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Solar Spring Break 2020

Raised toward our $8,800 Goal
28 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on March 03, at 11:59 PM PST
Project Owners

Solar Spring Break 2020

** After this page closes on 3/3/2020, we will continue fundraising on this site **


This year’s spring break, two groups of 12 UC Berkeley students will be traveling to areas around Oakland and Sacramento to install solar panels for low-income households. This is the 7th year that UC Berkeley students are participating in Solar Spring Break, a program hosted by the nonprofit organization GRID Alternatives. Solar Spring Break is supported on the UC Berkeley campus by the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC), and is comprised of a week-long trip over spring break for training and installation of solar panels, and a semester-long DeCal (student-taught class) on the topics of solar energy and environmental justice in California. 




Figure 1: Oakland team during SSB 2019



Most residential areas today are powered by energy from fossil fuels, which are nonrenewable, polluting, and contribute to climate change. Furthermore, according to the EIA (US Energy Information Administration), the US residential sector makes up for about 40% of the total MWh (megawatt-hours) of electricity used in 2018. So in order to decarbonize our energy system, it is essential to increase renewables in the residential electricity mix. However, the upfront cost of rooftop solar systems is a major barrier that deters many homeowners from switching to solar. By installing solar panels on qualifying homes in underrepresented communities, our team seeks to provide needed financial savings for residents while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. We believe that renewable energy and utility savings should not be reserved just for those with the means to afford solar panel installations. People struggling to make ends meet are the ones who would benefit the most from stabilized and reduced electricity bills, and that is why we focus on this demographic.



Figure 2: Salinas team during SSB 2018




In addition to advocating for environmental justice in underrepresented communities, participants of Solar Spring Break will also acquire the technical skills needed to install solar panels. This hands-on learning experience will actively enrich participants’ knowledge and understanding of solar energy and prepare for a career in the field of renewable energy.



Solar energy is a renewable and carbon neutral source of energy. Once set up, it involves minimal maintenance and running costs, while providing a reliable electricity output. However, the initial installation costs of an average sized home solar panel system (5 kilowatts) can cost about $12,900-$16,500 in California mainly due to the prohibitively high costs of photovoltaic systems, as well as the labor and electronic components required. Thus, even with subsidized rates and incentives provided by utility companies, most low income communities still cannot afford these facilities. GRID Alternatives aims to overcome this cost barrier and make solar power accessible to all. This will improve the financial well-being and living standards of impoverished communities.


Budget breakdown:

One participating team of 12 people costs us about $5,000, and since we are participating two teams in two different areas this year, we need to raise around $10,000 to cover our costs to install on four homes in total. Here is a more detailed budget breakdown:

  • Program Fees (Staff time, solar panels, programming): $8,200

  • Meals/Food for both groups for a week: $800

  • Transportation to/around Sacramento and Oakland (BART, rideshare, gas, etc.): $400

  • Misc./Activities: $100

Grand Total: $9,500


Money raised through this crowdfunding will directly bring the environmental and economic benefits of solar power to under-served households in Oakland and Sacramento. Please make a gift today to help us reach our goal so we can bring renewable, affordable energy to those households and give students hands-on experience with solar technology!




For more information about the program, do not hesitate to contact Jesica or Ashley at and


Our way
of Thanking You


Social media shoutout

For your support of Solar Spring Break, we will give you a shoutout on Facebook and/or Instagram!

7 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Thank you card

As a thanks for your support, receive a personalized thank you card from our solar installation team!

3 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Recognition in SERC Newsletter

In recognition of your support, we will list your name in the newsletter for the Student Environmental Resource Center. The newsletter reaches a wide audience of environmentally-minded students, faculty, and alumni!

1 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Photo sharing

Receive access to all the photos of our solar installation trip in late March to see exactly what your funding is going towards!

2 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2020


"Thank you" video

Receive a “thank you” video from our team while we’re in action on the roof installing panels!

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Attend & sit in a decal class

Opportunity to sit in and meet the team if you want to in one of our DeCal (student-taught) classes and see what we're learning about outside of the worksite! We cover a wide range of topics relating to solar power, from the technical side of solar technology and how panels actually work to the social side of environmental justice. This wide scope allows us to provide a holistic view of solar power and the solar industry for our students.

1 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Writing on a Solar Panel

Get your name and/or a message written on the back of a solar panel before installation. We’ll send you a picture of it! (The backs of the solar panels we use are flat and white, and writing on them does not affect their performance at all. Last year, our team signed our names on the last one before we installed it!)

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2020
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