Sempra Energy headquarters
Sempra Energy headquarters in downtown San Diego. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The San Diego-based Sempra Foundation Wednesday announced a contribution of more than $200,000 to Oakland-based nonprofit GRID Alternatives to install five solar projects on community buildings and off-grid solar projects benefiting 40 families in Mexico.

The projects are intended to help improve energy access for vulnerable communities with environmental justice concerns in the country. Last month, GRID Alternatives completed work on the first solar project located at a health center in Tijuana.

“We believe that access to resilient, affordable and clean energy is critical to advancing a just and prosperous world,” said Lisa Alexander, director and board chair of Sempra Foundation. “Energy access is crucial to health, economic growth and prosperity, and we are proud to support a portfolio of projects that are expected to result in affordable, cleaner energy for those in need.”

The project in Mexico is part of a broader commitment by Sempra Foundation “to help improve lives and build stronger, more resilient communities by expanding energy access,” a statement from the foundation read.

Sempra Foundation and GRID Alternatives identified seven communities and organizations in northern Baja California, Mexico, in need of energy assistance. The locations include two orphanages, two Indigenous residential communities, a health center, a migrant center and a hospice serving individuals experiencing homelessness and living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

“We are excited to work with Sempra Foundation on these important solar projects to help improve access to reliable electricity and reduce the burden of energy costs for organizations that are doing critical work in Mexico,” said Jenean Smith, senior director of international programs for GRID Alternatives. “We are also providing hands-on training for local students pursuing clean energy careers, as pandemic safety protocols allow.”

According to the foundation statement, more than 10 million Mexican residents live without access to reliable electricity. The solar installations are expected to result in a total of 68 kW of grid-tied solar capacity installed at the locations in Mexico, an estimated 1,930 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided and solar installation training for 60 local renewable energy students — at least half of them women.

Founded by Sempra Energy — parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric — in 2007, Sempra Foundation matches the employee contributions of time and money of the 19,000 employees who work for Sempra and its operating companies.

–City News Service