One-Day Marathon Solar Installation Brings Renewable Power to Ten Low-Income Neighbors
Solarthon, a marathon solar installation organized by solar nonprofit and Cleantech San Diego member company GRID Alternatives San Diego, took place this Saturday October 8. A total of 60 volunteers — including individual sponsors, corporate teams, and job trainees — came together to install solar electric systems on the homes of ten families living in Habitat for Humanity’s Elm Street development in Escondido.
“Solar Technology is something that our family never dreamed we would have access to, much less could afford,” says military veteran and solar recipient, Al Lejarde. “Through this opportunity with GRID Alternatives, our family can join a growing movement of advocates — educating our communities about affordable and accessible solar technologies.”
Mr. Lejarde and the nine other Solarthon families receiving solar electric systems will save approximately 75 percent on their electricity bills each month. Over the 25-year lifetime of the systems the combined savings will total $170,000, preventing 363 tons of carbon emissions.
“Solarthon is always special and this year was one of our best,” says Paul Cleary, GRID Alternatives San Diego Executive Director. “To see this many GRID supporters coming together for such a great cause speaks to not only the transformative power of renewable energy, but also to community.”
Two themed homes added a unique twist to this year’s Solarthon. The ‘Women’s Build’ united woman-only solar advocates and a ‘Veterans Build’ was completed by active-duty and veteran service members from The Mission Continues.
Saturday’s Solarthon was one of six such events being held around the country this year by GRID Alternatives, and is the fourth annual GRID San Diego Solarthon. Much like a walkathon, organizations like Engineers for a Sustainable World and individuals raised funds for the event through their personal networks, while Wells Fargo, Cleantech San Diego, and Renovate America sponsored homes for their members or employee volunteers. Additional sponsors include GRID Alternatives equipment partners SunPower, Enphase Energy, and IronRidge. Special guests during a mid-afternoon presentation on the worksite included County Supervisor, Dave Roberts who presented a Solarthon proclamation.