It's 2pm on a Monday afternoon, and Jolyn Bright is up on her roof in Asbury Park, NJ with a team of employee volunteers from NRG Energy, installing the first-ever GRID Alternatives solar electric system on the Eastern seaboard. It was just under a year ago that a tree came crashing through the roof of her rented home during Hurricane Sandy, leaving her, like so many others along this coast, homeless. She and her husband Warren went to stay with her mother while the house was being fixed, but when they returned it was full of mold. Instead of fixing it, their landlord kicked them out.
Soon after, though, their luck turned, and they got the opportunity to buy their own home through Affordable Housing Alliance, a local housing non-profit.
"It's all happened so fast, first the house and now this," said Jolyn, pointing at the roof. The system is expected to save the Brights about $350 on their electrical bill in the first year.
"I'm so excited," she said, beaming with pride after coming down from the roof at the end of the day. "I'm going to save energy and save money. We never even thought we'd be able to have our own home. And I love that I get to help put the panels on. I didn't get to help build my house, but I can help with this."
The Bright's home is one of seven that will be going solar through our New York/New Jersey launch this week, two here in Asbury Park, two in East New York and another three in Far Rockaway, an area that bore the brunt of last years hurricane. As usual, were doing it with the help of an amazing assemblage of community partners, sponsors like NRG and Wells Fargo, and of course, the families themselves.