No-Cost Solar for Three Tribal Families

The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Tribe received funding from the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund (TSAF) and partnered with GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE) to provide solar for three single family homes. The tribal community is located in Thermal, California near the Salton Sea, in a very remote region nestled within the Coachella Valley in Riverside County. Safe reliable clean power and transportation is always a focus for the Tribal leadership due to extreme weather conditions, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees during the summer and throughout most of the year. 

GRID IE installed a total of 17.5 kW DC of solar on the three homes for the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Single Family Solar Project grant, which is estimated to save the families over $130,00 in energy cost savings over the PV systems’ lifetime. The Tribe expressed excitement for this TSAF Program funding, which will bring clean solar energy and help reduce and stabilize the high energy bills for these low-income tribal members. 

“The GRID IE solar systems installed for these families will provide needed savings for them and will help reduce their high electric bills,” said Tribal Vice Chairman, Joseph Mirelez. 

The tribal training cost was offset through a partnership with the Tribes Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) workforce training program. However, due to COVID-19, GRID IE offered virtual training in lieu of hands-on job training. GRID IE also partnered with California Indian Manpower Consortium Inc. (CMIC) who provides jobs to tribal members. In addition, the Tribe is participating in a Clean Vehicle Assistance Program and sharing information with Tribal members about clean electric vehicles and other grant programs to assist with purchasing clean cars.

GRID’s Tribal Program​ helps tribal communities become self-sustaining by providing resources to assist with their clean energy goals. For more information about GRID Alternatives Inland Empire, visit or call 951-272-GRID (4743).