GRID Alternatives

Oakland, CA   |  www.gridalternatives.org

Mission

Our mission is to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. We bring together community partners, volunteers and job trainees to implement solar power and energy efficiency for low-income families, providing energy cost savings, valuable hands-on experience, and a source of clean, local energy that benefits us all.

Ruling year info

2014

Co-Founder and CEO

Ms. Erica Mackie

Co-Founder and CFO/COO

Mr. Tim Sears

Main address

1171 Ocean Avenue Suite 200

Oakland, CA 94608 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

26-0043353

NTEE code info

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

For generations, fossil fuel power has disproportionately impacted the health and well-being of low-income communities, particularly communities of color and indigenous communities. The urgency of global climate change requires engaging all communities in solutions that mitigate climate impacts while building a more equitable world. Populations most impacted by pollution, climate change and economic inequality should be among the first to benefit from investments in climate adaptation. Addressing climate change demands a rapid transition to a renewable energy-based economy nationally, which in turn requires building up a large-scale workforce with the capacity to execute this transition. There is a clear need to develop community-led partnerships with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and private sector businesses to create solutions to ameliorate the rapidly degrading climate and provide a just transition to renewable energy.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Energy for All Solar Program

The nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer, GRID develops and implements solar projects that serve low-income households and communities. Through our unique, people-first model, we are putting money back into families’ pockets, reducing the energy cost burden for housing providers, and jumpstarting solar careers. We partner with affordable housing organizations, job training groups, government agencies, municipalities, utilities, tribes and local communities to make solar a win for everyone. Key program areas include:

Single-Family Solar: GRID reduces household electricity costs by up to 90% by providing no-cost solar systems to homeowners that qualify as low income. Each installation is also an opportunity for community members and job trainees to get hands-on experience with solar power. In California, GRID Alternatives is a statewide program administrator for the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program and the solar portion of the Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP).

Multi-Family Solar: Solar can reduce and stabilize energy costs for affordable housing providers, and reduce bills for their tenants. GRID is helping catalyze this sector by providing no-cost technical assistance and low-cost design and installation services for affordable housing owners and developers who provide housing and vital services to low-income renters. Our holistic model includes energy efficiency partnerships, community education and engagement, and job training opportunities for residents.

Community Solar: Community solar provides access to cost-saving solar power regardless of roof condition or home-ownership status. GRID Alternatives partners with cooperative, municipal and investor-owned utilities and other community groups to develop shared solar arrays that benefit their highest energy burdened customers, including individual subscribers and affordable housing off-takers.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Champions of Change for Solar Deployment 2014

White House

Green California Leadership Award 2014

Green California

Clean Energy and Empowerment Award 2013

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

External assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2019)

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

GRID Alternatives was founded in 2004 with a simple yet audacious vision: a transition to clean, renewable energy that includes everyone. GRID is advancing a clean energy future by ensuring communities and families who are usually left out of the conversation are leading the way. GRID Alternatives strives to increase equitable access to renewable energy in low-income communities and communities of color, while making meaningful contributions to climate change mitigation. By prioritizing equity as a driver for the growth of renewable energy, we can build a just energy system that gives all communities the opportunity to participate not just as consumers but as producers and owners. We can enable low-income families to invest in their own future rather than in rising and volatile energy bills, create good career opportunities that are localized for the greatest impact, and invest in communities to build shared wealth. GRID’s vision of a successful transition to clean energy that includes everyone will only be achieved within a framework of racial, economic and environmental justice. Our goal is to advance an equity agenda both within our organization and in the renewable energy industry and policy arenas by examining and addressing systemic inequities, seeking out and amplifying the voices of frontline communities, and expanding access to industry leadership opportunities

Headquartered in Oakland, CA we have eight affiliate offices across California, Colorado, and Mid-Atlantic region. Our International Program works in Nicaragua, Nepal and Mexico, andourTribal Program partners with Native Nations across the U.S. GRID develops and implements solar projects that serve low-income households and communities. Through our unique, people-first model, we are putting money back into families’ pockets, reducing the energy cost burden for housing providers, and jumpstarting solar careers. We partner with affordable housing organizations, job training groups, government agencies, municipalities, utilities and local communities to make solar a win for everyone. Key program areas include:
*No-cost solar and storage installations for households qualifying as low-income
*Hands-on solar training to connect people to clean energy jobs
*Technical assistance and solar installation for multifamily affordable housing providers
*Community/shared solar project development and implementation
*Low-income solar policy advocacy and program design and implementation
*Energy access projects internationally and in U.S. tribal communities
*Connecting low-income communities with electric vehicle programs
*Piloting solar-plus-storage initiatives

