About the Fund

Our vision for Indian Country is a transition to energy sovereignty that is educational, entrepreneurial, and completely renewable.

TSAF Leadership Team – John Teller-Communications, Tanksi Clairmont-Managing Director, Christian Weaver-Program Director, Angelica Wright-Leadership Programs.

Since 2010, the GRID Alternatives National Tribal Program has worked 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 supported Adam Bad Wound in the development of the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund, a tribal-led philanthropic grantmaking program supporting new solar projects in tribal communities across the country.  Tribal solar project grants 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.

Now in its fourth year of grantmaking and leadership programs, the TSAF has funded more than $5.4million to 40+ tribes, tribal organizations, and tribal colleges across Indian Country, while developing leadership in energy to over 20  individual tribal members.

The TSAF currently offers three tribal solar grant opportunities for tribal communities, as well as four different leadership development programs : fellowships, scholarships, internships, and experiential learning (associates).

Grants for Tribal Renewable Energy Projects: Goal to increase access to funding or tribal communities to achieve their renewable energy goals.

  • Small-scale community facility renewable energy projects are stepping stones toward building capacity and achieving tribal energy sovereignty and resiliency goals. These projects tend to have fewer disruptive impacts to cultural sites, serve the community, and require less land for permitting and leasing. TSAF provides grants to federally-recognized tribes and tribal serving organizations for federal grant matching funds (especially from the Department of Energy, Office of Indian Energy), tribal facility project funding, and tribal residential project funding. For many tribes, TSAF funding has supported pilot projects which have grown into larger solar projects year after year. 
  • Many tribal communities look to tribes within their regions for examples of replication and guidance, and the TSAF is becoming a clearinghouse of successful facility, residential, entrepreneurial and educational renewable energy projects and programs examples. 
  • Workforce development and training opportunities are a valued component of each TSAF grant, furthering community buy-in and knowledge about renewable energy while supporting tribal members in preparing for job opportunities in solar.

Fellowships for Tribal Energy Innovators: Goal to support tribal executives and entrepreneurs in enhancing their renewable energy projects and plans.

  • The Tribal Energy Innovators Fellowship is for federally-recognized tribal members who are developing a renewable energy idea or vision for their communities. The fellowship includes industry mentorship opportunities, training, and invitations to participate in GRID solar installations. With a one-year $25,000 (increased amount in 2022-2023)  stipend, fellows gain a financial cushion or “seed funding” that allows them to focus their time and resources on their visions for change in their communities and within themselves as changemakers and leaders in the industry. 

Scholarships attending Tribal College and University, and Public/Private Universities: Goal to support tribal students in renewable energy and related fields in learning, teaching, and research.

  • The Tribal College/University (TCU) Scholarship program is for students enrolled in an environmental degree program relevant to the scholar’s academic and career pathway in renewable energy. $5,000 scholarships are awarded for one academic year through an application process.

Research Internships: The goal is to increase academic and career interests in environmental sustainability and renewable energy efforts

This unique internship opportunity will allow an intern to gain experience in many aspects of the non-profit solar industry. The intern will assist in developing research and literature reviews related to policy surrounding renewable energy and tribal communities.

Summer Associates – Experiential Learning: The goal of the program is to encourage more tribal individuals to enter into renewable energy work.

TSAF Summer Associates will participate in a virtual eight-week program created to provide the opportunity for motivated individuals to gain experience in the many aspects of the non-profit solar industry and its impact in tribal communities. Associates will engage in learning opportunities to enhance their knowledge about renewable energy and solar through research and virtual project deliverables.