GRID volunteer creates climate-forward banking solutions

Four years ago, Ravi Mikkelsen stepped foot on a GRID solar installation project for the very first time. He had worked in the energy and climate industries throughout his career, but like many GRID volunteers, it was his first time helping to install a system.

“One of the most amazing things with GRID was that two people that were there volunteering with me had worked in the solar industry and had designed huge arrays of solar systems, but had never touched a panel, or even handled tools before,” said Ravi.

After devoting much of his career to fighting climate change, Ravi realized that he wanted his banking processes to reflect his personal values and support his climate-forward mentality that first drove him to volunteer with GRID. “I want my money to be in harmony and support what I am doing on a daily basis.”

Together with his co-founder Pete Hellwig, he formed Atmos Financial, a climate fintech that offers FDIC-insured savings accounts engineered to reverse the climate crisis. Atmos’ goal is to provide permanent positive environmental and societal impact by shifting money away from activities that directly harm our planet and towards those that help preserve it. 

Ravi hopes that his bank sets an example for others in the industry, and that lending for renewable energy and electrification is not only possible, but actually makes a significant impact towards today’s climate crisis. “Just like the atmosphere covers the globe — we want Atmos to serve people all over the world, and for more than just clean energy, too.”

Atmos clients also have the opportunity to share a portion of their savings rates to various nonprofits, which Ravi hopes will generate support for organizations like GRID that are doing important work in their communities. Clients can also track the positive impact of their Atmos savings account, measured in tons of carbon dioxide saved from the atmosphere. Learn more about Atmos here, and if you choose to open an account through that link, Atmos will make a donation of $5 to GRID and if you do so between now and March 17th, Atmos will also seed your account with $5.

Ravi looks forward to the day when Atmos can sponsor a GRID solar installation, and he can bring a team of teammates to get hands-on with solar like he once did, bringing his story full-circle. “We have a choice of what type of world we want to live in. By choosing where we bank, we decide what gets built in the world.”

During the pandemic, GRID has adjusted our typical on-the-roof corporate sponsorship builds to be safe. Our partners have found unique ways to continue to support our work virtually. 

  • Schneider sponsored Colorado’s first IBT 200 cohort
  • US Bank sponsored an all-women's IBT 200 cohort in North Valley
  • US Bank employees completed one-on-one mentorship sessions with a Los Angeles training cohort
  • Bank of America sponsored two IBT 200 cohorts in Central Valley and Colorado
  • Sunrun used 2 workdays to cover the funding gap for the Solar for Solano County Veterans project in BA in partnership with Habitat for Humanity
  • Sunrun and Tesla both repurposed workdays to become top Interconnection sponsors