Become A Volunteer
SunWork’s volunteer program is an essential component of our business model. By sharing their time, enthusiasm, and passion for the environment, volunteers play a major role in making renewable energy possible for nonprofit organizations and low-energy-use homeowners.
SunWork volunteers participate in an orientation session training them in the basics of solar, electricity, and construction safety. On site, volunteers work together with SunWork’s professional staff, attaching racking, running conduit, hanging inverters, and mounting the solar panels – everything that makes a system tick.
Most SunWork volunteers are local people who are passionate about the environment and who are excited about doing something constructive. Volunteers work along side other people who care about this shared aim, pooling their energy and helping each other to accomplish something worthwhile and visible. Many SunWork volunteers are also drawn to the practical experience they gain and the opportunity to apply it beyond these projects, sometimes taking a first step towards a career working in this exciting and vital field.
What are the trainings like?
Our volunteer training takes place in a classroom and generally lasts about 3 hours. We cover the basic principles of solar, electricity, roofing, and construction, with an emphasis on safety. The training classes are supplemented by a safety meeting at the beginning of every install, and in-process training in the use of the different tools of the trade.
How do I sign up?
To become a SunWork volunteer, you will first need to attend one of our volunteer training classes. Refer to the training calendar below.
Please note that you must be 18 years of age in order to become a volunteer. You can also volunteer if you are 16 or 17 years of age, but we will need a parent or guardian to sign paperwork providing their permission.
How much time does an installation take?
Most of our installs can be finished in two eight-hour days. They are typically being held over weekends, Saturday and Sunday. However, we sometimes do installations on weekdays as well. This is particularly the case when installing systems for nonprofit organizations.
How much experience do I need?
Who am I helping?
Occasionally we have installations for small nonprofit organizations such as churches or preschools. Here is a link to some of our nonprofit installation examples.
What should I wear?
SunWork provides gloves, protective eye-ware, hard hats and knee guards.
How often must I re-train?
Is there another way to satisfy the SunWork classroom training requirement?
If you are OSHA 10 certified or NABCEP Installer certified, you can opt out of the SunWork classroom training. Just email us a photo of your certification card.
I'm a homeowner who wants solar, can I volunteer on my own home?
Yes, homeowners can participate in the installation for their own home. Attending a SunWork training session is not required for homeowners volunteering on their own project. Homeowner participation is very helpful to SunWork and this may allow us to serve areas where we don’t have many volunteers.
What's it like to volunteer?
Listen to the Solar Power Editors podcast about the SunWork volunteer experience.
SunWork Volunteer Training Events
Join our free training to learn how to install solar energy systems. Then volunteer on solar energy projects in your community.
Learn the basics of installing rooftop solar energy systems by volunteering with SunWork. This 3-hour event teaches the basics of rooftop solar, solar equipment, electricity, and construction safety. This orientation is a great opportunity to learn about clean renewable energy.
Once you’ve completed this training, you are eligible to join us to install residential and nonprofit solar systems in your community. Volunteers work together with SunWork’s professional staff, attaching racking, running conduit, hanging inverters, and mounting the solar panels that make a solar system tick. Some of our volunteers leverage this experience toward a career in solar energy. Others plan to install solar on their own homes. Most volunteers enjoy supporting the expansion of clean renewable energy and helping provide solar energy for their communities. Please see our Bay Area and Central Coast web pages on sunwork.org for the communities we serve.
-This orientation session will be conducted online using Zoom. The session requires you to have access to a Smartphone, Tablet, or Computer with the Zoom App installed. Ideally, you will also have a camera available on your device.
-You must participate in the entire webinar at the time it is conducted (sorry, no time-shifting option.)
-You must be 18 or older to volunteer (or if 16 or 17, with parent or guardian permission.)
Get the latest news & updates on future SunWork training events.
Chris Satterlee Leads SunWork Volunteer Training Activities
SunWork’s cadre of trained volunteers is the engine that allows us to make solar more affordable for nonprofits and low-energy-use homes. The great majority of volunteers are involved with installing panels, placing inverters, running wires, and the many other activities associated with a solar installation.