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.
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.
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.
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