GRID Alternatives to head up California’s Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes program

GRID Alternatives

GRID Alternatives was selected by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to administer the Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program. The program builds on California’s long-standing and successful Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program, also administered by GRID Alternatives, providing long-term funding to bring solar power to households located in California’s most disadvantaged communities. The program will provide $8.5 million in incentives annually from 2019 through 2030.

Since it was launched in 2009, the SASH program has reduced the cost of going solar for over 8,000 low-income households, resulting in nearly 25 megawatts of residential solar installation. In addition, over 16,500 job training students have received hands-on solar installation experience through the program. The DAC-SASH program will similarly integrate job training opportunities into every project, creating ladders of opportunity for individuals from all backgrounds to access well-paid jobs in California’s solar industry, and ensuring lasting community impact.

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“Through DAC-SASH, more Californians living in disadvantaged communities will see concrete economic and environmental benefits from our transition to clean energy,” said Cathleen Monahan, vice president of program administration with GRID Alternatives. “Through our model as program administrator and implementer, we’re committed to making solar technology accessible to Californians in low-income households while also providing critical job training, employment opportunities, and consumer protections.”

Prompted by Assembly Bill (AB) 327, the Commission approved the new 12-year program to increase the adoption of clean, affordable solar by residential customers living in disadvantaged communities. To qualify for DAC-SASH, customers must meet income qualifications and live in the top 25 percent most disadvantaged communities statewide using the CalEnviroScreen. GRID Alternatives will host an informational webinar in March to collect stakeholder input on DAC-SASH program development. Registration information is forthcoming.

— Solar Builder magazine

Wells Fargo commits $5 million to GRID Alternatives’ Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund

Wells Fargo tribal solar funding

Wells Fargo is committing $5 million over three years to support solar projects in tribal communities across the U.S. The donation to nonprofit GRID Alternatives, a national leader in making solar technology and training accessible to underserved communities, supports the founding of GRID’s new Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund. The fund is an extension of GRID’s National Tribal Program and aims to catalyze the growth of solar energy and expand solar job opportunities on tribal lands.

“Many tribes are looking to renewable energy to address both environmental and economic challenges in their communities,” said Adam Bad Wound, Vice President of Development for GRID Alternatives. “Access to funding is often the biggest barrier to achieving their goals, and we’re excited to be able to partner with even more tribes to move their solar PV projects forward.”

Support for the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund is a significant component of Wells Fargo’s $50 million philanthropic commitment to help address the unique economic, social, and environmental needs of American Indian/Alaska Native communities that was announced last year. Wells Fargo has been a major supporter of GRID’s state- and national-level programming since 2012.

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GRID Alternatives’ national Tribal Program has worked since 2010 to help tribes achieve their renewable energy goals with solar, while training tribal members to enter the solar workforce. GRID has installed nearly 3 MW of solar capacity in partnership with more than 40 tribes to date. The new fund will expand GRID’s work and provide much-needed capital to support the development of new projects around the U.S.

“Our strong relationships in Indian Country and with our Native American customers are a point of great pride at our company,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Wells Fargo. “We are pleased to have such an effective working relationship with GRID Alternatives and to provide the seed funding for its Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund. We sincerely believe that providing no-cost solar and job-training opportunities in tribal communities will address critical needs and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The Spokane Tribe in Wellpinit, Washington, will be the first to benefit from the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund, with a grant that will unlock third-party investment capital and $1 million in matching funds from the Department of Energy for a 637 kilowatt solar project. When complete, the project will provide clean power and reduced energy bills for 14 tribal buildings, including elder housing, community facilities and tribal administrative offices.

“After a near disaster during the 2016 Cayuse Mountain Fire, the Tribe now places a premium on energy self-sufficiency,” said Tim Horan, Executive Director of the Spokane Indian Housing Authority. “We expect solar to play a big role in helping us achieve this, and the grant from the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund was the last piece of the puzzle to make our first big project happen. We’re grateful to Wells Fargo and GRID Alternatives.”

— Solar Builder magazine

New Belgium Brewing donates $100,000 to GRID Alternatives

new belgium brewing

New Belgium Brewing is donating $100,000 to GRID Alternatives to support its mission to make solar technology accessible to low-income communities, while providing pathways to clean energy jobs. New Belgium has supported GRID Alternatives since 2015 and this latest up-front charitable contribution will be distributed equally ($50,000 each) to the GRID Bay Area and GRID Mid-Atlantic regional offices for completion of regional solar installation projects in underserved communities and training programs in 2018.

