From his rooftop, Miguel Rodriguez can see the elementary school he went to, the public library, the elevated rails of New York City's Metro system and hundreds of rooftops. But for all that real estate, not a single solar panel. An NYPD cop who helps support three generations of family under one roof, Miguel is about to become GRID Alternatives' first New York client and the first in his neighborhood to go solar.
"The cost of living is so high here, and every couple of years the utility rates go up," Miguel said "Solar is something I always noticed and thought about but if you don't have the money you can't really do it. Now I have the opportunity to do it. It's really going to help with our payments."
The installation, along with another GRID Alternatives build a few blocks away, is also going to help 23-year-old Vanessa Williams and 15 of her fellow corps members with Green City Force get a taste of a new career possibility. They are part of a program that helps young adults living in New York public housing explore green careers and get the basic skills they need for college and/or employment.
"It's great to be able to get out here and get hands on. You don't know if you are actually going to like doing something until you try it out, and this helps us decide what careers we want." Before coming to Green City Force she did a computer science program, but the certificate she got wasn't enough to get a job. "If you don't have any experience, you can't get a job, but how do you get experience without a job?"
Green City Force's corps members will be getting on the roof with GRID for the rest of the week getting plenty of solar experience as we bring clean power to Miguel and four other families across the region. We?re looking forward to seeing more of them in 2014!
(Photo: Vanessa Williams, left, installs conduit on Miguel Rodriguez's house)