GRID Alternatives Meets Obama’s Challenge with Commitment for 100 MW of Solar Power for Low-Income Families by 2024


GRID Alternatives joins President Obama and hundreds of other organizations in making major new commitments to deploy renewable energy. The nonprofit says it will help install 100 MW of solar power on affordable single-family and multifamily homes across the country by 2024, and announces a new Tribal Solar Initiative.

GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest non-profit solar installer, today joined President Obama and over 300 other companies, organizations, and public agencies in making major new commitments to deploy renewable energy.

For more on President Obama’s announcements today, see this replay and a Climate Progress rundown.


President Obama made a strong statement today about the value of solar power to the U.S., citing the American jobs that solar power creates and the boost to the economy that it brings.


What he didn’t get into is how it can help low-income communities. That’s where GRID Alternatives comes in. The nonprofit has brought the benefits of solar power to over 4000 of the American families who need them the most.


Now, in support of the Obama administration’s national renewable energy goals, GRID Alternatives is committing to help install 100 MW of solar power on affordable single-family and multifamily homes across the country by 2024. As part of this effort, GRID Alternatives is also announcing a new Tribal Solar Initiative to ensure that American Indian tribes across the U.S. have access to the benefits of solar power.


“We’re thrilled to see the President taking so much leadership around solar deployment,” said Erica Mackie, CEO and Co-founder of GRID Alternatives, who participated in today’s presidential announcement in Mountain View. “We will continue to work with the administration to ensure that our most economically vulnerable and underserved communities are included in our nation’s transition to clean energy.”


GRID Alternatives has been installing solar power and providing job training in low-income communities in California since 2004. The organization now serves Colorado and the New York tri-state area as well. GRID Alternatives manages California’s SASH program, the single-family component of the state’s groundbreaking $324 million low-income solar program.


While a wide range of people and companies, from businesses like Walmart to middle-class American homeowners, can save money with solar energy, for low-income families the savings are especially significant. For these families, electricity is a larger percentage of their budget. And the savings that solar brings them are especially meaningful.


For people like Floricel and Arturo Martinez, California Central Valley farmworkers who went solar with GRID Alternatives in 2012, the energy cost savings translate to money they can spend on basic necessities like food and school supplies for their children. For the Herrera-Vallejo family in Roseville, CA, solar means affordable electricity to power their child’s life-sustaining medical equipment. For Joyln Bright in New Jersey, solar means help getting back on track after Superstorm Sandy. These are families that, without support from both the private and public sectors, would not be able to benefit from solar technology.


President Obama called out the strong job growth in the solar industry — of jobs that can’t be outsourced. GRID Alternatives is active in this area, providing a “classroom on the roof” for solar job trainees across the country. The organization works with more than 70 community colleges and job training programs, including the SunShot Solar Installer Training Network highlighted by the President today, helping trainees get the real-word experience they need to translate training into jobs. And GRID Alternatives partners with AmeriCorps to provide service learning opportunities that help bring young people into renewable energy careers.


“Today’s solar commitments mean more jobs, many of them in installation, which can’t be outsourced,” said Mackie. “GRID Alternatives is helping provide a pipeline of trained installers for the rapidly growing solar industry and a pathway to good jobs for people who need them most.”