Living Courageously


May 26, 2016
Barbara Day Portrait

“There are a lot of things I want to do with the time I have left,” says 64 year old Barbara Day. Ms. Day is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments and has been unable to work as she focuses on her health and recovery. She is standing outside her home on a warm May afternoon as NRG Energy volunteers put the finishing touches to her new solar system.

This isn’t the first time NRG Energy volunteers have worked with GRID Alternatives San Diego to help install solar on the roofs of low income families, in fact some of the volunteers on Barbara Day’s install are veterans in the field. Maryann Hambly was glad to be back on the roof again. “I’m excited to see the entire process this time,” Ms. Hambly said. “The last install was so big that we were only able to be there for part of it.”

The rapport between homeowner and volunteers was immediate. GRID worksites are always exciting places to be, but this install felt especially fun and friendly. Ms. Day’s thoughtful nature seemed to extend to everyone, as we chat she is busily figuring out lunch plans for the volunteers -- “Are any of you vegetarian?” she asks the crew. “I want to be mindful of that and honor it,” she says.

Before falling ill, Ms. Day sat on a number of active neighborhood committees, she was a driving force behind the Diamond Community Investors, serving alongside GRID Alternatives Outreach Coordinator, Eddie Price. “I’ve known Eddie for years, long before he worked at GRID,” says Ms. Day. “He has been telling me I should go solar for a while now.”

NRG Volunteers Maryann Hambly (Right) and Darci Clark
NRG Volunteers Maryann Hambly (Right) and Darci Clark

It wasn’t Eddie who persuaded Ms. Day to finally take the plunge -- but in fact a random solar canvasser who happened to be working her neighborhood one day. “He asked me if I wanted to go solar with his company and I said ‘No’,” says Ms. Day. Her thoughts turned to Eddie and GRID Alternatives, “I already know a guy who can help me with that,” she said.

The solar canvasser wasn’t sure how to react. “We can probably get you a better deal,” he ventured. “I know you can’t!” said Ms. Day.

After some quick research, Ms. Day found that the GRID Alternatives office was only a mile away from her house, “I got in my car and decided to pay a visit,” she says. Eddie, who usually works out in the field happened to be in the office that day. “He was amazed I’d caught him there!” says Ms. Day; they set up an appointment to check out her roof and see if she qualified. She did!

The panels that the NRG volunteers are carefully passing up onto the roof are expected to save Ms. Day at least $370 a year on her bills. “Every little helps” Ms. Day says; she wants to make the best of her life as it is now. “None of us really know when we’re going to go,” says Ms. Day. “I want to travel, me and my sisters and my Father already have a trip to Mexico planned. Then, who knows!”

See more photos from this installation.