We did it! GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic landed on the map in September “not with a whisper, but with a bang” as District of Columbia Housing Authority Director Adrianne Todman put it during the closing celebration of our D.C. launch. Around 300 people—volunteers, community members, partner organizations, local leaders and top Obama administration officials--came out over the course of a week to help us install 19 kW of clean, renewable solar power for ten deserving families, and spread the word that solar can and should benefit everyone.
Our warmest welcome came from the neighborhood of Ivy City in Northeast D.C. where we were working. One of city’s poorest neighborhoods, it has seen a recent influx of housing groups like our partner Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C., building safe and affordable housing for residents. As we started knocking on people’s doors, letting them know we were getting ready to throw a big event in their backyards, we heard over and over from people, “Okay, when can you train me? When can I get solar on my roof.”
Among them were Kendra Sanford and LaTon Davis, neighbors who put on hardhats and spent the week installing with us. “I thought it would be a good job opportunity and training for me,” said Sanford, an unemployed mother of two. “It’s been fantastic.” Not only does she plan on continuing to volunteer, she’s also hoping to sign her mother up for our program. “With her being retired, this will really help her out,” she said.
We also had the chance to work with a group of fun and incredibly hard-working young men from Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a local job training organization that works with at-risk youth. Their first taste of solar, many of them are now inspired to pursue it as a career.
“Ivy City is the perfect place to shout from every rooftop that solar savings and solar jobs can lift up our communities and move us toward a cleaner world for all of our grandkids,” said Erica Mackie, GRID’s CEO and co-founder, speaking to local and Federal leaders at our launch press conference.
“Our country is going to need to be able to answer the questions those neighbors asked: ‘When can you train me? When can I get solar savings?’ If we want to ensure equal access, we need a national low income solar policy.”
Thank you to everyone who helped make our Mid-Atlantic launch possible, and will help us continue to make solar accessible to the communities that need it most. Click here to check out our photo albums, social media feed and press page.