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GRID Alternatives

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Energy Resources Conservation & Development, Environment, Home Improvement & Repairs, Homeless & Housing

Mission: We believe making energy choices that are good for the environment can go hand-in-hand with improving the lives of those living in low-income communities. GRID Alternatives works collaboratively with communities and local organizations to identify specific needs and to develop renewable energy solutions that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

Results: Helped over 2,500 families to-date Saved nearly $70 in energy costs for these families Prevented 215,000 Tons C02 Trained nearly 11,000 volunteers More: http://www.gridalternatives.org/impact-numbers

Geographic areas served: California state-wide, Colorado (2013) http://www.gridalternatives.org/regional-offices-map

Programs: Provided alternative renewable energy for low-invome residents through consultation and installation of renewable solar electrical systems. In-kind services donated to grid alternatives in 2013 included legal counsel (primarily around affiliation, human resources, and project financing) and skilled solar installation assistance through grid alternative's volunteer team leader program.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

I LOVE this organization!!! They install solar panels for low-income homeowners with the help of volunteers and job trainees. This provides triple benefit: (1) Helping the environment by reducing greenhouse gases (2) Helping low-income homeowners by giving access to renewable energy to those who are often most impacted by pollution, (3) Helping people interested in the solar industry acquire skills and thus train them for future jobs. This organization has installations throughout the state of California. I volunteered with the Fresno office (Central Valley), the staff was wonderful, patient, and knowledgeable. Very diverse and fun bunch of volunteers, I enjoy every day installing with GRID Alternatives and always look forward to the next. I am helping my community and at the same time helping myself.


Board Member

Rating: 5

GRID Alternatives trains and leads teams of volunteers to install solar electric systems for low-income homeowners. Time, talent and resources provided to the organization are leveraged many times - and the work is fun! GRID Alternatives was founded during the 2001 California energy crisis by two passionate engineering professionals, Erica Mackie, and Tim Sears. They wanted to develop a model to make solar technology practical for low-income communities, where households are most adversely affected by high energy costs and where polluting fossil-fuel power plants are frequently located. Since 2004, GRID has installed 165 solar electric systems for low-income families throughout Northern and Southern California. These systems reduce each family’s electric bills by approximately 75%, which translates to a total of over $2.65 million in energy cost savings over the systems’ projected life spans. They will also prevent roughly 8,255 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years, the equivalent of planting 11,522 trees.