GRID Alternatives made our Grass Valley debut on March 22-23 when we teamed up with Habitat for Humanity, Sierra College and natural foods distributor UNFI to bring both solar power and landscaping improvements to two Habitat for Humanity homeowners.
Student volunteers from the photovoltaic technology course at Sierra College in Rocklin arrived early on Friday, March 22 to begin preparing the rooftops and railings for the solar installations. The weather couldn't have been better and the views of the Sierra Nevada foothills were spectacular. The crew of future solar industry workers was able to gain first-hand experience in installation safety, flashing installation, measuring, cutting and installating rails, conduit bending and electrical panel preparartion.
The following day GRID Alternatives and Habitat for Humanity were joined by nationwide regional distrubution center managers from UNFI and the president of their board Michael Funk, who talked about the merits of solar and his own efforts to put solar on the UNFI distrubution center in Rocklin and his home in Northern California. The volunteers, in conjunction with GRID team leaders, wired the electrical panels for solar, installed the Yingli Solar panels and the Enphase micro-inverters.
A total of 8 kW of solar were installed on both homes and will save the homeowners a combined total of nearly $74,000 over the lifetime of the solar systems. "I can't wait to be able to turn my system on and begin saving money," said homeowner Jennifer, a single mother of 5. "I feel good about teaching my children to conserve energy and protect the environment." A group of children from the pre-school she works at came by at one point to say hi to Jennifer and see the installers at work. Jennifer said working with GRID has inspired her to learn more about renewable energy, and to teach those principles to her young stundents.
A huge thank you to Habitat for Humanity of Nevada County, Sierra College and UNFI for making this possible!