Rey Marz Receives Solar in Eastside Neighborhood Through TCC Riverside Funding and Installed by Bank of America Volunteers

Bank of America and GRID IE collaborated in this successful team-building sponsored volunteer workday in Riverside. Through this corporate partner opportunity, which funded support for GRID IE’s work, Bank of America volunteers experienced hands-on service by installing solar panels for a homeowner that will benefit most from savings in their energy bills.

“My next-door neighbor Jorge got his solar with GRID IE just last week,” shared an excited Rey Marz, who received solar and a new roof through the City of Riverside’s Eastside Climate Collaborative, a partnership funded by the California Strategic Growth Council Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program, which provides a 410kW-dc solar installation grant for up to 100 income-qualified single-family homes within the TCC Riverside project area.

Rey, an actor and substitute teacher, has lived in his Eastside home since 2011. “My neighbors and I are very welcoming and friendly. We always look out for each other,” expressed Rey, who was filled with joy as his curious neighbor and friend, Sam, stopped by to learn more about GRID IE’s no-cost solar program for his own home. 

While Rey’s neighbors were easy to make friends with, adapting to the Inland Empire’s sunny weather took some adjusting: “We always welcome the rain, but it only comes for about a day at a time. It can get very hot here, so drinking water is essential. I stay cool with my fan, AC, iced water, and by wearing lighter clothes–it’s something you have to get used to.” Prior to living in Eastside, Rey and his family settled in Moreno Valley, where his dad retired after serving at March Air Reserve Base. Similarly to Eastside, Moreno Valley gets just as hot, said Rey.

The Bank of America volunteers.

The Bank of America volunteers.

On the day of his installation, Rey laid out a wonderful spread of snacks and refreshments to thank the crew, which included Bank of America volunteers participating in a Corporate Sponsored Workday.

During the refreshments break, GRID IE Board member Alex Saucedo and GRID IE Executive Director Jaime Alonso spoke with the volunteers to thank them for their hard work and provide them with in-depth information on how this project, and the many others like it through the Inland Empire, impact our local communities. 

Later, in his backyard, beside a blooming bougainvillea, Rey shared his hopeful outlook on the benefits that solar will bring to his life, including “a lowered electric bill and the feeling of contributing to the community. I’m always cognisant about running my AC, but now I feel like I'm uplifting my neighborhood and the electrical grid by generating solar power.”

Earlier in the year, Rey discovered GRID IE’s program in a booklet from his city, which featured summer events and resources. “Lots of people probably feel suspicious about free solar panels, but I did my research. I looked at GRID IE’s website, spoke with my neighbor Jorge, and inquired with one of GRID IE’s Outreach Coordinators at their Riverside office.” To anyone curious whether they qualify for GRID IE’s no-cost solar, Rey said, “Go for it! You can't go wrong–GRID IE is such a great organization that’s doing good for the community.”

In addition to contributing to his community, receiving solar sparked a new vision and goal for Rey. “When I saw my home being upgraded, I felt so inspired to continue. I knew it was going to be hard work.” After getting a new, solar-ready roof through GRID IE’s program, Rey was determined to repaint his home and made plans to explore community programs that offer drought-resistant plants for his yard.

“I've learned how much of an impact I make and how to be more efficient with my energy consumption. I’m astonished by how much I’ve cut back–which is reflected in my bill!” shares Rey, who enjoyed learning more about his energy bill through the help of his Outreach Coordinator at GRID IE, Erica Lomeli. “It's been easy–if the lights are on in a room that you're not in, turn them off. It can also be challenging, but making small adjustments makes it easier. You’ll see the numbers drop,” said Rey, who sees his home’s energy efficiency similar to a game.

Solar panels being installed on Rey's house.

Solar panels being installed on Rey's house.

At the end of the installation, Rey described himself as grateful, excited, and optimistic. “It’s such a wonderful feeling to share this news with my family,” shared Rey, who also recorded a video of the day for his mom. After the installation, Rey posted on Facebook to express gratitude and update his online community, along with his cat, Kiko. “GRID IE’s mission and optimism is such a good step in the right direction. Thank you, Erica, Danny [Solar Installation Supervisor at GRID IE], Bank of America volunteers, and everyone at GRID Alternatives!”

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