GRID Alternatives was founded during the 2001 California energy crisis by Erica Mackie, P.E., and Tim Sears, P.E., two engineering professionals who were implementing large-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for the private sector. The vision that drove them was simple: free, clean electricity from the sun should be available to everyone. Through GRID Alternatives, they 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 solar adoption nationwide.
In 2008, GRID Alternatives was selected by the California Public Utilities Commission to serve as the statewide program manager for its $162 million Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) incentive program, the country's first dedicated solar rebate for low-income families. Thousands of California homeowners have gone solar through GRID Alternatives under this groundbreaking initiative in partnership with Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric, and we have integrated workforce development into every project.
In 2012, GRID Alternatives launched a national expansion with support from Wells Fargo. We began serving Colorado in fall, 2012, and the New York Tri-state area in 2013. In 2014, GRID Alternatives started an international program in Nicaragua through the acquisition of Power to the People, as well as a program to serve Tribal communities across the nation. We will be expanding to serve the Mid-Atlantic region in 2014.