Location: Oakland, CA
There are millions of people who live without any source of electricity. The Navajo Nation lives in northern Arizona, where residents live without electricity and use gas-powered generators as their source of energy. An estimated 43% live below the federal poverty line and it is too expensive for them to get basic infrastructure. They frequently use fuel-based lighting, which produces air pollution and increases health risks. Though the Navajo have lived without electricity for so long, it takes time out of their daily lives just to keep everything running. Living on a reservation also means college education and job training is difficult to come by, adding to the economic problems the tribes face.
Luckily there is a way for the Navajo Nation to get power that is cost-efficient for families as well as obtain energy that does not impact their land. GRID Alternatives was founded in 2001 during the California energy crisis. It is a certified non-profit organization that developed an environmentally friendly solution to a lack of electricity for low-income families. Using solar PV technology, GRID provides clean, renewable energy to all people, both nationally as well as in Nicaragua. GRID has several projects, including their Tribal Program, which was officially launched in 2014. This program involves partnering with tribal communities to bring solar energy and green-job training to people while creating savings on electricity costs. Not only does the Tribal Program help with solar energy education, but it removes the financial burden as well. It also removes the need for generators and provides green energy to large territories like the Navajo Nation.
GRID has offered education and training to Tribal communities like the Navajo, as well as employment opportunities through GRID contractors. In late September to early October of 2015, GRID Alternatives held a national Tribal Solarthon, which involved a two week hands-on experience bringing solar power and training to Tribal communities all over the United States. Since 2010, GRID has partnered with over 30 tribes and has trained 200 tribal members in solar installation. GRID Alternatives has received many awards and recognition within the last decade, such as the Climate Change Champion Award by U.S. EPA Region 9. In 2016, GRID plans to install solar energy systems in a Nicaraguan school and rural communities. Where will GRID Alternatives take solar technology next?
Environmental Impact: Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Reduced Emissions, Avoided use of fossil fuels
Measurement: GRID Alternatives
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