SFA 2019 Installation Process

There will be three cohorts of households receiving solar installations each year (spring, summer, fall). Participants for the spring of 2019 were selected and trained in 2018.  Successful 2019 applicants will be scheduled for installations in Summer 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020.

The number of households per cohort may vary, depending upon funding, applicants, and capacity of volunteers.  Currently, the target for 2019 is four households per cohort.

Timeline for 2019 applications, selections and installations

  •  January 31 – Deadline for applications
  • February 5- 15 – Interviews and site visits
  • February 21 (tentative):  SFA Participant Orientation (required!)
  • February 27:  Commitment Contracts due
  • March 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 30-31 and April 6-7, 13-14, 27-28: Potential Spring installation weekends  (Fall 2018 households mentor; Spring 2019 households participate; Summer 2019 households train)
  • June 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30 and July 13-14, 20-21, 27-28:  Potential Summer installation weekends   (Spring 2019 households mentor; Summer 2019 households participate; Fall 2019 households train)
  • September 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29 and October 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27:  Potential Fall installation weekends   (Summer 2019 households mentor; Fall 2019 households participate; Spring 2020 households train)

Process for New Applicants: 

  1. Apply online.  Review qualification requirements, then apply here.
  2. Interview/site visit.  ISFA and SIREN volunteers will arrange to meet applicants in their homes to collect additional information, review the process, and conduct a preliminary solar site assessment.  All applicants should provide electric utility information, and those requesting a subsidy for solar equipment or other expenses must provide a copy of their most recent 1040 tax return.
  3. Orientation meeting.  Qualified candidates will be invited to a mandatory meeting to learn about details of the program.  Following the Orientation meeting, those who can commit to the program’s expectations (see below) will be asked to indicate their availability for installations and preferences for volunteer roles.
  4. Cohort assignment.  SFA assigns each household to a cohort for installation (Summer, Fall, and the following Spring).
  5. Commitment Contract.  Candidates sign Commitment Contract.
  6. Fulfill obligations.  Households fulfill all obligations as specified in the Commitment Contract in the weeks before, during, and after their scheduled installation time.

Expectations for Participating Households:

Participation in ISFA requires a significant commitment of time, energy, and skills.  This is because

  1. The addition of a solar array to your home is a significant benefit.  It adds value to your home, and saves you money on your electric bills.  Our expectations of  “sweat equity”  provide an opportunity for recipients to give back to the program commensurate with the benefits received.
  2. Our aim is to keep our program as self-sustaining as possible, so we ask all participants to contribute their skills and experience to help it continue.  Participants help sustain the organization by running it, through such roles as Volunteer Coordinator, Project Manager, Fundraising Lead, Media Coordinator, etc., and by recruiting others to join.  As the saying goes, many hands make light work.
  3. Our vision is to enable access to solar for ALL, so we rely on our participants to help grow our program through fundraising, volunteer recruitment, program development, and raising awareness.

Volunteer Commitment

  • On-the-job training: work on at least 3 installations prior to your cohort of installations;
  • Participate in your installation and at least 2 others in your cohort; lead a crew if appropriate;
  • Mentor a household in the next installation cohort, and participate in installations as a trainer, crew member, and/or crew lead;
  • Contribute food for installation crews, especially during the installation seasons BEFORE, DURING and AFTER your own installation takes place
  • Commit to at least one Organizational role (fundraising, publicity, food coordinator, volunteer coordinator, project manager, etc.)

Program Participation

  • Participate online via Google Docs, Google Groups, and Google Calendar to communicate, share documents, and keep track of important dates.  Training will be provided as needed.
  • Attend all SFA meetings during your “active” period (training season plus installation season).
  • Remain on list of  “back-up” volunteers in case help is needed on an occasional basis in the future.


  • Share your personal story for publication on our website, print media, social media, podcasts, etc.  Consent to use of photographs and video for promotional purposes.
  • Participate in at least one Orientation meeting for new participants besides your own.
  • Serve as a mentor for a household receiving panels in the next cohort.
  • Promote SFA on social media by following, inviting friends to follow, sharing/liking posts, sharing fundraising and other events.
  • (Optional) Attend future SFA events (orientations, fundraisers, etc.).
  • (Optional but strongly encouraged) Attend future annual SFA potlucks with other past, present, and future SFA households.
  • (Optional but much appreciated) Remain on list of  “back-up” food providers in case of shortages in future installations.

How to Apply

To begin the application process,  express your interest and/or add your name to the waiting list, please fill out our online  application.  Note:  to be considered for installations during this calendar year and the following spring, please submit your application by JANUARY 31.  Those received after that date will be considered if spaces open up this year, and otherwise will be on the list for next year.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Applicants should keep the following dates open in case they are selected to go the next step in the program:

  • February 4-15, 4-7pm: Please keep open as many of these evenings as possible, to assist scheduling a 1-hour site visit & interview during that time period.
  • February 21, 6-8pm:  Orientation Meeting (required for all ISFA participants)
  • Weekends in March and April:  Installations will begin as early as March 2-3, depending on weather.