Plugging into Solar Energy with Grid Alternatives
Solar Energy does not have to be the exclusive option for homeowners that can pay, so says GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit organization. According to their website, GRID Alternatives’ “vision is a successful transition to clean, renewable energy that includes everyone.” They want to make all renewable energy technologies like solar energy and job training available to underserved communities.
PalacioMagazine.com sat down with two of its representatives recently to discuss the organization’s efforts to help homeowners plug into solar energy. Stella Ursua is Strategic Partnerships Manager and Leticia Polanco is Outreach Coordinator for the greater Long Beach area.
Solar Energy for Low-Income Communities
Stella Ursua began by expanding on the organization’s description. “GRID Alternatives, as you mentioned, is the only nonprofit that installs solar systems for specifically low-income families that live in environmentally polluted neighborhoods.”
Ursua says the organization has installed over 12-hundred systems in the L.A. County area.
“We are really proud that we’ve connected so many people to clean energy solar systems.”
Outreach Coordinator Leticia Polanco described how the organization finds homeowners willing to place a solar energy system on their roof. The first is inviting them to visit the organization’s website, www.gridalternatives.org, where they can fill out an application.
“But we also get in touch with the community through events. We also do canvassing, which is door knocking.”
Polanco elaborated on the community outreach efforts. “Now, we’re doing workshops with other community organizations.”
Ursua added their outreach strategy is “…to reach out to the local community-based organizations because they will be able to help us connect first with the homeowners that we’re trying to outreach to…there’s a trust that’s been built with that community organization so we’re partnering with them.”
GRID Alternatives is conducting workshops with those community-based organizations at their side to reassure homeowners of both the benefits of solar energy and their credibility.
That strategy stems from the reality of many solar energy installation companies out there trying to do the same thing. The difference is with them there’s a cost for those systems and none for those installed with GRID Alternatives.
Saving Money with Solar Energy
Polanco described her pitch to the low-income homeowner on the benefits of solar energy. In addition to the obvious one about using clean energy, there’s the cost savings on their energy bills. “With the solar panels, we might be able to reduce it 50-90 percent.”
To qualify for the solar energy program, there are income and geographic criteria. You can find out more information about those qualification criteria at the GRID Alternatives website HERE. You can also contact Leticia Polanco directly for more information at 310-735-9847.