Volunteer Spotlight: Lucy Conde

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January 30, 2019
Lucy Conde smiles broadly, standing near solar panels on the work site

As a child growing up in Tijuana, Mexico, Lucy Conde’s father stressed the importance of innovation as well as a clean environment.  She would flip through his Scientific American and Popular Mechanics magazines in earnest; listening attentively as he discussed solar, wind turbines, and clean energy of the future.

Lucy came to San Diego at 17 years old and finished high school here. She became a mother early and held off on her plans for college.  While raising her three children, Lucy earned her EMT certification and began flexing her bilingual skills as an interpreter. Soon she was in high demand, especially at the Children’s Hospital, where she translated for Spanish-speaking families.  She also provided bilingual assistance for call centers and found a niche in decorating and event planning for trade shows and conventions.

Lucy first heard about GRID Alternatives in Spring of 2018 when her friend had a solar system installed on their home.  When the crew showed up and Lucy found out it consisted primarily of volunteers and trainees, her ears perked up. She immediately inquired about how to become part of the GRID team and was told the main requirement is that you have to “really want to get involved”.  Lucy felt like this was her chance to get hands-on with renewable energy.

“It was love at first sight,” Lucy says of her first installation experience.  She has maintained her enthusiasm as she picks up skills in wiring, electrical maintenance, and construction.  

Lucy doesn’t get discouraged by the age difference between her and most of her fellow trainees and volunteers.  “Some people were nervous about me getting on the roof, but I showed everybody what I could do,” she recalls fondly.  Now she is often praised for sharing her tricks of the trade with new trainees. Lucy gains more and more knowledge by being a fixture on almost all of the installations and won’t miss one unless she’s working a trade show.   “I like hard work; it keeps me motivated,” she says.

Volunteering at GRID means more to Lucy than just work experience.  “As an immigrant and a woman, I’ve always been fighting for human rights and social justice.”  

Lucy recognizes GRID encompasses all of this by being a proponent of social and economic justice for low income families and providing technology that once was out of reach.  “Now you don’t have to be rich to have solar,” Lucy says proudly.

GRID recently began installing in Mexico and it is these international projects that have really hit home for Lucy. She says she has watched familiar neighborhoods be transformed through solar access. Lucy wants to learn as much as possible, especially as it relates to design and technology.  She has her own mission: she envisions a world where all children can breath clean air and thrive. She sees some of that world in a future with solar.