GRID Alternatives’ mission of making clean, affordable renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities everywhere is accomplished thanks to strategic partners that align with GRID’s mission. SunPower Corporation is one such partner. GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) recently received a generous contribution from SunPower to help fund three solar installations in Desert Hot Springs (DHS). GRID IE has provided no cost solar to over 140 DHS families to date.
The Castro family was able to purchase their home a year ago thanks to Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC). CVHC’s Self-Help Housing Program enables qualified low-income families the ability to achieve the dream of homeownership through a unique home loan program where applicants participate in the construction process of helping to build their home. Fernando Castro moved to DHS from Imperial Valley with his wife and two children. Many of Castro’s surrounding neighbors have all received solar through GRID, so he was encouraged to apply.
GRID’s Workforce and Volunteer team recruits trainees from education partners to help with its solar installation projects. Desert Hot Springs High School (DHSHS) is one of GRID’s longtime partners. DHSHS has worked on many solar projects in conjunction with GRID’s Solar Futures program, equipping and educating students with a win-win combination of classroom curriculum and hands-on job training that prepares them for a rewarding career in the solar industry. Castro’s recent no cost solar installation had a team of about 10 volunteers from DHS’ the REAL Academy as well as their instructor Michael Phelan.
“I have been working with GRID for six years. I have done approximately 30 installs for GRID as an instructor on special assignment and not just stood by and watched my students, but had the opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder working with them on installations,” said Michael. He continued, “I love GRID Alternatives because they educate and inspire these students to prepare them to be ‘job-ready’. I also love what GRID does for veterans through its Troops to Solar program because I am a proud veteran,” he added.
Fred Guitierrez is a DHS student and GRID volunteer who has been on a few installations and really enjoys it. “I have learned so much through volunteering with GRID, like the electrical wiring, setting up the railing and installing the solar panels. The most important thing that I enjoy is knowing that we are making a difference with families and also helping the environment,” said Fred. He is looking forward to pursuing a career in solar and has recently been accepted for an internship with Hot Purple Energy.
“I am proud of solar and the carbon footprint that I am directly involved with through my work with GRID,”’ said DHS REAL Academy instructor Michael. “I am a huge advocate for it and feel that we should not only educate students, but society as a whole on being more environmentally-conscience by producing cleaner, more efficient energy and reducing our waste.
For more information about GRID’s job training program, visit gridalternatives.org/get-training. If you are a homeowner and would like information about GRID’s solar program visit, gridsolar.org or call 951.465.2864.