Wednesday, November 21, 2012

We are- Solar Champions!

After the relentless pursuit of funding and the dedication to wake up early on a Saturday morning, The Sustainable Architecture Collective earned the title of Solar Champions this past November 10th at Grid Alternative’s 3rd Annual Solarthon Event.

[If you've missed what we've been doing you should check out our previous post here.]

Pft...And they were talking about rain warnings...
The day was bright; rain is not the meteorological condition you want to find yourself in when you are working on the roof so we were off to a good start. I scooped up fellow club members Ian and Isai from LATTC and we raced over to the build site in South LA. John arrived practically at the same time so we were all ready to get solarized! There was time to meet fellow solar champions and scope out the solar companies that had a presence at the event. After a coffee refill and not-so-soft but much needed bagel, the open ceremonies for the day kicked off.
Our scrappy heroes... on a roof!!

Mrs. Howell and our build supervisor Greg
We got a “meet and greet” from the Greater Los Angeles Grid Alternative Director, a wonderful account from one of the home owners receiving the Solar Energy panels, and an energizing speech by Erica Mackie one of the founding partners of GA. She really set the tone for the day and charged everyone up. We were grouped together and assigned to house # 3 which belongs to:
"The Howells are a retired couple supporting their grandchildren, who are faced with a difficult question every summer: Use air conditioning and suffer the consequences to their small savings, or don't use it and suffer the consequence to their and their grandchildren's health? With the solar installed at Solarthon, this family will save 97% on their energy costs AND stay healthy."
It was then that I devised my secret plan for the day, which was to sneak a hug from Mrs. Howell since she has to be the sweetest woman ever! ^.^
We were lucky that this was only a single-story home! 

Our group was well mixed. We worked alongside veteran Solarthoners and frequent Grid Alternative participants, professionals in the field and students alike. Our supervisor Greg who is a staff member of Grid Alternatives from Northern California came down to help out during the event. He is well versed in the installation process and fearless of roof ledges! We were doing great with time and completed the first phase of the installation by lunch time.

Our super awesome and fearless leader, Myshel Prasad
It was burritos for lunch and soon thereafter community leaders shared their praise for the organization all the while trying not to get swept off by the relentless gushes of wind that knocked out the DJ’s canopy. Prizes were given to those super fundraising machines that raised the most funds for the event. Now these were not your regular consolation prize, the top fundraiser received an awesome tablet computer. A band played. We took a massive group photo and it was off to work again.


Alas, the only one short enough to do
this job with ease! 
Our group quickly fell into the assembly line and before we knew it, our 17 panels where in place and wired way ahead of schedule. I was given the privileged to complete the wiring of the inverter box, (it may have something to do with the inexhaustible look of excitement I had on my face when Greg asked for a volunteer) but soon thereafter the system was powered up. Everyone was then staring at the inverter and Mrs. Howell received a hug from me. All missions complete!

Fun fact, at the end of that day Grid Alternatives enrolled 18 new applicants!
Green power is catching on in Southern California.
Here we come 33% renewable energy goal!

Because of our efforts, we all came together and:
  • Helped 10 low-income families go solar and save almost $300,000 over the systems' lifetimes 
  • Installed 10 solar electric systems (31kW), which will prevent over 900 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (the equivalent of planting over 20,000 trees) 
  • Participated and facilitated hands-on experience with solar, so job seekers are better prepared to gain employment in the solar industry 
  • Raised over $28,000 for GRID’s mission 
  • Planted the seeds for solarizing an entire neighborhood; the excitement around the event brought a lot of homeowners out and opened hearts and doors quite literally. 20 more homeowners signed up to start reducing their energy costs and reducing greenhouse gasses with clean solar power from GRID.

Here's my Introduction!                          And here's mine!
This post was written by Hildemar Cruz, a member and secretary of The Sustainability Collective;

and edited by Ian Salamanca, a member and webmaster of The Sustainability Collective.

1 comment:

  1. You should all be proud of yourselves - as we are of you!!!