Non-profit solar developer, GRID Alternatives announced that the Wells Fargo Foundation will provide a four-year, $2 million grant to install solar in low-income communities. GRID will use the funds to continue development of its low-income solar business models, as well as expand its programs to new regions of the country.
“Wells Fargo has been a committed philanthropic supporter of GRID, and its previous grants have allowed us to extend solar’s economic and environmental benefits to thousands of Americans,” said Erica Mackie, CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives. “This renewed support will help us bring clean energy access to new markets, catalyze promising low-income solar innovations, and educate and inspire a new generation of clean energy leaders that reflect the diversity of our communities.”
The grant will underwrite the expansion of GRID’s Solar Spring Break program which connects college students seeking a career in the solar industry with hands-on experience installing solar arrays in low-income communities during time off from school. Last year, 100 students from 10 colleges and universities installed solar on 17 low-income homes in Colorado and California in 2016.
The grant also will provide funds to expand the Troops to Solar Initiative they created in 2015. The program has provided 1,000 veterans and active service members with solar workforce training over the last three years. The initiative is part of a national effort led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to employ 50,000 veterans in the solar industry by 2020.
“GRID Alternatives is focused on ensuring the benefits of solar energy are realized by all communities—a model we believe addresses critical environmental and social issues that are important to Wells Fargo,” said Mary Wenzel, Head of Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo. “In addition to making solar energy available to low-income communities, GRID’s workforce development programs have trained thousands of veterans and other individuals to take advantage of employment opportunities in the rapidly expanding green economy.”
Commitments to providing low-income communities with renewable energy options continue to grow throughout the US. For instance, in Waltham, VT, the Clean Energy Group cut the ribbon on a new project in October 2016 that transformed an old mobile home park into a net-zero energy, low-income housing development. Each of the 14 homes in the park is outfitted with a 6-kilowatt rooftop solar array and 6-kilowatt Sonnet energy storage systems.Tweet