While 2020 certainly presented its struggles, it was also a tremendous opportunity to learn, grow and challenge ourselves. Here’s what we learned:
That the solar industry is resilient. The solar (construction) industry was designated as essential and therefore, kept going. We saw the industry rally together to ensure policy makers at all levels continued to support the solar industry through the pandemic and in the face of resistance from the fossil fuel industry and their backers.
We learned that GRID is resilient. We were able to adjust and continue providing service to our communities. We were also able to continue expanding our work with tribes, in battery storage, and with multi-family and commercial projects. We managed to keep most of our staff employed and functioning, even while hunkering down away from COVID-19.
We realized that even though everything takes longer in Zoomland, we CAN get stuff done working from home. We even moved our solar training online and will continue to offer distance learning in the future as it really expands our reach and allows wider participation. Despite the transition from visible to virtual, there are still families who do not have the comforts or capabilities brought in by efforts to bridge the digital divide. We still have to offer “alternative” options, keep safe and best communicate with our clients.
We were reminded that the GRID San Diego’s Construction Department is the best in the industry. Not only do they provide the highest quality work and service at all times, they also possess a brilliant ability to make critical adjustments through COVID, rain, equipment challenges, staffing changes and more.We are so proud of our Construction Department.
Amid the chaos, we showed up for each other. GRID cares and GRID staff cares about each other. Outreach Coordinator, Clovis Honore says, “I have always been impressed with the intention and ability of GRID to attract, hire and support an amazing group of human beings into the fold of GRID, both at Headquarters and in the San Diego Office. The constant concern for the welfare of the GRID family, expressed by upline, lateral and interdepartmental staff is very encouraging and is one of the best staples of what GRID is all about.”
We acknowledged that San Diego is a mess. Much like the rest of America, San Diego has a dynamic personality conflict. From open racism to a new Democratic County Board of Supervisors to a San Diego City Council that has many conflicting priorities. Many GRID San Diego members are on the 'front lines' in Communities of Concern addressing equity issues, especially, but not limited to climate justice.
We recognized that America has come a long way, and has yet a long way to go. In her new book, The Sum of Us, Heather McGhee says, "THE STORY OF this country’s rise from a starving colony to a world superpower is one that can’t be told without the central character of race—specifically, the creation of a “racial” hierarchy to justify the theft of Indigenous land and the enslavement of African and Indigenous people." This story is not yet fully told, and the unspeakable errors made have not nearly been fully corrected and restoration given to those who have been harmed - even up to this day. In 2020, America launched forward through the Black Lives Matter Movement, then lurched backwards with the "Big Lie" about the presidential election and the events that followed. Then the schizophrenia and duplicity of the American racial and gender power hierarchy reemerged when we heard violent insurrection compared to protests against racial injustice. Of course, many of them were complicit in those events, and would have indicted themselves. "Power concedes nothing without a demand," said Frederick Douglas. And those in power have demonstrated that they will compromise their values today, as they did in 1776 with the 3/5th compromise, and again in 1820 with the Missouri Compromise, and again in with the Reconstruction Compromise of 1877. For the sake of power, the power wielding power mongers of this country will compromise any and every principle, even democracy itself, to hold onto power. We learned that our mission to build community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy is still as vital and alive as ever.