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.
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.
- 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
- Eliminates miscommunication in transitions between functions.
- Reduces frustration in communicating site needs.
Meet the Team
Mike Balma is SunWork’s Development Director. He has completed business development projects for several solar companies. Mike helped lead the Performance Committee for SunSpec, a nonprofit solar industry alliance pursuing information standards that address operational aspects of PV. He is also on the Board on Carbon Free Mountain View.
Mike had an extensive marketing career with Hewlett-Packard including helping build HP’s open source business. He previously worked for SRI International, consulting on renewable energy technologies including solar, wind and biomass.
Ernest is a Project Lead at SunWork, focused on the South Bay and Silicon Valley Region. Ernest has been installing PV systems since 2016, initially as a SunWork volunteer participating in over 50 installation events before he became a Project Lead. 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.
Elyssa is a Solar Consultant at SunWork. She manages business development in the East Bay and the Central Coast. She also manages marketing activities such as social media and the website. Elyssa spent 25 years in consumer technology marketing in Silicon Valley before moving to the Central Coast where she is following her passion to expand the use of renewable energy. She also worked for two years as Marketing Director at a nationwide residential solar installer in the Bay Area. She has a BS in Conservation of Natural Resources from UC Berkeley and an MBA.
Marc is a Solar Consultant at SunWork. Marc started installing solar PV in the 1990s. Following retirement from his HP career in 2005, Marc got involved in PV training and volunteering including installing his own PV system in 2007. He taught residential solar installation at De Anza Community College. In 2015 and 2016 Marc worked as a Project Lead at SunWork. As a consultant, he helps interested homeowners decide if a SunWork project is right for them. When he is not planning or installing solar, he volunteers and educates himself on the latest clean technologies and promotes Electric Cars and eBikes.
Kyle is a Project Lead at SunWork, focused on the East Bay region. Kyle had been in commercial construction for nearly a decade prior to joining SunWork in 2020. He has a degree in Real Estate and Construction Management from the University of Denver as well as NABCEP PV Certification. Kyle is committed to working on projects that increase renewable energy on the grid and help make our planet more sustainable. In his free time, Kyle enjoys biking and playing bocce.
Travis is a Project Lead at SunWork, focused on the East Bay region. 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 is a Project Lead at SunWork, focused on the Central Coast region. 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 is SunWork’s Operations Director (in addition to being its Executive Director). 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.
Board of Directors
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.
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
Solar Panels Look Hotter Than Ever. GreenTown Los Altos blog
SunWork volunteers celebrate 100th installation, See photos on Facebook.
Patch.com on SunWork Los Altos installation. Another Los Altos home just...
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.