GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing the benefits of solar energy to low-income communities, has started wrapping up 2014 with their last four installations. Enphase volunteers had the opportunity to join GRID on their latest installation in Richmond, CA, on what volunteers described as “a perfect day for solar.”
Enphase’s four-year commitment to GRID Alternatives has allowed GRID to serve over 1,300 low-income families through equipment donations and employee volunteer service.
On that perfect day for solar, Enphase volunteers met Bobby Chan. In 1978, Mr. Chan fled Vietnam to Malaysia on a boat ride that took 28 days. More than 35 years later, he now lives in Richmond, CA with his wife, Sue Ann, and two daughters that also live in the Bay Area.
For nearly 10 year, 6 days a week and up to 12 hours a day, Mr. Chan worked at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. He then got a job with better benefits and more money working in the banquet department of a San Francisco hotel. But the many years of lifting and serving took a toll on his body, forcing him to retire with a serious back injury. "More time, but no money," Bobby says of retirement.
Now, the Chan family is getting a free solar system installed on their roof, expected to save them $18,000 over the lifetime of the system.
Mr. Chan looks forward to using the money he saves with his new solar system to fix up his home.
"As a retired Civil Structural Engineer turned loose in the business world, I enjoyed the opportunity to work with my hands in a familiar construction environment provided by GRID Alternatives that is both safe and fun,” said Shiuh-Wuu (Victor) Liu, a Sales Operations Analyst at Enphase. “The best part about volunteering on the Richmond installation site was being able to give back to my fellow East Bay residents who could really benefit from going solar. It was even more rewarding to discover that the homeowners also spoke Mandarin Chinese, and I was able to hear about their positive experiences with our installation team in their native tongue."
Mr. Chan’s system will produce enough clean energy to prevent 55 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being releases. That’s the carbon offset equivalent of planting over 1,000 trees!