Last week, GRID Alternatives, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, and Baltimore Energy Challenge kicked off a pilot program in the C.A.R.E. (Caring Active Restoring Efforts) community of East Baltimore. GRID is a nonprofit solar installer that aims to build on the triple bottom line: People, Planet, and Employment. Ten homes are being equipped with solar power and cool roofs- roofs made of materials that effectively reflect the sun’s energy. Each solar panel system generates 1.9 kilowatts and will save the resident about $20 per month in the first year.
The project, the first for GRID Alternatives in the Baltimore area, will also bring a community center to the neighborhood and provide up to 1,600 hours of solar job training for local residents. It is not only geared to help underserved families save money, but to connect people who need jobs with a career in the solar industry. According to Nicole Steele, executive director of GRID, the project aims to diversify the workforce by training at least 1,000 women and 1,000 trainees of color this year.