iii. Grid Alternatives, June 2013 to Present:
Grid Alternatives is a non-profit that utilizes California State funding to provide solar energy systems to low-income families. Two representatives from Grid Alt. came to our classroom to give a presentation. Attending the presentation granted access to the volunteer calendar, on which I am able to request to attend solar installations around the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.
At all of the installs, I practice lots of techniques and familiarize myself with the tools and the trade. I practice conduit bending, which is actually quite difficult and requires lots of thought and applied mathematics. I practice wiring techniques, such as grounding, junction boxes and circuit breaker connections. I also practice for exams on the job site, inquiring about codes and regulations to electricians.
One outcome of working with Grid Alternatives that is important is job training. The supervisor of the first install told me that he had to pay over $2,500 for solar job training in Las Vegas. I am happy to be acquiring my solar job training on a volunteer basis and in an educational environment where I can visit family and network with other professionals in the field.
It feels great to be on the job site with solar energy. It also feels really good to know that we are reducing the monthly bills of the people who need it most. As these are low-income families, the extra money saved with the reduced electricity bill has a large impact. I am excited to integrate photovoltaics into my Ecological Design business and to lead installs in the future with my own licensed company. I am now a Team Leader with Grid Alternatives, and I hope to continue to develop my knowledge of solar energy.