Tribal Program

GRID Alternatives helps tribal communities achieve their clean energy goals while providing financial savings and job training opportunities to improve their members' quality of life.

About the Tribal Program

Since 2010, GRID Alternatives has partnered with over 30 Native American Tribes and 290 Native American trainees to install solar electric systems for more than 425 tribal member families. These systems are helping to provide needed savings and employment opportunities to tribal communities, which face some of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the United States.

GRID was honored for our work with Tribal communities in 2013 by the U.S. EPA Region 9, and we continue to expand our partnerships with tribal communities across the U.S. We formally launched our Tribal program in 2014, and opened our first Tribal satellite office to serve families in the North Coast region of California. In 2015, GRID held its first Tribal Solarthon where we installed 8 systems with 4 tribes across the country over a two week span, to raise awareness on the potential of solar PV and tribes. Also in 2015, we completed 126 solar projects in Tribal communities and spent over 600 hours on training 43 Native Americans.


Current and Future Work

We expect to complete over 100 solar projects in 2016, including 56 installations with the Bishop Paiute Tribe, while providing hands-on job training experience and hiring tribal members through our Sub-Contractor Partnership Program. We will also be installing ten projects with the Rosebud Sioux Housing Authority in South Dakota, and six with the Chippewa Cree Tribe on the Rocky Boy Reservation in Montana. In addtion, in the spring of 2016, three off-grid systems were refurbised: two in the Bird Springs chapter of the Navajo Nation, and one at Los Coyotes, helping three families gain access to electricity once again. Click here to read more about these projects

GRID Alternatives’ Tribal Program is also partnering with Tribal Colleges throughout the country to provide students with hands-on training to supplement their solar curriculum and exploring opportunities for energy efficiency combined with solar to maximize impact and cost savings.

To learn more about our tribal program or to partner with us, please contact Tim Willink, Director of Tribal Programs, at 303-968-1633 or tribal@gridalternatives.org.


Benefits of Solar Partnership

  • Savings of 75-90% on electricity costs for families
  • Clean, renewable energy whose source is non-imposing on land
  • Community participation and green jobs training
  • Employment opportunities through GRID subcontractors (California)
  • Turnkey model that includes outreach, education,  project management and installation services and industry-standard warranties
  • Leveraging of corporate, Federal and state solar funding

Positioned for Success

GRID Alternatives brings together all of the elements for successful solar projects in tribal communities. We have:

  • 10 regional offices across the U.S.
  • Dedicated Tribal program staff
  • A successful, replicable model
  • Extensive experience working with CA tribes and developing flexible procedures for their unique structures
  • Established partnerships with job training organizations, community groups, energy efficiency providers, and solar subcontractors to create a comprehensive low-income solar program.
  • Established relationships with foundations, corporate philanthropists, and government agencies that provide funding for solar projects.

Solar Project Financing

GRID finances solar projects with a mix of state and Federal incentives, grants, solar rebates, homeowner contributions, and fundraising. We work with our Tribal and agency partners to:

Identify Independent Funding Sources:

  • Short-term, project-specific funding including roofing issues and project costs
  • Longer-term funding to support larger scale solar deployment in Tribal communities

Incorporate solar funding requests into other Tribal funding/grant requests, related to:

  • Green jobs training/Workforce development
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy

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