The Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund aims to catalyze the growth of solar energy and expand solar job opportunities in tribal communities across the United States.
GRID Alternatives’ national Tribal Program has worked since 2010 to help tribal communities across the United States achieve their renewable energy goals, while training tribal members to enter the solar workforce.
In 2018, GRID announced the launch of the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund to provide capital to accelerate the development of new solar projects in tribal communities across the country. Wells Fargo, a major supporter of GRID since 2012, is supporting the launch of the fund with a commitment of $5 million over three years.
The Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund is a tribal-led initiative that provides new funding to tribes to support their renewable energy projects. The fund awards grants for projects that clearly focus on building renewable energy infrastructure, particularly new solar energy projects in tribal communities, that are feasible, cost-effective, and engage broad tribal community participation.
The Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund will provide the following resources to selected tribes:
- Technical assistance on solar project development and renewable energy strategy
- Direct installation of solar PV systems on tribal homes and community buildings
- Tribal workforce development partnerships with tribal colleges, high schools and tribal enterprises
- Community outreach services and connections to energy efficiency resources
Resilience in renewable energy is defined as “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.” In Indian Country, there is an overarching sense of resilience in tribal communities, especially relevant to self-determination in the environmental, cultural, social, economic, and educational spaces, and now in the energy infrastructure space. Tribal people across North America have and continue to be stewards of the land through intergenerational traditional ecological knowledge and practices.
The TSAF has potential to impact many tribes, communities, and families beyond solar energy infrastructure. Because of the TSAF, tribal communities can directly or indirectly benefit from incorporating solar into tribal energy planning that may include tribal utility ownership, net metering and shared renewable energy, creating and enhancing current solar certification programs at tribal colleges, as well as influencing state and federal energy policy and incentives.