The Rexel Foundation commits to improving energy access for Native American communities

With the Rexel Foundation’s support, a Group employee helped GRID Alternatives install solar panels in 12 tribal communities

West and Southwest United States
2016 to 2018

At the initiative of an employee at Gexpro, a Rexel Group subsidiary in the US, the Rexel Foundation is funding GRID Alternatives’ National Tribal Solar Program. In 2015, the fuel poverty rate of Native American communities came close to 27% and 14% of Tribal households still had no access to electricity at all. This project aims at improving their living conditions by taking advantage of the tremendous growth of the solar industry in the US, as well as the significant solar potential of Native American reservation lands.



Since 2016, GRID Alternative has expanded its Tribal Program across Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. This includes efforts to retrofit non-working off-grid systems on Navajo lands. It will not only directly benefit these communities by supporting solar power installations for families in need of relief, but also support community job training programs for local workers in the solar industry. There are over 1,000 estimated beneficiaries and 12 tribal communities that will be directly affected.



  • Offering Tribal families access to energy via solar solutions;
  • Training communities to install and maintain solar panels.

“The Rexel Foundation’s support is making a tremendous impact for Tribal communities, not only helping families save money for other urgent expenses, but also providing career pathways in areas struggling with unemployment.” Tim Willink, Director of Tribal Programs at GRID Alternatives


First results

  • 101 solar PV systems were installed on low-income homes in tribal communities nationally, in partnership with 12 tribal nations
  • 20 of these installations were completed in remote rural regions, including 4 off-grid projects on Navajo’s territory of members of the Navajo Nation.

The project also: 

  • Provided 174 job trainees and volunteers who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native with 5,931 hours of solar installation training on GRID’s real-world projects.
  • Allowed 3 tribal members to join GRID Alternatives for one year with paid positions, and the purpose of launching their renewable energy careers;
  • Enabled 2 tribal members to join GRID’s Team Leader training program, offering advanced solar installation skills;
  • Provided energy efficiency and conservation education to low-income customers.


Find out more about Grid Alternatives

GRID Alternatives is a nonprofit organization addressing unemployment and lack of renewable energy access through their “triple bottom line” approach: measurable, long-term financial benefits for families struggling to keep up with monthly expenses; real-world, hands-on training and experience for local workers in the growing field of solar installation; and environmental benefits through reduced greenhouse gas emissions. 

This project is run in partnership with SunEdison and Sunpower.

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