Rialto Homeowner and Celebrity Photographer Gets Solar


November 25, 2019
Homeowner Richard Gardenhire pictured here with GRID volunteers and staff

GRID’s Women in Solar Program (WE Build) promotes a diverse and inclusive solar industry that includes women by providing valuable hands-on job training. GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) recently installed a 5.3 kW DC solar system for a Rialto homeowner. The WE Build drew 13 volunteers from various areas — even as far as San Diego — to participate in this installation. 

Richard Earl Gardenhire, Sr. is 65 years of age and has lived in Rialto, California for 30 years. He has five boys and two girls (two of whom have passed away). Richard said he learned about GRID at a share and care day at his church, where he received a business card from a GRID staff. He said he was anxious to get his solar system. 

“The staff was nice and very informative. I would advise anyone to please make the call,” said Richard. His family typically has an energy bill upwards of $120-$180 a month, but is looking forward to the savings they can expect to see once their system is turned on. He was very impressed at the installation when he observed how detailed the staff was. He really liked the safety talk huddle, which provided the team with all the details about what to expect on the job. He and his family can soon expect to see significant savings (up to 75%) on their energy bill thanks to GRID. 

Richard has a background in the field of electricity. He worked for Edison for 27 years until retiring. His career began working at a power plant for 18 years in Etiwanda until the plant closed forcing him to change divisions. He then worked as a utility man where he was responsible for controlling power in different substations. He retired from Edison, but later had to return to work to be able to meet his financial obligations. He got a part-time job as a bus-driver, and also drove trucks for Walmart, until he was forced to retire for good due to a tragic trucking accident that nearly cost him his life. When you walk into the Gardenhire family room, you are greeted with a wall of hundreds of pictures of celebrities. Aside from Richard’s professional career, he shared fascinating stories about his life as a celebrity photographer for 25 years. He has shot for various media outlets and photographed such stars as; Janet Jackson, Steve Harvey, Ray Charles, and James Brown to name a few.  

To see if you qualify for a no cost solar system through GRID’s Energy for All Program, visit www.gridsolar.org or call 1-866-921-4696.