Nonprofit gives 500th family free solar panels

SAN DIEGO - Solar panels went up on Carolyn Buchanan's home in southeast San Diego on Wednesday and she didn't pay a dime.

Buchanan is a beneficiary of GRID Alternatives San Diego, a nonprofit that installs solar electric systems for low income families.

"They're expensive solar panels even though you save," she said.

Her monthly bill runs about $130. Now retired, the savings will make a big difference in her life.

"With gas going up and food going up, so it's not I'm going to have extra money. It's just going to make things a little easier," Buchanan said.

Paul Cleary said the nonprofit is funded through grants, donations and sponsorships. Buchanan received the 500th installation the nonprofit has rewarded in five years—saving all the families a total of $320,000.

For more information about GRID Alternatives, visit

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