GRID Alternatives Celebrates Milestone of Renewable Energy Access for Low-Income Families

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GLA's 200th solar system installation underway in Long Beach. Photos by Asia Morris. 

Washington neighborhood resident Laura Hill received today what was GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles (GLA) 200th no-cost solar system installation in Long Beach.

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GLA brings solar technology to low-income households that need the financial savings, while giving volunteers and job trainees solar installation experience. In attendance at the celebratory event were Long Beach Sustainability Coordinator Larry Rich, and representatives from the offices of Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, GLA and Rebuilding Together Long Beach representatives.

A resident of the 16th Street home for almost 39 years, Hill has been living on her own since her husband passed away in 2009, while her daughter and granddaughter visit from time to time. Living on widow’s disability, it was tough to pay $125 to $150 a month for electricity.

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From left: GLA Executive Director Michael Kadish, Long Beach Sustainability Coordinator Larry Rich, and representatives from the offices of Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez and homeowner Laura Hill.

Through a partnership with Rebuilding Together Long Beach, a nonprofit organization that improves the health and safety of low-income residents’ homes with assistance from other local organizations, including Leadership Long Beach, Wells Fargo and Helpful Honda, GLA came on board to install solar panels following roof and other major modifications that had been made to Hill’s home.

“I’m blessed this year,” Hill told the Post.

“I really want to thank Laura, we’ve been working on your house for over a year in a lot of different ways, it takes a lot of trust, and we built that in the last year and having this whole thing come to a conclusion with these panels on top is really the icing on the cake and the gift that’s going to keep giving to you thanks to the folks at GRID,” said Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Long Beach Daryl James, who described their partnership with GLA as their newest shaping up to be one of their most important.

GLA’s model has delivered clean power to Long Beach for the past decade, with help from local nonprofits and elected officials who assist the organization with finding their clients. Next month, four more Long Beach families will “go green with GRID.” The solar systems save households anywhere from 50 to 90 percent off their electric bill, and mark important steps toward a cleaner, greener future.

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“So that’s real money that can make a difference for families, especially the lower-income families that we work with,” said GLA Executive Director Michael Kadish. “They can save that extra $50 to $100 a month, $200 a month, that’s going to make a big difference. The average household here in Long Beach makes about $50- to $60,000 [annually] and there are even 100,000 households that earn less than that. So the savings need is really big.”

The nonprofit has also placed over 80 trainees and volunteers that have worked with GRID Alternatives installing solar systems with solar contractors. This year, the nonprofit has installed solar systems for over 400 families in Los Angeles and Long Beach, said Kadish.

And with this 200th installation in Long Beach, GLA is aiming to promote their service as much as possible, said Stella Ursua, who works to create strategic partnerships for the nonprofit.

“We want to show the history, the length of time that we’ve been working here in the city and that the family next door and across the street, and across the street there, they are potentially eligible for this wonderful service,” Ursua said.

For more information about GRID Alternatives, visit the website here



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