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Solar Panels for Safe Place for Youth

Help GRID Alternatives install solar panels on a homeless youth shelter in Venice, which powers a computer lab that provides job training and education.


GRID Alternatives

Climate Cents enables you to partner with GRID Alternatives to install solar power systems, free of charge, on the roofs of nonprofits serving our city’s most vulnerable population — homeless children and teens, women and men.

Rooftop solar cuts their energy bills to almost nothing, allowing them to focus resources on serving those in need.

Solar power produces zero greenhouse gas emissions or pollutants of any kind, which helps our planet in a big way, especially compared to the dirty coal that still fuels too much of L.A.’s electricity. In sunny Southern California, you can’t ask for a better energy source.

Plus, GRID Alternatives prioritizes job training and employment for people from the region’s disadvantaged communities, helping to build a green-tech economy where opportunity is more than a slogan.

Our first project is with Safe Place for Youth. Based in Venice, CA, its mission is to inspire, nurture, and empower the resilient human spirit of homeless youth by providing immediate and lasting solutions, one young person at a time. The solar panels you install will enable Safe Place for Youth to power an energy-intensive 3D printing lab. Homeless teenagers there will learn cutting-edge technology and skills from leading professionals in the field to prepare them for good-paying careers.

Solar power isn’t an obscure idea anymore. It’s a huge and growing industry. Its climate-change fighting power comes from the fact that it is replacing energy generated by dirty fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

Where your electricity comes from depends a lot on where you live. In some places, it depends on coal-burning power plants, in other places natural gas or oil, and in still other spots, nuclear fission, hydro-electric, solar, wind, geothermal. Most likely it’s some combination of these.

In Los Angeles, we get our power through the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). LADWP’s relied far too much on dirty coal plants based in Utah and Arizona 40% of the total! but it’s working to generate its electricity from cleaner sources.

This can’t happen overnight though, but it is possible to do your own part by contributing to local solar, distributed on the roofs of buildings across L.A.

The current level of carbon emissions per KWh (kilowatt hour) for DWP is approximately 10.7 lbs of CO2e per KWh.

The array of solar panels that GRID Alternatives installs will be 100% carbon free.

That means the solar rooftop system installed on Safe Place for Youth will:

  • Produce 10,610 kWh per year of clean energy, 282,968 kWh over the 25 year lifetime of the system
  • Offset 132 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) over the next 25 years
  • Save SPY an estimated $64,352 over 25 years

We determine your personal impact by figuring out the per dollar cost of reducing 1 lb of CO2 and then multiplying that number by the amount of money you contributed.

This project’s estimated system cost is $31,737, including: $16,234 in installation labor, permitting and engineering costs $15,503 in equipment (panels, inverters, and balance of system costs).

BOTTOM LINE: You reduce an additional 8.92 lbs of CO2 for every dollar you donate.

GRID Alternatives’ mission is to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities.

A successful transition to clean, renewable energy is a must for our environment and to be truly successful, it must be just and include everyone in its benefits.

What they do is simple - using a volunteer model, they install solar electric systems for families in underserved communities at no-cost. The impact however, is tremendous.

The GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles (GLA) office opened in 2007 and serves Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties. GLA leads teams of volunteers and job trainees to install solar electric systems for low-income families in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties, providing families with needed savings and giving area workers hands-on experience to help them find employment in the green-tech economy.

Through this simple act, they are able to provide families a long-term solution to high energy bills, and offer community members hands-on experience that can help them obtain employment in the rapidly growing solar industry, all while producing clean energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Here in Los Angeles they work with a wide variety of partners:

  • local municipalities, corporations and foundations to provide the solar systems
  • businesses and community and technical colleges to provide job training
  • nonprofit organizations, affordable housing providers, and other community organizations to reach the families they serve

July 2016

GRID was featured in a KCRW piece about building a green economy with opportunity for all – by our friend Avishay Artsy. It’s a wonderful story, well-told.


GRID Alternatives is all about getting people like you involved in making the clean, green economy a reality. They rely on volunteers to help install solar panels on the roofs of projects like Safe Place For Youth, and for their everyday installations on low-income houses across the region.

It’s a fun, social, and a not too stressful process. No experience required, just the ability to climb up on a roof, do some basic physical work, and be open to coaching. You’ll get trained for free and learn the kind of skills you can use to get a paid job with a solar power company. Click here to learn more and sign up to volunteer with GRID Alternatives!

Word of mouth is our best way to build support.

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