College Students Gear Up For GRID Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break


More than 200 students, representing 22 colleges and universities from 15 states, will spend their upcoming school breaks installing no-cost solar for low-income families, gaining hands-on workforce training and connecting with solar industry careers through GRID Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break program.

GRID Alternatives, which makes solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income communities and communities of color, is leading teams of students in installations across California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nepal from March 4 through May 10.

Now in its sixth year, the program is an immersive, service-learning opportunity for students to learn about the energy and environmental issues facing low-income and tribal communities in the U.S. and abroad, says GRID.

Throughout the spring, teams of 10-12 students will travel to different project sites and spend the week on a combination of solar installations, neighborhood outreach and educational activities.

“Solar Spring Break gives students who are passionate about renewable energy the chance to see how solar power technology’s real-world benefits make more resilient communities,” saya Erica Mackie, CEO and co-founder of GRID. “We’re helping shape the climate leadership of tomorrow.”

Solar Spring Break has grown from six schools in 2014 to 22 schools in 2019. This year’s program includes teams from the following schools:

  • Arizona State University
  • California State University, East Bay
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • Duke University
  • Fort Lewis College
  • Georgia Tech
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Miami Dade College
  • Michigan State University
  • Navajo Technical University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Penn State University
  • University of California, Berkeley (two teams)
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Michigan (three teams)
  • University of Nevada – Reno
  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Rice University
  • Villanova University
  • Intercollegiate Team

In the first international Solar Spring Break, students are traveling to Nepal’s Chitwan National Park to bring solar power to the Kumal Tower, a recently constructed off-grid wildlife observation tower.

Students who complete the program will also have access to educational resources, advocacy networks and solar industry job openings through the Solar Energy Industries Association, which is partnering with GRID Alternatives for the third time to help make career connections for students wanting to continue in renewable energy. Solar Spring Break effort is sponsored by the Wells Fargo Foundation, which has underwritten the program’s expansion, with a focus on schools serving diverse populations.

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