This Earth Month, we’re highlighting an Earth Hero on the GRID Mid-Atlantic staff: TaJuan Peach. Peach, as most people call him, is a graduate of the Spring 2020 cohort of Solar Works DC and has been installing solar for GRID Mid-Atlantic for about a year now.
Peach, who grew up in Southeast DC, has always cared about the environment and his community at large. He enjoys clean spaces, hates littering, and has made something of a hobby out of reading up on climate change. Despite being environmentally-conscious and community-minded, Peach hasn’t always had the chance to do work that aligns with his interests.
“I was doing warehouse work,” Peach recalled, “I worked for Nordstrom, moving companies [...] I wasn’t really dealing with the community, it was really out of touch.” At this point in time, work was mostly about the paycheck for Peach.
Then he became a father. Peach left the workforce to concentrate on raising his children, and with kids in the world he couldn’t help but reflect on the condition of the planet and the direction that things are headed with climate change. When he thought about returning to work, he knew it had to be for more than just a paycheck. “I want my career to have meaning, I mean towards the Earth,” he said, “I just need to show my kids that at least I tried.”
Peach learned about the Solar Works DC training program after visiting the DC Infrastructure Academy with his friends. The program, led by DOEE and DOES, immediately jumped out to him, and it wasn’t long before he was fully engaged in the training, learning the ins and outs of solar installation.
After graduating from Solar Works DC, Peach was hired by GRID Mid-Atlantic as a solar installer. He’s been on the team for about a year, which means he’s put up quite a few panels by now on roofs across the District. How’s he feeling about his new career?
"As I'm doing this work for the community, I feel like I'm planting more trees, I'm putting more clean energy into people's homes. I'm really enjoying that. I'm really enjoying the mission, and being a helping hand to Mother Earth,’ he said. "For me, it's about trying to turn back the clock.”
To date, the solar installed by GRID Mid-Atlantic has prevented 60,131 tons of greenhouse gas emissions - that’s the equivalent carbon impact of planting nearly a million trees. Peach is helping those numbers go up, one install at a time.
In true Earth Hero fashion, Peach envisions himself making an even bigger impact on climate change in the future. “I really enjoy what I do at the entry level, being on the roof, pulling up panels, learning what I’m learning and doing what I’m doing, but you know I plan on growing,” he said.
We can’t wait to see where Peach takes his new career in clean energy, but in the meantime we’re happy to have him on the team.