Spring break is coming! Spring break is coming! But instead of going to the beach, or the mountains, or wherever it is college students go these days to let off steam during spring break, about 200 of them are going to get some hands-on solar training while helping to install solar projects in low-income and under-served communities.
The program, called Solar Spring Break, is lead by GRID Alternatives, which is the largest nonprofit solar installer in the US, and this year, participants will get another perk, aside from on-the-job solar training. For the 2017 Solar Spring Break, the Solar Energy Industries Association, in partnership with GRID Alternatives, will give the participants access to educational resources, mentorship opportunities, and solar industry job openings, which could help these students to make career connections for continuing their paths in renewable energy.
“Solar Spring Break gives students who are passionate about renewable energy the chance to see solar technology in action building more resilient communities. We’re helping shape the climate leadership of tomorrow.” – Erica Mackie, GRID Alternatives CEO and co-founder
Instead of spending their vacation week kicking back, the Solar Spring Break participants, nearly 200 of them coming from 15 schools across the US, will work to install no-cost solar arrays for low-income families at projects in California, Colorado, and Washington, D.C.. The program has grown from six teams (from six schools) in 2014, to 10 schools and 11 teams in 2016 (with a little more than 100 students participating), to its current size thanks in part to sponsorship from the Wells Fargo Foundation.
“Solar Spring Break was deeply eye opening, mind opening, and heart-opening. I felt so much more connected, not only to the solar and sustainability industry, but also to a whole new community and network.” – Jasmine Tan, an undergraduate at Duke University who participated in 2016
The Solar Spring Break 2017 program, which runs from February 27th through April 1st, has participants from Arizona State University, Beloit College, California State University – East Bay (two teams), Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Mills College, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University (two teams), Santa Clara University, University of California – Berkeley, University of Massachusetts, University of Michigan, University of Nevada – Reno, and University of North Carolina.
Image: GRID Alternatives