Central Coast: GRID Alternative Team Leader Challenge


Originally Posted in the GRID Alternatives Central Coast Region News

July 21, 2016 – GRID Alternatives Central Coast is pleased to announce the certification of 4 new team leaders working to install solar for low income families. The Team Leader program was developed for “super volunteers” – volunteers who attend repeated solar installations with our team- working towards mastery of a checklist of installation skills. It takes time, patience and dedication to achieve team leader status and these solar hotshots have certainly earned their coveted orange shirts!

Alex Economou, Katie Webster, Savannah Speerstra, and Frank Chen are all working as AmeriCorps fellows for Civic Spark, a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California. The CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellowship is an 11-month program with a cohort of 48 fellows broken into 8 regions, with these 4 representing the Central Coast Region – Alex, Katie and Savannah are hosted by the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District and Frank is hosted by the County of Santa Barbara.

Alex explains, “In addition to our service project work [for CivicSpark], the fellowship has a training component and a volunteer engagement component. For the volunteer engagement aspect, each fellow can spend up to 150 hours working on their volunteer engagement project. For our project, we decided to work with GRID Alternatives, and have spent the last several months volunteering at installs in SLO and SB counties and working towards our Team Leader Certification. Now that we are Team Leaders, the culmination of our project will be to help recruit volunteers and lead an install in August 2016.”

We are so proud of this terrific group of youth leaders and commend them for their hard work in achieving this illustrious honor. Their work has helped install solar for low income families throughout the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, helping these families achieve significant savings on their electricity bills – money that can be used to pay other costly expenses such as medical bills, tuition, or mortgage payments. On average, each 3 kW solar system installed will save families $32,000 over the 25-year life of their system and eliminate 66 tons of Greenhouse Gases from being released into the environment, equivalent to removing 13 cars from the road or planting 1,557 trees. GRID Alternatives Central Coast recently completed its 700th solar installation for low income families on the Central Coast, while across the country, GRID Alternatives has installed over 7,000 systems.

Alex summarizes the group’s experience: “We all have absolutely loved working with GRID and all of the amazing people in the organization and all the stories that we have been able to listen to and share along the way. It’s truly amazing what a non-profit can accomplish with a passionate staff and an army of volunteers armed with band saws and sunscreen!”

GRID Central Coast has enjoyed working with this group tremendously and look forward to helping these young leaders provide job training to more volunteers in the future! You are true Solar Champions!!!

Fellows from left to right: Frank Chen, Alex Economou, Katie Webster, and Savannah Speerstra