Mission and History

Volunteers on the roof installing solar.
GRID Alternatives vision is a transition to clean, renewable energy that includes everyone. Our mission is to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities.

GRID Alternatives 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 vision 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 that need the savings and jobs the most, yet have the least access. By taking a broader approach to solar as not just an environmental good but also a real-world solution to a real-world economic problem in these communities, GRID Alternatives is helping to set the stage for large-scale solar adoption nationwide.

In 2008, GRID Alternatives was selected by the California Public Utilities Commission to serve as the statewide program manager for its $162 million Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) incentive program, the country's first dedicated solar rebate for low-income families. Thousands of California homeowners have gone solar through GRID Alternatives under this groundbreaking initiative in partnership with Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric, and we have integrated workforce development into every project. 

In 2012, GRID Alternatives launched a national expansion with support from Wells Fargo. We began serving Colorado in 2012, and the Mid-Atlantic regional in 2014. GRID Alternatives started an International Program in 2014 through the acquisition of Power to the People, as well as a program to serve Tribal communities across the nation. 

Our Impact