Last week, Grid Alternatives launched their Solar Affordable Housing Program in the New York region by bringing clean, affordable solar power to three Sandy-affected families in Far Rockaway. Grid Alternatives was founded in 2001 by Erica Mackie and Tim Sears and already has eight offices throughout California and Colorado. By leading teams of volunteers, they are able to install solar electric systems for low-income applicants as well as provide job training and experience to those interested in learning about solar installations.
Several Solar One staff members spent last Friday installing 9.4 kW solar panels and micro-inverters on a family home in Queens that had been severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy last fall. With the help of the Margert Community Corporation, they were able to rebuild most of the house and the new roof was perfect for a twelve panel array system. Solar panels were kindly donated by Yingli Green Energy and SunPower Corporation; Enphase Micro-inverters and Schneider Electric provided the inverters used in the installation.
With this renewable energy source, the family will see large electricity savings on their next bill (up to 80%) as the sun’s energy will run directly into the grid and essentially allow their electric meter to run backwards. Solar One’s workforce team proved to be a great resource, after having completed the GPRO training and BPI program. Trainees demonstrated their knowledge of building basics and gained some great hands on experience at the same time.
As the sun began to set on Rockaway Beach, we were pretty proud of our work, and excited for the families to flip the switch to their new power supply. We look forward to working with Grid Alternatives in the future as they provide a great model for alternative energy possibilities in New York. For more information or volunteer opportunities with Grid Alternatives, please visit their website. If you are interested in Solar One training programs, please follow this link.