SFA 2020 Installation Process

The 2020 installation process will follow the practice established in previous years. There will be three cohorts of households receiving solar installations each year (spring, summer, fall).  The number of households per cohort may vary, depending upon funding, applicants, and capacity of volunteers. Currently, half of the applicants who received grants in 2019 have had their systems installed.  The remaining 2019  installations will be completed in the spring, weather permitting. Successful 2020 applicants will be scheduled for installations in Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021.


  • Application forms will be posted online in January 2020
  • Announcement of dates for completion of the following stages of the process: TBD 

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 in line 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 

Grant recipients commit to personally contributing 80 hours of sweat-equity to the program or recruiting friends to help them reach that level. This commitment can be satisfied in various ways but in screening applications, we give priority to those who have relevant construction or electrical skills and want to work on the installation crews. For those persons, every attempt will be made to structure the time as follows:

  • 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;

We recognize that not everyone can get up on a roof. There are other roles that must be filled, including:

  • 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.  Google 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 form when it is activated in January 2020. Applications received after the deadline (date TBD) will be considered if spaces open up this year, and otherwise will be on the list for next year.