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Real Goods Solar Supports ‘Boots on the Roof’ Job Training to Solar-Equip Eight Low-Income Households During GRID Alternatives 2nd Annual Solarthon

On June 9, Solar Professionals, Corporations, Students, and Veterans Work Alongside Homeowners to Install 18.4 kW of Solar on One City Block in One Day, Saving Eight Low-Income Families $190,106 in Utility Bills Over the Life of the Donated Systems


San Diego, CA (PRWEB) June 07, 2012

Real Goods Solar, Inc. is joining non-profit GRID Alternatives and 150 job trainees, corporations, community volunteers, veterans and homeowners for San Diego County’s 2nd Annual GRID Alternatives Solarthon, a public-private partnership leveraging boots-on-the-roof solar training, donated solar equipment and corporate and student volunteers to install money-saving solar electric systems on eight low-income households in a single neighborhood in one day.

The effort will slash the energy bills of the eight families receiving the solar solutions by 70%, saving them a total of $190,106 over the anticipated 30-year life of the donated systems.

“San Diego’s high electricity rates make many living in affordable housing vulnerable to economic stresses from rising energy costs, compounding their financial hardship,” said GRID Alternatives‘ San Diego Director Paul Cleary. “We believe that free, clean electricity from the sun should be available to everyone,” he added.

The National City Solarthon – one of seven Solarthons GRID Alternatives has slated for California this year – takes place Saturday, June 9, from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at the intersection of 18th Street and G Avenue, just five miles south of downtown San Diego.

“This is our biggest public initiative of the year,” said Cleary. “We’ll have licensed solar installers and eight teams of corporate and student volunteers working alongside the homeowners benefitting from the program to install 18.4 kW of solar power capacity across eight National City households,” he said.

Teams include students earning field credits from Southwestern College’s Green Building Program and the first all-female contingency. National City’s Vice Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis will also be assisting in the build.

Prep work for the day’s installations began in May. The physical labor associated with solar installations – from module testing to the pulling of electrical wire to hoisting and securing panels to rooftops for final inspection – will all be completed on June 9. GRID Alternatives makes these systems free to qualifying homeowners with corporate donations and through the California Solar Initiative’s Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) program.

Rosalva Rodriguez, one of the eight homeowners working alongside professionals and volunteers to install her new home solar solution this Saturday, is enthusiastic about going solar – and the savings it will bring. “I have many family members who need help through these tough economic times. This better equips me to help them,” she said.

The benefits of solar energy transcend monthly energy bill savings. “Solar not only provides an effective safeguard against rising energy costs, (particularly as we activate fans and AC to beat summer heat), it improves property values,” said Scott Schumacher, Regional Sales Manager for Solarthon supporter Real Goods Solar.

In addition, Schumacher says a recent UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering study found rooftop solar adds to the insular properties of a home, keeping it five degrees cooler in the summer and five degrees warmer in the winter. “This partnership is a terrific way to bring the benefits of solar energy to families who may otherwise never access them. We are all looking for smart ways to save,” he said.

The installed systems will generate a whopping 30,012 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy each year. Because this electricity is produced without the burning of dirty fossil fuels, they will prevent the release of 724 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into our atmosphere, the equivalent of eliminating the pollution generated from carbon-belching vehicles driving 1,552,000 road miles on San Diego freeways.

“Collaborative programs like these reinforce Real Goods Solar’s corporate mission of sustainable living and demonstrate just how successful we can be when we pull together to make clean, renewable energy accessible to everyone,” added Schumacher. Schumacher says Kent Halliburton, Real Goods Solar’s VP of National Sales, has been active with GRID Alternatives since 2005. Since then, he has engaged employees throughout the organization to support GRID’s outreach efforts by sponsoring teams of Solar Champions at Solarthons throughout California.

Solarthon is an annual solar installation block party and fundraiser for GRID Alternatives – a licensed, non-profit solar installer exclusively serving low-income families.
“These projects generate triple bottom line results: energy savings and solar ownership for the families, hands-on job training and a healthier environment,” said Cleary. “The funds raised at Solarthon support GRID Alternatives’ work to bring clean, affordable energy and hands-on solar installation experiences to families and job trainees who need them most.”

Continued Cleary: “We encourage others to join Real Goods Solar, Wells Fargo, SunPower, Capital Energy Group and Yingli Solar in supporting GRID Alternatives initiatives throughout California. It’s an investment that – like the solar panels we’re installing – reap big community dividends for decades to follow.”

About GRID Alternatives: GRID Alternatives is a non-profit organization that brings the benefits of solar technology to low-income communities. Using a barn-raising model, GRID Alternatives leads teams of volunteers and job trainees to install solar power on qualifying homes, providing needed savings for families struggling to make ends meet while preparing workers for jobs in the fast-growing solar industry. Since opening its San Diego office in 2009, GRID Alternatives has installed over 200 systems throughout San Diego County and trained over 1,500 community volunteers and job trainees. More than than 2000 families have received systems from GRID Alternatives state-wide. For more information, please visit

About Real Goods Solar

Real Goods Solar is a leading solar energy integrator, having installed over 13,000 solar electric systems. We offer turnkey solutions, and have 34 years of experience in solar energy, beginning with the sale of the first solar photovoltaic panels in the U.S. in 1978. With offices in California, Colorado and the Northeast, Real Goods Solar is one of the largest residential solar installers in the country. For more information, visit or call 1-888-56-SOLAR.