a low-pressure environment where interested homeowners can drop in, learn more about the program, and fill out an application if they’re interested.” –Zoe
What opportunity does having both English & Spanish workshops provide?
“Having both English and Spanish workshops helps because we get to help two parts of our community. Sometimes one person who speaks English will bring another person who speaks Spanish, and they simply attend our other workshop next door!” –Alejandra
What 3 words describe how you felt at the application workshop? Or, what was your favorite memory of the event?
“Engaged, happy, connected.” –Zoe
“Rewarded, happy, excited.” –Erica L. Outreach Coordinator
“Accomplished, hopeful, and ready to get more involved in our TCC communities!” –Sam
“My favorite moment of the event is the FAQ part at the end where attendees can ask questions. I enjoy helping people fully understand our program and funding.” –Alejandra
Why should homeowners apply for grant-funded solar?
“Homeowners should take advantage of the grant that was awarded to their city. No-Cost solar is part of the grant, which will help them reduce their electric bill, as well as help the environment!” –Erica
“The Transformative Climate Communities Grant is a great resource for homeowners looking to transition to renewable energy alternatives. Not only is there the option of no-cost solar, homeowners can also apply for other programs such as lawn replacement, free tree planting, and more–depending on the TCC grant in their specific city.” –Sam
“Homeowners should apply for grant-funded solar through GRID in their city because these are funds that are there for them to use in a specific amount of time– they will not always be there. They also assist in re-roofing for a solar-ready home, which means homeowners don’t have to pay anything out of pocket.” –Alejandra
Sam (left) and Alejandra (right) reviewing frequently asked questions during the English Application Workshop.
GRID IE is a proud partner with the City of Ontario in implementing the city's TCC program grant. The TCC grant is an innovative investment in community-scale climate action with broad implications. Launched in 2017 by the California State Legislature, TCC funds the implementation of neighborhood-level transformative plans that include multiple coordinated projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program is also designed to provide an array of local economic, environmental, and health benefits to disadvantaged communities while minimizing the risk of displacement. TCC empowers the communities most impacted by pollution to choose their own goals, strategies, and projects to enact transformational change.
Stay tuned for more workshops in your city, IE!