It’s clear that solar can provide clean energy, but stopping gang violence doesn’t always make its list of benefits. Still, interestingly enough, an organization called Homeboy Industries is using solar to do just that.
The organization serves high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of free services and programs and operates seven social enterprises that serve as job-training sites. Homeboy Industries covers tuition and supply costs for its clients who wish to enroll in the photovoltaic training program at East Los Angeles Skills Center. Homeboy also offers additional tutoring to help students pass a national credentialing test that makes its clients competitive candidates for employment in the green industry.
California non-profit organization Everybody Solar also works to protect the environment and strengthen communities through solar, so the project caught its interest as well. Everybody Solar has been fundraising for the project along with the alternative rock band Trapdoor Social and the Sierra Club, and they are quickly approaching their $20,000 goal.
Fellow Los Angeles-based company Orion Solar Racking is supporting the project by donating a complete set of mounting materials. This donation will help lower the cost of the project to be installed by GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles, pushing them past the halfway point of their fundraising goal.
“It’s wonderful that the LA area solar industry is pitching in to help its neighbor Homeboy Industries with this project,” says Youness Scally, Executive Director of Everybody Solar. “Homeboy spends thousands of dollars a year on their electric bill, and together with GRID Alternatives and Orion, we’ll help Homeboy save on utility expenses so they can dedicate more resources to their job training and other anti-recidivism programs.”
“Two of our members have been regular GRID Alternatives volunteers, helping bring solar to low-income families across Los Angeles, so we are excited to partner with them to help Homeboy Industries save money with solar power,” says Bob Sinai, CEO of Orion Solar.