Every year, through the program Solar Spring Break, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) partners with nonprofits GRID Alternatives and Homeboy Industries to send MIT students to help install solar panels in underserved communities of Los Angeles, California. We need your help to make this unique and impactful experience accessible to all MIT students.
“Solar Spring Break really opened my eyes as to how new science and engineering technologies can be combined with helping those in need.”
With your donation you will:
Increase the usage of clean solar energy
Save low income families thousands of dollars in electricity expenses
Provide lasting job opportunities in green energy for formerly incarcerated and at-risk youth
Remove financial barriers for students to explore their passions in energy
Reduce carbon emissions
“In 2018, Solar Spring Breakers contributed to 33 solar installation projects that will save homeowners over $1 million in energy costs and prevent 2,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.” (GRID Alternatives)
The MIT Energy Initiative is MIT’s hub for energy research, education, and outreach. We'll be working with Homeboy Industries, a training and development program for the previously gang-involved and incarcerated, and GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit dedicated to providing sustainable energy access for everyone.
What students say
Solar Spring Break has allowed dozens of MIT undergraduates to make a positive difference exploring their passions for clean energy.
Name: Darya Guettler
Major: Mechanical Engineering
“Solar Spring Break showed me that renewable energy is not just a solution to climate change, but a variety of social issues. I saw first hand how it changed the life of one women, who struggled to pay her electricity bills but now can use her AC. I saw how it helped the previously incarcerated, who once struggled to support themselves and their families, find stable jobs which contribute back to society. Going through this experience definitely strengthened my desire to work right at the intersection of renewable energy, technology, and helping the community.”
Name: Meital Hoffman
Major: Urban Studies and Planning
“In terms of energy, the way we’re doing things right now is not sustainable for both the environment and those less fortunate. Solar Spring Break made me more attuned to the environmental and social justice issues which exist in underserved communities today and how we can solve them.”
Name: Valerie L Muldoon
Major: Mechanical Engineering
“Participating in Solar Spring Break and working with GRID Alternatives showed me that you can help mitigate climate change not only by physically installing solar panels or working in energy but by getting people involved. Moving forward I want to find ways where I can provide people with the opportunity to pursue careers in energy-related fields.”
MIT Solar Spring Break volunteers gain hands on experience installing solar panels.
“You can always read things on the news or in textbooks, but that’s nothing like being on the ground, or roof I should say, and seeing with your own eyes what’s actually done on site. Through Solar Spring Break, I participated in a real solar installation procedure, like physically bending electrical conduits and mounting the panels to the roof.”
Meital Hoffman, Solar Spring Break 2018 participant
GRID Alternatives’ programs, like Solar Spring Break, have improved the livelihood of thousands of low income families across the nation. Participants in the program can save up to 90% on their electricity bill.
“We were working in a low-income housing community in outskirts of Pasadena for a single mother from Louisiana. She was living by herself and her son had just moved out. Before the project, she was being very sparing with her electricity... she couldn’t actually turn on her AC in the summers because of the electricity bill. When we finally turned that switch and got her energy directly from the sun she was so happy. “I can turn on the AC now!” she said. It was really nice to see her reaction in person.” - Darya Guettler, Solar Spring Break 2018 participant
Kriston Findley of Pittsburgh had solar panels installed on her home through the Solar Spring Break program. Over their lifetimes, these systems will collectively prevent 195 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and generate over $98,000 in energy savings for Kriston and her family. “I’ve been recovering from a back surgery which forced me to retire,” she said, “and my husband relies on oxygen.” With solar now reducing her electricity bill by 90%, she can direct her energy savings toward medical bills and college tuition savings for her son. (GRID Alternatives)
For more success stories click here.
Breakdown of Funding
In order to make this unique and impactful experience accessible to all MIT students, we need your help to raise $12,000 dollars. The funding will go towards providing student financial assistance for transportation, food, and other program expenses. For a breakdown of costs view the video above.
Your contribution is crucial to the success of this program. Every donation brings us one step closer to making Solar Spring Break more accessible to our students and providing underserved communities with free green energy. With your help we can empower the clean energy community!