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GRID Alternatives Hosts Fifth Annual Bay Area SOLARTHON Fundraiser and Solar Block Party Celebration PG&E, CPUC, local companies and others help install solar electric systems for nine West Oakland families

Release Date: July 31, 2010
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

OAKLAND, Calif. – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and other local companies are joining GRID Alternatives' annual Solarthon Solar Installation Block Party and Fundraiser on Saturday, July 31, to celebrate the installation of solar electric systems on nine West Oakland homes owned by low-income families.

More than 200 community and corporate volunteers, low-income job trainees and homeowners will install nine solar electric systems in one day, bringing much needed savings and job training to West Oakland, while raising money to bring renewable energy to more communities in need throughout the Bay Area. Event sponsors include PG&E, Salesforce.com, Google, Sungevity, CleanTechies.com, Ordinary People, IBEW Local 595, Young Professionals in Energy, First Solar, and Burnham Energy.

"Thanks to the support of partners like PG&E, GRID Alternatives has built a national model for bringing the benefits of renewable energy to the communities that need it most," said Erica Mackie, Executive Director and Co-Founder of GRID Alternatives. "Solarthon is a great example of what we can accomplish when we all come together and roll up our sleeves to address economic and environmental sustainability."

At the Solarthon, GRID Alternatives and PG&E will announce an enhanced and expanded partnership to bring 30 additional low-income solar installations and job training opportunities to targeted Northern and Central California communities that have been particularly hard hit by the current recession. These additional solar installations and job training opportunities are made possible by a $130,000 grant from PG&E.

"We are proud to expand our long-standing partnership with GRID Alternatives to help bring the power of solar electricity and energy efficiency to homeowners in need," said Steve Malnight, vice president of integrated demand side management at PG&E, who attended the celebration. "Our support of GRID Alternatives is one of the ways that PG&E actively participates in the development of a skilled workforce for tomorrow while continuing to support the communities we serve."

This year marks the fifth consecutive year that PG&E has partnered with GRID Alternatives. Since 2005, PG&E has granted a total of more than $280,000 to fund vital training and solar installations, while PG&E employees, retirees, and their families and friends have contributed over 1,500 volunteer hours.

The solar electric systems will generate over 1 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable power over their life spans, providing $180,000 worth of energy for low-income families while eliminating over 700 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The projects are supported in large part through the SASH (Single-family Affordable Solar Homes) incentive program, a ratepayer-funded rebate under the auspices of the CPUC and part of the statewide California Solar Initiative. SASH, which also integrates workforce development, is the country's first solar incentive program dedicated specifically to low-income families.

About GRID Alternatives
GRID Alternatives trains and leads teams of volunteers and job trainees to install solar electric systems for low-income families throughout California. Based in Oakland, GRID Alternatives has installed over 500 solar electric systems, totaling over 1 megawatt, since 2004. These systems will produce over $10 million worth of power while eliminating over 40,000 tons of carbon emissions. GRID Alternatives has also trained 5,000 community members on the theory and practice of solar installation. For more info visit http://www.gridalternatives.org/

About Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.

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