Wells Fargo & Co. recently announced a $2 million investment over five years in GRID Alternatives to help bring clean, affordable solar energy to communities that can benefit the most from energy solutions that are environmentally and economically sustainable. The nonprofit, which brings the benefits of solar technology to low-income communities, plans to expand its services from California to Colorado and then to other states nationwide.

"As part of our commitment to investing in environmental solutions for communities, we’re proud to work together with GRID Alternatives to help them expand into Colorado and beyond,” said Mary Wenzel, director of environmental affairs. “GRID’s unique delivery model offers many benefits to our communities, from decreasing electricity bills for homeowners to helping veterans and other unemployed community members gain job experience installing solar panels.”

Since 2007, Wells Fargo team members have contributed more than 1,200 volunteer hours to GRID Alternatives, helping to install residential solar systems in collaboration with communities and local organizations and exploring innovative financing models to help the nonprofit deploy more residential solar systems. Wells Fargo has also donated $600,000 to help GRID Alternatives expand from one office to seven offices throughout California.

Since its inception in 2001, GRID Alternatives has:

  • Installed solar electric systems on more than 2,200 homes saving homeowners an average of $27,000 per home in expenses over the systems’ lifetimes based on average savings of $75 per home each month and assuming electricity prices stay the same
  • Avoided the release of 200,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the systems’ expected 30-year lifespan, the equivalent to removing about 18 cars from the road each year per home based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
  • Provided hands-on solar installation experience to 10,000 job trainees, veterans and volunteers

“Low-income families are extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in energy prices,” said GRID Alternatives Executive Director and Co-Founder Erica Mackie. “Our model makes solar accessible to communities that need it most—not just the cost savings but the jobs and the environmental benefits too. We’re thrilled that Wells Fargo is investing in scaling our model beyond California.”

GRID Alternatives’ expansion into Colorado launches September 24 -29, with 11 solar installations on homes built for families by Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver.