At the beginning of April, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic resolved to make the next 30 days an Earth month -- a bigger, fuller, more impactful celebration than just the singular Earth Day on April 22.
It turned out to be a huge month for our office, which enjoyed some massive events and some some serious attention from the press.
April got out to a great start. Our own Chris Sewell, the financing and operations director of GRID Mid-Atlantic, wrote an impassioned op-ed for the Capital Gazette in Annapolis on April 6 in support of passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act in Maryland.
At one point, Sewell wrote, Maryland was a national leader in solar opportunities. In 2018, however, 800 solar jobs were lost in the state, the largest drop in the country. Sewell argued that if passed, the Clean Energy Jobs Act would “create an estimated 20,000 new Maryland jobs through 2028” and could attract investment dollars from large companies committed to a 100 percent renewable energy transition.
“We urge the Maryland General Assembly to pass CEJA this year because we don't want to be shut out of Maryland for another year and make potential job trainees in the state also wait indefinitely for those opportunities,” Sewell wrote.
The Maryland state legislature approved the bill on April 9, the last day of the session. It has not yet been signed by Governor Larry Hogan.
We also closed the month off with a bang. One day after Earth Day, on April 23, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser attended a ceremony commemorating the 100th installation by Solar Works DC -- a solar job training program implemented by GRID Mid-Atlantic as part of Solar for All, a program of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) seeking to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households and reduce their energy bills by 50% by 2032.
Mayor Bowser led off the event with an address and was followed by GRID Mid-Atlantic Executive Director Nicole Steele. The mayor also participated in a ceremonial flipping-of-the-switch with homeowner -- and GRID Mid-Atlantic team member -- Dawn Fong to turn on Fong’s new power system.
A story about the Solar Works DC program and GRID Mid-Atlantic’s impact on the region was published in May across the NBC Universal network, reaching audiences in Washington, San Diego, New York, Boston, and Dallas, among others.
GRID continued to make impacts in policy and workforce development throughout April.
Our policy staff, for example:
Met with members of New Consensus to discuss Green New Deal policy
Joined a letter from the Solar Energy Industries Association to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan about the importance of signing the Clean Energy Jobs Act (More info here)
Our workforce development team continued to work with our Solar Futures program by hosting students from The Howard Gardner School at our office and visiting students at HD Woodson High School in April.
Our construction team also led corporate workdays with volunteers from IGS and IDB, who each helped install new solar panels on homes in the District. To learn more about corporate sponsorships, visit our website or contact our development team!