Solar Panel Install Training Session

February 7, 2017-

The newest community in the Stanford Energy Club, named SWEP (Solar, Wind, and Energy Project) community, hosted our friends from Sunwork to do a solar panel training session on campus this past Saturday. The 3-hour training event lead by Sunwork instructor, Chris Satterlee, and president, Mike Balma, covered a broad range of topics including: an introduction to solar energy, an introduction to electricity, Grid-tied rooftop solar systems, and Hazards of solar installation, as well as important safety tips. After the lecture period, teams of students got together to try out the various harnesses, power tools, and saws that are necessary to install the railing, conduit, and solar panels themselves.

The event brought together the largest group of Stanford student volunteers with over 25 attendees looking forward to helping install solar on residences and commercial spaces in the coming months. Not only did students learn about the benefits and challenges to installing solar panels, but they also learned about the economics behind the Sunwork Model. For example, for a 3.08 kW (DC) system (11 solar panels) with a central inverter with Secure Power feature, the installed cost can come up to $5,670 after a 30% tax credit. This amounts to a cost of $1.84/Watt. However, this also results in annual savings of $856 with a simple 6-7 year payback period.

SunWork Renewable Energy Projects is a local nonprofit in California’s San Francisco Bay Area that installs solar electricity systems on┬ásmall-energy-footprint homes with the help of trained volunteers. SunWork’s innovative model lets it deliver solar power to homeowners with already modest electricity use (and correspondingly low electricity bills) at a third less than the conventional cost, allowing more people to make the switch to solar and enabling broader adoption of this clean, safe, and renewable alternative to the sources of energy that contribute to climate change.

Sunwork is looking to launch a paid internship program for up to 16 hours/week for students interested in a paid work/study in the spring quarter. This program is for undergraduates only, who are also financial aid eligible. They will help work on sites around the Bay Area and must be able to travel. For further questions please contact Mike Balma at

Written by the Stanford Energy Club