Guest post by Mara Ervin, GRID Alternatives Development and Programs Manager

The opinions expressed by RE-Source Guest Bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of MCE, its employees, or contractors. MCE reviews all posts but is not responsible for the accuracy of  any of the information supplied.

On a sunny Saturday in May, Melvin Ray Jackson, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, welcomed a special group of visitors to his Richmond home: local veteran leaders, a Richmond City Councilmember, and sustainability staff from the City of Richmond who joined GRID Alternatives’ staff to install 4.25 kw of solar on his roof.

The install was a part of GRID’s national Troops to Solar Program, a job-training program supported by the Wells Fargo Foundation, that will provide hands-on training and job connections to over 1,000 U.S. military veterans and active service members across the country. While the veterans learn and apply their skills, they also help families in need – including veterans like Melvin – live more affordably in their homes.

The install was made possible thanks to GRID partner, Bay Area Brave, an initiative showcasing the extensive contributions of military veterans to the San Francisco Bay Area community, who helped recruit the team of veteran leaders for the installation day.

“As military veterans, we care about and continue to serve our country and the world in more ways than one,” shared Phil Dillard, who served with the U.S. Navy for 7 years and now leads Bay Area Brave. “GRID’s program provides an incredible opportunity for us to create valuable and lasting assets for our local communities, while learning about true energy independence, and leveraging our veteran community leadership to develop new skills and career opportunities. What’s not to love?”

We couldn’t agree more! Better still, the system will save the Jackson’s an estimated $1,600 each year!

“We’ve lived in Richmond for more than 20 years now,” shared Melvin. “The utility bills have just been so high, more than $500 a month this winter. Solar is going to help a lot.”

This install was the kick-off to a free week-long training GRID will host exclusively for veterans and active duty service members on August 14-18 in Oakland. Interested in finding out more, or know someone who might be? Email for more information.

You can see more great photos from this awesome install here!

As always, homeowners interested in GRID’s no-cost solar program for income-qualified families should visit, email, or call 866-921-8646. Veterans are encouraged to apply, though veteran status is not a requirement for enrollment in this program.

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