Mission and History

Volunteers on the roof installing solar.
GRID Alternatives envisions a rapid, equitable transition to a world powered by renewable energy that benefits everyone. Our mission is to build community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy.

GRID was founded during the 2001 California energy crisis by Erica Mackie, P.E., and Tim Sears, P.E., two engineering professionals who were implementing large-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for the private sector. The idea that drove them was simple: free, clean electricity from the sun should be available to everyone. Through GRID Alternatives, they developed a model to make solar PV technology practical and accessible for low-income communities, while providing pathways to clean energy jobs.

GRID completed its first single-family installation for the Cubas family of San Francisco in 2004. In 2008, GRID was selected by the California Public Utilities Commission to serve as the statewide program manager for its groundbreaking Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) incentive program, prompting a expansion across California.

Today, GRID is a leading voice in low-income solar policy and the nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer, serving families throughout California, Colorado, the Mid-Atlantic region, and tribal communities nationwide. Our Energy For All Program (formerly Solar Affordable Housing Program) offers single-family, multifamily and community solar installation services, project development and technical assistance, and we offer multiple levels of workforce development and service learning opportunities, from volunteerism to in-depth solar training and paid internships. In addition, GRID’s international program partners with communities in Nicaragua, Nepal and Mexico to address their energy access issues.