GRID Alternatives, which makes solar power and solar jobs more accessible to low-income communities and communities of color, has appointed a leader of its Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund, which aims to grow solar opportunities in tribal communities.
Tanksi Clairmont has been named director of the fund, which was established in 2018 with a $5 million commitment from the Wells Fargo Foundation. An extension of GRID Alternatives’ national Tribal Program, it supports GRID’s work in helping tribes throughout Indian Country build renewable energy capacity and energy sovereignty and offers matching grants to shovel-ready projects. The grant application process for 2019-2020 will launch this spring.
Tanksi is an enrolled tribal member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate from Sisseton, S.D., and a member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate from Rosebud, S.D. Although born and raised in Denver, she remains deeply rooted in Lakota/Dakota culture through ceremony, language and social dancing, says GRID. Tanksi has worked extensively across Indian Country and brings her experience in grant administration, coordination, research and evaluation from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Indian College Fund.
“Tanksi is an inspirational leader who understands the importance of energy sovereignty and the opportunity to impact Indian Country in all aspects of our triple bottom line: people, planet and employment,” says Adam Bad Wound (Oglala Sioux), vice president of philanthropy at GRID Alternatives and founder of the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund.
GRID Alternatives’ national Tribal Program has worked since 2010 to help tribes achieve their renewable energy goals with solar while training tribal members to enter the solar workforce. GRID has installed nearly 3 MW of solar capacity in partnership with more than 40 tribes to date.
“Building local capacity throughout Indian Country is my personal and professional passion, and I’m thrilled for the unique opportunity to contribute my experience, networks and cultural values to the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund,” says Clairmont.