“At New Belgium we know renewable energies, like wind and solar, are essential components of a sustainable climate” said New Belgium Assitant Director of Sustainability, Katie Wallace. “GRID Alternatives doubles the benefit by helping in communities where the cost of implementing solar may be out of the typical household’s reach.”

New Belgium’s donation will help GRID Bay Area serve up to 32 families in the Atchison Village neighborhood in Richmond, CA. For GRID Mid-Atlantic, the funds will be used for the highest need projects in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas. The Atchison Village installation will be celebrated with a Solarthon event on June 9.

Once GRID installs solar, residents save up to 90 percent on electricity bills. GRID also provides job training and and hands-on installation experience to residents of disadvantaged communities, many of whom enter a career track and gain employment at solar companies.

“We all deserve to live in places that optimize environmental, economic, and social well-being; places that will be resilient to the human impacts of climate change,” continued Wallace. “GRID makes this possible with their transformative work and New Belgium is proud to offer our support.”

To date, New Belgium has donated over $16 million to worthy organizations throughout the country as part of its philanthropic giving and grants program.

— Solar Builder magazine

GRID Alternatives rebrands solar installation program Energy for All

GRID alternatives at work

GRID Alternatives, a national leader in making clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income communities and communities of color, announced the rebranding of its solar installation program. The new Energy for All Program will continue to help low-income households, multifamily housing providers and utility partners across the country reduce electricity costs and generate community wealth with clean, renewable solar energy.

The Energy for All name is a reflection of GRID’s commitment to a transition to clean, renewable energy that includes and benefits everyone. Since 2004, GRID Alternatives has installed more than 43 megawatts of solar power serving over 11,000 low-income households, representing $320 million in lifetime energy cost savings. Together these systems will prevent 850,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

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“We believe that access to clean, affordable energy is a basic human right,” said Erica Mackie, CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives. “The Energy for All brand helps us more clearly communicate that value in the communities we serve.”

GRID Alternatives’ other programs include solar job training, a national Tribal Program that helps Native American communities across the U.S. meet their renewable energy and economic development goals, and an International Program that addresses a critical energy access gap in rural communities in Nicaragua, Mexico and Nepal. In addition, GRID Alternatives is a leading voice in low-income solar policy, helping state and local governments design and implement effective low-income solar policies and programs.

— Solar Builder magazine

GRID Alternatives installs its 10,000th solar system for low-income communities

GRID alternatives

GRID Alternatives, a national leader in making clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income communities and communities of color,  has installed its 10,000th solar electric system. The 42 MW of clean power represent a distributed generation power plant that is saving families over $300 million in lifetime energy costs and preventing 850,000 tons of carbon emissions.

“In reaching this milestone, we are showing that with the right investments and the right policies, we can create equitable energy solutions on a large scale,” said GRID Alternatives CEO and co-founder Erica Mackie.

GRID Alternatives has been installing solar power and providing job training in low-income communities in California since 2004, and now serves Colorado, the Mid-Atlantic region, and tribal communities nationwide. Through its international program, the organization also addresses energy access gaps in Nicaragua, Nepal and Mexico.

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In 2015, GRID Alternatives partnered with Grand Valley Power in Colorado on the nation’s first utility-owned low-income community solar array, and has continued to pioneer new community solar models to expand access and reduce energy costs. The following year, GRID launched its multifamily program to help catalyze the market for solar on multifamily affordable housing. Drawing on its expertise in leading California’s Single-family Affordable Solar Homes program, the nation’s first low-income solar incentive program, GRID has also helped state and local governments and other stakeholders across the country design and deploy low-income solar policies and programs serving hundreds of thousands of residents.

“The benefits of these policies go beyond the energy cost savings of solar to the healthier air, community resiliency, and economic opportunities that clean energy can bring,” said Ms. Mackie. “Communities of color and low-income communities have faced the worst of the impacts of polluting power plants, giving them the highest claim to renewable energy access. We’re committed to continue working toward a transition to clean energy that includes and benefits everyone.”

GRID Alternatives expects to install more than 1900 systems totaling 15 MW of clean power in 2018 alone, and provide hands-on solar installation experience to more than 4,000 people through its SolarCorps Fellowships, installation training programs, and volunteerism.

— Solar Builder magazine