Students doing a Solar Spring or Winter Break

August 15, 2016

“You don’t need to be a scientist to get involved. These issues affect us all, we all need clean air.” — Kyndal Saverse, Junior, Environmental Science, University of Central Arkansas

What is Solar Spring Break?

GRID Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break gives college students from around the country the opportunity to spend their winter or spring vacation week installing solar in underserved communities.  Each project hosts 10-12 college students travelling to one of GRID Alternatives’ regional offices in California, New York or Nicaragua. Participants must be 18 or older. Click here for a list of locations and dates.

Deadline for winter break registration — October 28, 2016; Deadline for spring break registration — November 18, 2016

Why should I participate?

Your work will give low-income families access to solar power. These are families who wouldn’t otherwise have access to, but could benefit the most from, renewable energy. Not only will this reduce the economic burden of high electricity bills for these families, but it will also significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, curbing the impacts of global climate change. You will also gain first hand experience in solar energy, an industry that is growing rapidly with numerous opportunities for college graduates.

What does it cost, and how will we raise the money?

Participation in Solar Spring Break requires each team to fundraise $5,000*. Your fee covers the cost your solar installation project(s), five days of programming, and lodging. Teams are responsible for their own food and transportation costs. GRID Alternatives staff will support students with these logistics.

Each team will receive fundraising consulting from GRID Alternatives’ headquarters development team to determine the best and most effective way to raise your funds.  Fundraising activities might include peer to peer fundraising, personal solicitations, school sponsorships, or special events. Many colleges and universities also offer funds to support service learning opportunities.

*The Nicaragua program requires each team to fundraise $25,000, which covers the cost of the installation process, international fees, lodging, food, local transportation and voluntourism trips during your stay. Students will be responsible for securing transportation to Nicaragua. Contact Lia Papazoglou for more information on this specific Solar Spring Break program at [email protected].

What will the week involve?

GRID Alternatives will teach your team how to install a residential solar panel system through hands-on experience and trainings. . Our licensed solar panel installers will take you through all aspects of the installation process, start to finish.

Your Solar Spring Break will look different depending on the location you choose.  Although the week itself may vary, each team is guaranteed at least two days of solar installations. Each team is led by an experienced volunteer leader, and GRID Alternatives will provide everything you need. If you’re uncomfortable with heights or ladders, groundwork is available!

The rest of the week will be a combination of other volunteer activities, field trips, guest speakers, and of course opportunities to explore the city you are visiting.

Sample week (will vary by location):

  • Monday— volunteer orientation, meet the GRID regional office staff, guest speaker, warehouse tour/prep for installation days
  • Tuesday— work with our outreach team to canvas underserved neighborhoods and make them aware of GRID Alternatives’ solar program, take a field trip to a major renewable energy partner
  • Wednesday— Day 1 of solar installation
  • Thursday— Day 2 of solar installation
  • Friday— Interview homeowners that received solar, potluck lunch with GRID regional offi