About SunWork

SunWork’s mission is to help make solar more affordable and widespread with the help of trained volunteers.

Our Mission

SunWork’s purpose is to empower people to adopt solar power where it hasn’t been economically practical in the past. Installing solar can be expensive for a homeowner due to costs of equipment, installation, and marketing costs in a competitive industry. By making solar more affordable for low-energy-footprint homeowners and for nonprofits, SunWork puts solar power within more people’s reach. Our volunteers are what makes SunWork work. And due to our nonprofit model, we don’t mark up equipment nor do we have many marketing costs.

The heart of our mission is to give environmentally-concerned people a way to do something to make a difference. Homeowners and nonprofits can go solar and do so more affordably with faster payback periods. Volunteers help by contributing to a worthwhile cause which helps their community and the environment in general. SunWork is pushing to change the shape of our energy landscape, and to change the feeling that the environmental problems humankind faces are too big to be within the ability of individuals to meaningfully impact.

Why SunWork

Small Solar Made Affordable
  • We make renewable solar energy more affordable for low-energy-footprint homeowners. Often those who are already saving on their electricity bills haven’t been able to justify the costs of going solar.
  • We keep our costs for qualifying homeowners low — up to a third less than conventional solar installers. We do this through our nonprofit model and with the help of trained volunteers, which reduces the installation cost.
Building Community Through Shared Knowledge
  • Unique opportunity to participate in the construction of your own solar system as well as developing design and installation knowledge.
  • Volunteer participation provides a hands-on opportunity to learn valuable skills and contribute to climate action.
  • Educating the community about solar and clean renewable energy through regular volunteer and homeowner solar workshops.
Pricing Transparency
  • No down payment.
    If you don’t want the system or you change your mind before the installation, no problem.
  • No equipment mark-up.
    Any cost savings on panels or components are passed along to you.
  • Constant $/Watt cost for service regardless of system size. We don’t charge more for small systems and we don’t have a minimum system size.
Single Technical Contact
Single technical contact from site survey to design to inspection.

  • Eliminates miscommunication in transitions between functions.
  • Reduces frustration in communicating site needs.

 

SunWork Project Leads

Ernest has been installing PV systems since 2016 as a SunWork volunteer participating in over 50 installations events. He has a chemical engineering background and has over a decade of experience in the semiconductor industry with tool installations and customer service. He has been involved in the solar industry since 2007, where as an Account Technologist with Applied Materials, he helped bring two thin film PV factories online in Spain and Italy.

Aldhar (Al) has been involved in the installation of more than 100 solar PV systems in the Bay Area. In addition to solar energy, he has an interest in energy sources including wind and wave power. He has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Monterrey Institute of Technology and received a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Energy Systems from the University of Edinburgh. When not planning or installing solar projects, he enjoys hiking and running outdoors.

Travis first started working in the solar industry in 2013, doing large-scale installations on commercial buildings in Colorado. Since then, he has been involved in grid-tied and off-grid projects in North Carolina and the Bay Area and completed his NABCEP certification in 2018. He has an MSW from UNC Chapel Hill in Environmental Social Work and is an active advocate for public policy focused on decarbonization, poverty alleviation, and social equity. He likes to spend his free time trekking in the mountains and deepening his knowledge of regenerative ecology

Bryan has been installing solar professionally since 2012, with three years experience in residential grid-tie solar at Future Energy Savers. Before that he also installed a small scale standalone system on his parents house in 2009, and in 2010 he installed solar PV systems in Montaña de Oro State Park during his time in California Conservation Corps. He has a passion for clean and alternative energy sources, and sees photovoltaics as an important part of the solution to climate change that can be done by the average person. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys hiking and bicycling.
Reuben has been installing grid-tied residential solar electricity systems since 2006, and has led construction of more than 250 systems around the San Francisco Bay Area. He has a background in physics, mathematics, and electrical engineering, and is a knowledgeable student of the National Electric Code and the most recent industry developments and innovations. He also designed and developed the SunThink! Solar Electricity System Analysis Software application used by SunWork to accurately and appropriately size solar systems.

Brett has lived all over the Bay Area since moving here from the Chicago in 1986. He is an alumnus of California State University, Chico where he first became involved in philanthropic work. He has more then 20 years experience in the construction industry and decided he wanted to use his expertise in construction to do something positive for the environment. After earning his NABCEP certification in solar PV installation, he attended a SunWork volunteer workshop and began volunteering for SunWork accumulated over 450 hours helping with solar installations.

Board of Directors

Aimee Gotway Bailey

Aimee Gotway Bailey is a Principal Energy Analyst at EDF Innovation Lab, the Silicon Valley based R&D group of Électricité de France. There, she focuses on projects within the umbrella of distributed energy resources, including, microgrids, district energy, electrification of transportation and buildings, and policy and regulatory analysis. Prior to EDF, she held positions at PG&E, City of Palo Alto Utilities, Global Environmental Institute (Beijing, China) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. Aimee has a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a PhD in physics from Imperial College London. Before joining SunWork’s Board, Aimee organized several group volunteer days in support of SunWork nonprofit projects.

Mike Balma
Tom Kabat
Tom Kabat is an energy consultant for the Department of Energy helping to analyze, manage, operate and optimize federal hydroelectric generators in California. He has 30 years of utility energy planning experience and helped manage hydroelectric and renewable energy portfolios for the City of Palo Alto where he rose through the ranks from Solar Engineer to Senior Resource Originator helping acquire and manage a carbon neutral electric portfolio including wind, landfill gas, and solar power. Tom has a BS in Environmental Engineering from Cal Poly SLO and earned a P.E. in Mechanical Engineering. He served on the board of directors of a local credit union and has several sustainability related hobbies including: solar installation, resource rescue, bicycle building, teaching bicycle repair, and leading bike tours.
Julian Ryba-White
Reuben Veek

Reuben Veek founded SunWork and he is currently the Executive Director and Operations Manager. He has been installing grid-tied residential solar electricity systems since 2006, and has led construction of more than 250 systems around the San Francisco Bay Area. He received his Bachelor’s in philosophy from Stanford University and has a background in physics, mathematics, and electrical engineering. He has an earnest love for being outside, especially backpacking, and a warm regard for working with his hands.

SunWork In the News

Supporters & Partners

SunWork Financial Support Philosophy

SunWork’s operations are structured to be self-sufficient monetarily. This is essential to keeping it from competing for resources with other organizations with complementary missions, and to allowing its model to be easily expanded or recreated elsewhere.

SunWork’s operational costs are covered by charges applied to its solar electricity system installations. The main “outside” support it rests on are the resources donated by its volunteers – their time, enthusiasm, and effort – although properly speaking the volunteers are every bit as essential to the SunWork team as its directors or staff.

SunWork does receive some support to help it become more sustainable and to expand the organization’s ability to deliver on our mission. We have listed our supporters below. We also have some nonprofit and commercial partners that we work with closely to fulfill our mission.

If you do choose to make a donation, SunWork is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Organizations Supporting Our Mission

Provides classroom space in San Luis Obispo for workshops.

Provides office and warehouse space in Milpitas
Provides web service for designing and evaluating solar installations
Provided funding for new web site launched in 2020
Provides web service collecting detailed electricity usage data with customer authorization

SunWork Partners

Fundraising for Nonprofit solar installations
Financing for Nonprofit solar installations
Provides SESLOC Sustainable Loans for members to finance their solar system
SunWork partners with YellowTin for the development of a customer Energy Dashboard and our Quote Request process.

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