We focus on creating career pathways for underrepresented folks in renewable energy: women, people of color, tribal members and individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. We provide on the job training, paid internships through our SolarCorps program for emerging renewable energy leaders. GRID is a leading voice for renewable energy access, driving equitable renewable energy policies at the state and local levels and helping to design and implement low-income solar programs. Our policy efforts take place at the regional, state, and federal levels, and we are currently working on policy shifts in Illinois, Washington, D.C., Colorado, Washington State, Maryland, New Mexico, Missouri, and Georgia and California ,where we administer the state’s low-income solar incentive programs on single-family and multi-family housing. We advance our equity agenda both within our organization and in the renewable energy industry and policy arenas by examining and addressing systemic inequities, seeking out and amplifying the voices of frontline communities, and expanding access to industry leadership opportunities.

For over a decade, GRID Alternatives has been on the leading edge of creating equitable access to renewable energy technology. Our work has a catalytic effect on the market for solar technology and drives economic benefit in disadvantaged communities through the clean energy economy. We have a proven track-record of building and leveraging relationships, funding and policy to successfully create direct, immediate and long-term cost-savings for low-income residents of affordable housing. GRID Alternatives has developed a strong staff and board of directors who are expert in implementing our programs.
GRID is uniquely suited to deliver success in new integrated technology initiatives. GRID has a track-record of clean technology innovation in underserved communities. In Colorado, we developed the first dedicated low-income community solar arrays and the largest -- a 2MW solar project with Denver Housing Authority and Colorado Energy Office. GRID completed a 90 kW solar microgrid to provide battery-backed, resilient power for Chemeheuvi Tribe's community center in an effort to save lives during frequent power outages. GRID has completed work on the first net-zero energy affordable multifamily housing community for farmworkers in Northern California; this project received the prestigious United Nations World Habitat award. Strategic innovations help GRID provide solutions to critical needs today, while building self-sufficiency and resiliency to changing climate. Our leader, Erica Mackie co-founded GRID and has received numerous awards for her leadership including the CA Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, the New Leaders Council Energy Leadership Award, the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, the US Green Building Council’s Green Building Super Hero Award and the Clean Energy and Empowerment Award from C3E. Ms. Mackie holds two bachelor’s degrees from Southern Illinois University, one in Mechanical Engineering and the other in Physics. Tim Sears co-founded GRID. In 2014 he was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for Solar Key Staff . Tim is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and before. Tim is also certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) as a Certified Solar PV Installer. Stan Greshner directed the country’s first low-income solar incentive program (California’s SASH Program), and works closely with policy makers, regulators, utilities, solar companies, and community organizations. Stan holds a bachelor’s degree in bio-mechanical engineering from Marquette University, and a master’s degree in philosophy and public policy from American University. Stan also has a professional background in mechanical engineering, contract manufacturing, and international development programming.

.To date, GRID has served 16,947 households, 136 community facilities (Multifamily affordable housing buildings, nonprofits and other service providers) resulting in $434,502,369 of lifetime savings. Our solar PV projects have generated 2,013,019,551 Kilowatt Hours, which has prevented 1,095,409 tons of greenhouse gas, the equivalent to take 209,652 cars off the road. We have engaged 32,378 people in hands-on training, and have spent 248,054 hours on job training. We are so pleased to have over 304 job training partners including schools, colleges, vocational programs, and community based organizations.

To date, GRID has partnered with community advocates to lead or influence more than 30 legislative bills, regulatory proceedings and program initiatives that represent more than $1.2 billion in public investments, which will deploy nearly 1 Gigawatt of solar power for the benefit of low-income households. GRID has partnered with over 45 Native American tribes across the U.S. to support them in meeting their renewable energy goals. In 2018 , GRID was selected to administer streamlined access to clean transportation incentives for income-qualified consumers across California. In 2019, GRID was awarded State of California grants to pilot the first two low-income community solar projects for the State

Financials

GRID Alternatives
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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GRID Alternatives

Board of directors
as of 5/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Joseph Karp

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/27/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data