Adobe volunteer day with GRID Alternatives

Romulo (volunteer team lead), Tim, David, Jeff, Rosana, Jay, Cheryl, Peter, Janice, Rahul, Liz, Ed (volunteer team lead), and, squatting, our group leader, Dave. It was a cold day, so I wore my hard hat over my wool cap.

Last Saturday, a group of Adobe employees, including myself (plus one person’s brother and another’s friend), rose early to brave the San Francisco fog. Why would we do such a thing? Naturally, to install solar panels for a low-income family! This was made possible by Adobe’s corporate sponsorship of GRID Alternatives, a local nonprofit whose aim is to empower communities in need by providing renewable energy and energy efficiency services, equipment, and training.

The rails are at different levels so the panels can be installed at the optimum angle on this flat roof.

Though it was a cold day, we soon warmed up  as we did the work of preparing and installing the system. Some of the prep work had been done the day before, but there was still a lot of measuring, wire connecting, and conduit bending to be done before we could put the panels in place. A group on the ground connected wires and conduit to the inverter, which converts the DC energy generated by the solar system into AC energy the home can use. On the roof, others finished installing the railings that would hold the solar panels — while trying to avoid stepping or dragging things in the tar that held the railings in place on the roof.

Carefully placing the panels on the railings

We installed a 1.9 kW system, which is projected to have these environmental and economic impacts for the family and the community:

  • 119,000 lifetime kW production
  • $20,000 value of energy generated this system over its lifetime (savings to family)
  • 80 tons of greenhouse gas emissions prevented

A day volunteering with GRID is always satisfying and rewarding — you get to experience firsthand a simple action that achieves so much. If you haven’t heard about my previous involvement with GRID, see my blog post about last year’s Solarthon, their annual fundraiser and block installation party. Since I wrote that post, GRID has done their 1000th installation. The systems they’ve installed represent over 2.5 megawatts of generating capacity and are reducing each family’s electric bills by approximately 75%, which will translate to a total of over $25 million in energy generated over the systems’ projected life spans. They will also prevent roughly 100,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years.

As long as I’m talking about the Solarthon, and telling you how much GRID has done, I might as well mention that I’ll be participating in the event again this year, and you can sponsor me here:

Any amount helps. This is truly a worthy organization, and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

More photos of the Adobe volunteer day below, in this album, and on my Facebook page.

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the position, views, or opinions of Adobe.

Jay, David, Janice, and Cheryl on the roof. A group next door works on another solar installation.
Even our intrepid leader Dave can’t avoid stepping in the tar, so he puts on a rubber glove in place of his shoe.
As you can see, we worked very hard all day.
Jeff is working hard here, bending conduit.
Rahul bending conduit
Liz bending conduit
Janice bending conduit
Janice doing something else that’s clearly very important
Our leader showing us the ropes — I mean, the rails.
Placing the first panel: Measure twice, place once.
Connecting wires to and placing the second panel.
More panels are placed.
And more …
One row is in place.

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