GRID Alternatives’ Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund is now open for applications from federally-recognized tribes seeking funding for new solar energy projects. The Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund was launched in 2018 to catalyze the growth of solar energy and expand solar job opportunities in tribal communities across the United States. Since 2010, GRID Alternatives’ national Tribal Program has installed nearly three megawatts of solar capacity in partnership with more than 40 tribes to date. The Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund was established with $5 million in seed funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation.
The Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund is currently accepting applications for one-year Department of Energy grant matching funds up to $250,000 and tribal facility and residential solar projects up to $200,000 per tribe. Applications are due by May 3, 2019. 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 and cost-effective; and that have broad support from the tribal community. Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund grantees for 2018 include the Spokane Tribe of Indians, the Chemehuevi Tribe, and the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians.
“We’re excited to release the 2019-2020 request for proposals for new solar projects,” said Tanksi Clairmont, Director of the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund. “The fund seeks applications from tribes and tribal organizations that have an existing energy plan in place and will further tribal energy security and resilience through new solar projects, education, workforce training, and a commitment to build capacity in tribal energy sovereignty.”
The Spokane Tribe of Indians, located in Wellpinit, Washington, was awarded funding in 2018 for the Children of the Sun Solar Initiative to develop a large-scale solar project on several tribal buildings and homes as a step toward achieving tribal energy sovereignty. In response to the 2016 Cayuse Mountain Fire that burned 18,000 acres, destroyed 14 homes, and endangered residents on the Spokane Indian Reservation, the Tribe embarked on an investment in 650 kilowatts of solar capacity and, eventually, battery storage that will save more than $2.8 million over 35 years, strengthen community resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Support from the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund has been critical to helping the Spokane Indian Tribe work to achieve our goal of energy sovereignty,” said Tim Horan, Executive Director of the Spokane Indian Housing Authority. “Through the Children of the Sun Solar Initiative, we'll be generating clean, affordable solar power in our community, creating job opportunities for tribal members, and building resilience in the face of future disasters like the Cayuse Mountain Fire.”
The Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund is committed to serving, supporting, and strengthening American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribal communities by investing in solar energy development and sustainability. The fund invites applications from eligible federal and state-recognized tribal governments and tribally-led nonprofit organizations and will host an informational webinar for interested applicants on March 15, 2019.
To learn more and to download the application, visit www.tribalsolar.org.
About the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund
GRID Alternatives’ Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund was launched in 2018 with a 3-year, $5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Since 2010, GRID has partnered with tribes in a community-centric approach to increase renewable energy capacity, resilience, and energy sovereignty. The fund builds on this work to provide grants that catalyze the growth of solar energy and expand solar job opportunities in tribal communities across the United States.
For more information, visit www.tribalsolar.org.