GRID Alternatives Regional Director Justin Hitchcock is joined by staff, Chamber Ambassadors and Maple High School student interns as he cuts the ceremonial ribbon!
GRID Alternatives Regional Director Justin Hitchcock is joined by staff, Chamber Ambassadors and Maple High School student interns as he cuts the ceremonial ribbon!

The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed GRID Alternatives to the Chamber with a Ribbon Cutting! GRID Alternatives is a nonprofit whose mission is to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities.

GRID Alternatives provides solar panel installation to families in need, free of charge, and are able to reduce electricity bills by 80%.

“We target middle to low income households, because a lot of these familiies are contributing a large percentage of their income to cover their basic costs and bills,” explained Justin Hitchcock, Regional Director for GRID Alternatives Central Coast office. “So if we can help by eliminating one of those bills – their electricity bill – that means they’ll ahve more funds to provide food for their family, education for their kids, and cover other important expenses.”

Hitchcock says the savings really adds up. “Over the lifetime that the solar panel system is installed on their roof, a family will be saving thousands of dollars,” he explained.

The significant savings is partially attributed to the fact that as a non-profit, GRID Alternative fundraises to be able to cover the costs of the solar panel system and the installation, so their clients are left paying no money for the solar panel install.

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Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau Membership Manager Cara Martinez presents the ceremonial ribbon to GRID Alternatives Regional Director Justin Hitchcock and his staff. Welcome to the Chamber!

“The homeowner doesn’t have to pay us anything, which makes us a lot different than most other solar companies out there,” Hitchcock said. ” And that’s the way they’re able to reduce household electricity bills by an average of 80 percent.”

In addition to providing those in need with significant energy savings, GRID Alternatives provides job training to the local community.

“During each of our solar panel installations we are inviting the local community members and job trainees from local schools to come out with us and install solar,” Hitchcock said. “We have them join us on a real life installation job site. That way, they’re gaining hands-on experience that’s going to help them find jobs out there in the solar industry, which is a thriving industry.”

Hitchcock says he was drawn to GRID Alternatives because they have a triple impact. “We benefit benefit people, planet and employment,” he said. “We’re helping low income families save money on their electricity bills, we’re helping the planet by using renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint, and we’re helping people find jobs by providing on site training.”

GRID Alternatives is located at 2900 El Camino Real in Atascadero, CA. Learn more by calling (805) 769-9121 or visiting their website at www.gridalternatives.org. Hear more from Justin Hitchcock, Regional Director for GRID Alternatives Central Coast office, in the video interview below. We are thrilled to have GRID Alternatives as valued Chamber members!