GRID Alternatives, America’s largest nonprofit solar developer, today announced the Wells Fargo Foundation has committed to a four-year, $2 million grant to expand low-income solar access. The grant builds on more than $4 million Wells Fargo has invested in GRID Alternatives since 2008, catalyzing the national expansion of GRID’s work bringing solar power and job training to disadvantaged communities.
The new grant will continue to seed GRID’s expansion into new areas of the country; support the development of new low-income solar business models, like the low-income community solar models GRID has pioneered in Colorado; and underwrite an expansion of GRID’s existing Solar Spring Break ® program into a National Collegiate Network connecting college students around the country with careers in the clean energy industry, with a focus on schools serving diverse populations.
“GRID Alternatives is focused on ensuring the benefits of solar energy are realized by all communities – a model we believe addresses critical environmental and social issues that are important to Wells Fargo,” said Mary Wenzel, Head of Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo. “In addition to making solar energy available to low-income communities, GRID’s workforce development programs have trained thousands of veterans and other individuals to take advantage of employment opportunities in the rapidly expanding green economy.”
Wells Fargo made its first donation to support GRID’s work in California in 2008. In 2012 the company provided a five-year, $2 million grant to help GRID Alternatives expand service into Colorado, the New York tri-state region, the Mid-Atlantic, and Native American communities across the United States. Most recently in 2015, Wells Fargo and GRID Alternatives teamed up on the Troops to Solar initiative, providing solar workforce training to 1,000 veterans over three years. Wells Fargo employees also volunteer on GRID Alternatives installations across the country, logging nearly 4500 hours to-date.
“Wells Fargo has been a committed philanthropic supporter of GRID, and its previous grants have allowed us to extend solar’s economic and environmental benefits to thousands of Americans,” said Erica Mackie, CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives. “This renewed support will help us bring clean energy access to new markets, catalyze promising low-income solar innovations, and educate and inspire a new generation of clean energy leaders that reflect the diversity of our communities.”