Solar Spring Break 2020

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February 24, 2020
2019 Solar Spring Break students

GRID Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break Program, sponsored by Wells Fargo, is a national alternative break program that creates opportunities for students to make a difference in low-income communities while getting hands-on training in renewable energy. This year, 15 Solar Spring Break teams are participating GRID-wide, two of them Tribal. GRID IE will welcome students from Duke University and The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) who will be assisting on Tribal projects. These students will spend a week each during their spring break to learn about Photovoltaic Solar Systems. In addition, they will help install a solar system on four qualified single-family homes on the Chemehuevi reservation in Lake Havasu, California. GRID’s Tribal Program helps tribal communities become self-sustaining by providing resources to assist with their clean energy goals. In the summer months, the Chemehuevi tribal community experiences extreme weather temperatures and very high electric bills. The solar will help reduce low-income tribal member’s energy bills up to 80%, helping them to live more comfortably while using clean energy and allowing them to have money for essentials such as home improvements, medication and health care. 

These college students will have the opportunity to see, first-hand, what tribal life is like and experience tribal culture. Activities will begin with a hiking excursion, visit to the Chemehuevi Cultural Center, and a three-day solar installation. During their trip, the tribe will graciously host a dinner celebration, songs, dances, bond fire, cultural tours, hikes and environmental sharing about indigenous plants/birds/fish. The students will also enjoy the picturesque Lake Havasu. 

Duke University students will arrive March 8 through March 13 and will be installing a 4.060 DC kW solar system. The following week, Georgia Tech University students will visit March 15 through March 20 to assist with the installation of a 4.640 DC kW solar system. Collectively, the solar systems will help to reduce these tribal families’ energy costs, and will produce over $350,000 worth of energy over its 20-year lifetime. Funding sources for these tribal projects will come from the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund (TSAF). 

Find out more about GRID’s Tribal Program, or contact Lisa Castilone at 951.471.7047.