Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grid Alternatives and Solarthon 2012 GLA

Good Day Sunshine!

    It's almost Halloween, and yet the California sidewalk is still baking in the summer heat.  While the typical SoCal sunbather would be reveling in the added light, many low-income households suffer these conditions with little reprieve. It has been noted that many of the global warming effects hit these dense urban communities harder than the rest- The amount of concrete and people quickly exacerbates the problem. Since many of these areas don't have the funding to improve the conditions, (and certainly the families can't afford it) they go without the technologies that make the heat unnoticeable to the wealthier areas.

On top of this, the households in these areas generally rely on outdated, inefficient methods that will cost them thousands, and ultimately makes their financial issues even harder to overcome.  These conditions lead Erica Mackie and Tim Sears to form the company Grid Alternatives in 2001, to provide low-cost (or no-cost) solar electric technology to low-income families across California.  They both had been working on large scale private sector projects, when they realized they could bring the same to those who needed it most. Grid Alternatives is focused on providing energy technologies, energy independence, and training individuals to work in this fledgling industry. Their mission can be boiled down to one concept: Empower the Community.

As I mentioned in OLM: 10.23 The Sustainable Architecture Club of LATTC will be participating in Grid Alternatives Annual Fundraising Event; Solarthon 2012!  Which is when hundreds of volunteers get together, to install units on 10 homes, all in the same neighborhood, all on the same day.  This is a massive undertaking that requires the help of capable volunteers, the support of a company with experience, the financial backing of the state, and generous donations from individuals like yourself!

Grid Alternatives created the SASH (Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing) program in 2004. In 2007 California launched the California Solar Initative (CSI) which is  dedicated in reducing millions of tons in CO2 emmissions, providing 10,000+ solar homes, and money allocated to the less fortunate.  Since Grid Alternatives had already been successfully operating for half a decade, they were appointed program manager on behalf of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  This means the money that was allocated for this undertaking is actually being put to good use by those who know their business.

The money from the Solarthon event makes the solar electricity training possible.  Erica and Tim knew that expansion would lead to a vacuum of qualified workers, and the best way to offer that experience would be to  give the chance to the public. To get not only the volunteers, but the families that receive the panels working together in what has been referred to as "Barn Raising."  The event will be like a block party-good people, good music, and good food; though in the place of sprinklers and games, will be hard work! Everybody lending a hand to make life a little easier for us all.  Without the volunteers, this kind of undertaking would be near to impossible, which is why it is very important that you donate generously.  Every penny counts, and there are plenty of people raising funds for this event that need your help.

Since you're here, I hope you've liked what you've read. If you do, would you please sponsor an LATTC Sustainability Club Member? Thank you so very much.

Once again, the event will be on November 10th, and six of our club members will be pitching in, so look forward to the post-event post!


For more information please visit 
Grid Alternatives home page
Impact Calculator- this shows the great progress they've made!
California Solar Initiative
Solarthon Main Page
Solarthon Greater Los Angeles Page
Solarthon fundraising page
THIS author's fundraising page

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