Our Featured Grantees exemplify vital qualities that we find inspiring: they’re rooted in community, have clearly defined goals and viable plans to realize them, and promote positive change through both their projects and their implementation processes. Each one also addresses two – or more – of our funding priorities.


GRID Alternatives installs solar panels for homeowners in low-income communities that are most affected by changing energy prices and least likely to have funds for alternative energy. They also train job seekers and community volunteers to install solar electric systems.

Every Solar Affordable Housing project generates “triple bottom line” results:

  • Long-term financial benefits for low-income families
  • Hands-on experience for local workers in the growing field of solar installation
  • Environmental benefits by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and building support for solar power

Founders Erica Mackie and Tim Sears designed GRID Alternatives to be scalable in response to community need. GRID Alternatives is expanding their services nation-wide, with offices throughout California, in Colorado and in the New York/New Jersey metro area. 

Since their inception, GRID has installed over 4,000 solar systems for low-income families, totaling nearly 12 Megawatts of power. Over their lifespans, these systems are expected to save these families over $112 million dollars while preventing over 350,000 tons of harmful carbon emissions. This is the offset equivalent to planting over 8 million trees - or taking nearly 63,000 cars off the road for one year!

Watch the video and hear their story.

  • Renewable energy in California accounts for less than 20% of all power – and solar is less than 1% – but recent legislation requires that by 2020, renewables must account for 33%.
  • Be part of an installation crew.
    Learn More.
  • Volunteer your specialized skills.
  • Like GRID on facebook.
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" I wanted to do something with my life that would make a difference. I wanted to come to work everyday and be able to touch and feel that I was doing something right in the world."

Erica Mackie & Tim Sears

Co-founders, GRID Alternatives

Location: Oakland, CA