Announcing the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund!

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August 28, 2018

Our national Tribal Program has worked since 2010 to help tribes achieve their renewable energy goals with solar, and today we’re thrilled to announce the expansion of that work with our new Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund! Thanks to an initial $5 million philanthropic commitment from Wells Fargo, this new fund will help catalyze the growth of solar energy and expand solar job opportunities on tribal lands across the nation.

“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. “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.

“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,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Wells Fargo. “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.”

GRID has previously installed solar on five Spokane Housing Authority buildings, and residents are reporting electricity bills as low as $8/month.
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.

“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.”

We’re excited to break ground on the Spokane project, dubbed “Children of the Sun Solar Initiative,” early next year. 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.

To learn more about the Fund visit www.tribalsolar.org.