On November 15th, nine Westwood team members participated in GRID Alternatives’ 4th annual Women’s Build, helping to install at 40 kW rooftop solar project in Lakewood, Colorado. GRID Alternatives is a non-profit whose mission is to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. GRID Alternatives’ Women’s Builds, or We Builds, are part of their Women in Solar program which aims to bring more women into the solar industry and support them in their professional advancement through recruitment, exposure, training, and networking.
To honor those who have served, this year’s Women’s Build was a veteran-focused project scheduled during the week of Veterans Day. The project was organized in partnership with non-profit Archway Housing Services and is located on the roof of an apartment complex that will house a range of populations, including low and very low-income veterans, a critically underserved population in the Denver Metro area. It will have 70 one-bedrooms and 8 two-bedrooms with twenty of those units set aside for homeless veterans. The solar project will offset the building’s electricity bill so those funds can be redirected back to the residents.
Westwood’s team was part of 100 women from across the country that spent portions of November 15th and 16th constructing a ballasted racking system, prepping solar modules with optimizers, installing the modules on the racks, and wiring them together – all while networking with others in the industry. Says Kristi McGee, “In my role, I spend a majority of my time on construction sites. The We Build was the first site I’ve been on that focused on women – or even had more than a few women on-site! All the work was done on an equal playing field with plenty of encouragement from everyone involved. It was filled with team camaraderie and had an immediate reward for what had been accomplished.”
Westwood’s attendees came from diverse blend of offices, services and positions. This is Westwood’s second time participating in a GRID Alternatives’ Women’s Build.