Our Solana Beach Eco Rotary Club decision to support GRID Alternatives is based on our common goals to improve the lives and health of low-income families.
GRID Alternatives was founded in 2001 to implement large-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for the private sector. Their vision is a transition to clean, renewable energy that includes everyone and their mission is to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to under served communities. They've 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 adoption nationwide.
In 2008, GRID Alternatives was selected by the California Public Utilities Commission to serve as the statewide program manager for it Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) incentive program, the countries first dedicated solar rebate for low-income families. Thousands of California homeowners have gone solar through GRID Alternatives under this groundbreaking initiative in partnership PG&E,SCE and SDG&E, and they have integrated workforce development into every project.
In 2012, GRID Alternatives launched a national expansion with support from Wells Fargo, they began serving Colorado in 2012 and the Mid-Atlantic region is 2014. Also in 2014 they started the International Program through the acquisition of Power to the People, as well as a program to serve Tribal communities across the nation. They address a critical energy access gap in communities in Nicaragua, Nepal and Mexico by bringing solar power to schools, health clinics, homes, farms, orphanages, and small businesses. The solar systems they install, with local and volunteer support, provides residents with basic services, removes obstacles to sustainable growth, and creates economic opportunities for families and communities by putting their needs first and engaging residents in the process from start to finish so the systems stay in productive use for the long term. GRID provides training before, during and after a solar project as well as an annual conference in Nicaragua.
The Solar Energy System: GRID designs and installs photovoltaic systems that deliver clean, reliable energy to areas that lack access to the electrical grid or cannot afford it. The stand-alone and micro-grid systems provide residents with enough energy to power appliances that can increase local income generation, helping to maintain the systems over time and reduce poverty. GRIDS's solar systems enable the use of energy efficient lighting, cell phone charging, water pumping, refrigeration, access to information and many small electrical appliances for home or business use.
The Solar Lighting System provides families with reliable safe lighting through high-quality affordable portable solar lamps. Solar lamps significantly decrease household spending thus saving money for items like food, school uniforms and medicine. Also reduce the risk of injury, respiratory illness and eyesight degradation from candlelight.
GRID shares it's best practices in energy access work with practitioners, researchers, governments and funding agencies through individual consultation, papers, conferences and project participation opportunities. ENERGY ACCESS FORUM, a volunteer-driven initiative of GRID Alternatives' International program, hosts in person events and webinars that create forums for practitioners, academics and students, and others to discuss current issues in the energy space.