SPRING BREAK!! For most of us that means packing up our bathing suits, heading to Florida, and spending a week forgetting about the stresses of young adult life. But what if you were to spend that time doing something for the greater good?
Grid Alternatives offers a program that allows you to spend your spring break installing Solar Panels for low-income families, at no cost to them.
“These are families who wouldn’t otherwise have access to, but could benefit the most from, renewable energy. Not only will this reduce the economic burden of high electricity bills for these families, but it will also significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, curbing the impacts of global climate change. You will also gain first hand experience in solar energy, an industry that is growing rapidly with numerous opportunities for college graduates.”, states the website.
Here’s how the program works:
You and your team register through their website. Teams must consist of 9-12 members, all at least 18 years old. Your registration process includes selecting one of their locations to work at (they have program sites in California, Colorado, the Mid-Atlantic, the New York Tri-state area, and a special program located all the way in Nicaragua), providing your school’s scheduled spring break dates, and submitting a $500 deposit for your team.
After completing registration, you must begin fundraising to meet the required goal of $5,000 ($25,000 for the Nicaragua project). This covers the cost of your project, five days of programming, and lodging for your stay. All food and transportation costs must be paid by your team. While $5,000 may seem like a lot of money to raise, Grid Alternatives offers fundraising consultation to help you find the best plan to achieve your goal.
When spring break arrives, the fun starts. In addition to amazing conference and field trip opportunities, you get a chance to canvass local neighborhoods about the program, and of course, install solar panels. Licensed solar technicians will teach you through hands-on experience how to install a solar panel system, from beginning to end. You will then spend the next two days changing a family’s life forever.
Jenna Poplausky, a mechanical engineering major from Duke University, was one of the selfless few who decided to spend her spring break helping a low-income family in Fresno, CA this past week.
“There’s so many ways you can help people, but to actually do the manual labor to install something, that’s not only going to help the homeowners, but just help everyone by producing cleaner energy,” said Poplausky. “We’ve learned, I mean, just a ton, about how solar works, to how to actually get it installed, how to set up the design, which way they have to face in order to get the most sun.”
Karina Gonzalez, the Workforce Development Director for GRID Alternatives Central Valley said, “Energy costs are starting to become on the rise, and so solar that we’re providing the homeowners today is going to help save them up to 80-percent on their utility bill.”
If you are interested in participating in Solar Spring Break 2018, you can get information on how to register here. A little good karma never hurt anyone, right?