Raising a child with cerebral palsy has meant constant struggle with electric bills for the Heltsley family of Yuba City California. This week, relief is on the way, as the Heltsleys receive a new solar PV system on their home through GRID Alternatives' no- to low-cost residential solar program. GRID Alternatives systems go up much differently than commercial contractors, however. On the roof, is a group of job trainees from West Sacramento's Northern California Construction Training and representatives from the solar racking company, Mounting Systems Inc.
“The solar industry has consistently seen tremendous growth, and we, of course, want our region to benefit from it. With solar jobs growing by more than 20% last year, we have an opportunity to get more people into good jobs,” said Kasim Ersoy, President and CEO of Mounting Systems, also based in West Sacramento. “GRID Alternatives gives trainees the type of experience you only get by being in the field, and we are happy to support the work that they do.” Through a partnership with the nonprofit, Mounting Systems Inc. sponsored the Heltsley's installation, providing racking material and funding to support the training group as a part of the nonprofit's 2015 initiative to expand workforce development services to more job training agencies in Sacramento.
"With our sponsors and partners, our program is able to acheive multiple benefits with every project," says Rebekah Casey, Director of Development for GRID Alternatives North Valley. “More clean power on rooftops, more people into jobs in the fast growing solar industry, and more savings into the pocketbooks of families. For families like the Helsley’s with ongoing medical needs, solar can help ease monthly financial burdens. And for students like those from NCCT, there is opportunity for community service coupled with valuable experiential education.”
Northern California Construction Training is also a non-profit, and has robust pre-apprenticeship training designed to help individuals get their foot in the door in the construction trades. NCCT students have the opportunity to work on community initiatives and get practical exposure to the skills they need; helping to build homes, parks and, most recently, install solar for the Heltsley with GRID Alternatives.
This isn’t the Heltsley family’s first attempt at solar. “We knew we wanted solar to help with our electric bills, but couldn’t really afford it. Before we knew about GRID Alternatives, we had a contractor install the smallest package we could afford,” says Addam Heltsley, a minister at a local church. The five panel system wasn’t enough to offset their bills substantially, and the family was happy to find out about the non-profit’s low- to no-cost program. “We have five children and our youngest has electric medical equipment and is very sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. We use a lot of electricity, and even with utility discounts, it’s quite a bit of money.”
The Heltsley's 3kW solar system is expected to save the family more than $22,000, divert 71 tons of greenhouse gas emission, equivalent to the planting of 1661 trees. For more information about partnerships or sponsorships in the North Valley, go to www.gridalternatives.org/northvalley or contact Rebekah Casey by phone at 530-217-6146 or via email at email@example.com.