Students Help Low-Income Families During ‘Solar Spring Break’


Over 100 college students from 10 schools across the country will spend their spring break installing solar for low-income families and getting hands-on workforce training in the solar industry through GRID Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break program.

GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit solar installer, will lead the students in 17 installations across California and Colorado through March 25. Now in its third year, the alternative break program creates an opportunity for students to experience solar first-hand and learn about the energy and environmental issues facing low-income communities while gaining a foothold in the solar sector.

According to GRID Alternatives, Solar Spring Break has grown from six schools and teams in 2014 to 10 schools and 11 teams in 2016. This year’s participants include Arizona State University, Beloit College, Claremont McKenna College, UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, University of Michigan, Northeastern University, University of Nevada – Reno, North Carolina Central University, and the University of California -Berkeley.

“Solar Spring Break gives college students who are passionate about renewable energy the chance to turn passion into action [by] doing projects that have a tangible impact on families’ lives,” explains Erica Mackie, CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives.

“The GRID staff taught us more in two days than we had learned in months at school,” comments Abhishek Rao, a graduate student at Arizona State University who participated in 2015. “We put into practice all we had studied from textbooks about residential solar systems, from surveying the site, to using tools to determine shading, designing the system, and actually installing it with our own hands. Solar Spring Break definitely added a much-needed, real-world perspective to my experience studying solar energy engineering at school.”

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