New Mom Forges Solar Career

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March 14, 2016
Chrissy Gonzales and daughter Lilly

Chrissy Gonzales never planned to have kids, didn’t have a specific career path and hadn’t ever considered a job in solar energy.

Two and a half years ago, daughter Lilly arrived and changed everything. “I couldn’t just jump from job to job anymore, I needed to figure out what I was going to do long term,” she says.

It was during a college class that Ms. Gonzales heard her fellow students talking about an all women crew volunteering with GRID Alternatives San Diego.  “All I heard was ‘job’, ‘crew’ and ‘tools’, and I thought, I could do that!”

She signed up and started helping GRID Alternatives help low income families make the transition to solar power.

“I’ve never been afraid of physical work, and I’m used to tools. I have been under the hood of my Dad’s car since I was a little kid,” she adds. “Each Christmas and Birthday I would get a new tool, and now I do it for Lilly too,” says Ms. Gonzales.

“Any woman can get out there with GRID ,” she says. “I think we’re great on the worksite and have a good eye for safety, in this industry that’s super important.”

Ms. Gonzales turned the opportunities that GRID Alternatives offered into a job. Following a two week internship at Everyday Energy, a local solar installer, she’s now found full time employment with Tekamuk Energy, a tribally owned solar installation company. “I’m also enrolled in a course at Mira Costa College to help me get my NABCEP certification, as well as weekend classes,” says Ms. Gonzales. “I’ve worked incredibly hard to get where I am today but GRID has been a great mentor.”

She’s excited for her and Lilly’s future. “She’s my new heartbeat, my drive, she’s the reason I do the best that I can. I have her handprints on my hard hat! just to remind me what I’m doing this for,” says Ms. Gonzales.  “If you are willing to learn and ask questions, GRID Alternatives can open doors for you.”