Solar Spring Break FAQs

How do I register a team for Solar Spring break?

Team registration for 2017 will open at the end of August. Contact solarspringbreak@gridalternatives.org for more information. 


What are group size limitations?

For worksite safety and lodging purposes, the maximum number of participants is 12 people for Solar Spring Break domestically and 10 people internationally.


Can I register for Solar Spring Break as an individual?

New this year, GRID is opening up places for students to participate as individuals on our Intercollegiate Solar Spring Break team. Students from schools across the country will come together to participate in a Solar Spring Break experience in Sacramento, California from May 21-25, 2018. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Click here for more info.


What are the age restrictions?

Participants must be at least 18 years of age to perform construction work on the roof. 


Are there specific dates in winter and spring that GRID is hosting Solar Spring Break groups?

Our winter, spring and summer trip dates fall in December, January, March, April, and May. We understand that breaks vary from school to school so we will work with you based on your particular winter or spring break and your desired volunteer location.


Is my team guaranteed placement at the regional office of our choice?

Not necessarily. GRID regional offices have a limited capacity for Solar Spring Break teams, and we allocate spots on a first-come first-served basis. However, we will absolutely do our best to place your team at the specific location you have requested and will confirm our regional office placement with you before you register your team. Please keep in mind we will not place you anywhere your team is not comfortable traveling to and we will work with you to make sure you are placed at a location that works well for your whole team as well as GRID Alternatives.


What costs are associated with a Solar Spring Break trip?

A $500 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is due when a student group registers for Solar Spring Break. This deposit is per team and not per individual.

Program Fee

Each student group is expected to raise at least $5000, including the $500 deposit to register your team. Teams can raise this program fee as a whole, or it can be evenly distributed amongst group participants (eg. $500 each in a 10 person group).  This contribution helps cover some of the installation costs and staff time that goes into a GRID Alternatives installation. Depending on the system size, solar installations can cost 3-4 times as much as this, sometimes more!  It also includes 5 nights of housing for the entire team at a location TBD by the local regional office and a GRID Alternatives volunteer orientation for your team. This does NOT include food or transportation.

What does the $25,000 program cost for Nicaragua trips cover?

The model for International Solar Spring Break differs from the domestic trips. The $25,000 covers all meals, accommodations, transportation and other fees for the participants while they are in Nicaragua and helps support the project costs. Airfare is not included. To register for a trip, Nicaragua trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit 9 months in advance of the trip and the remainder of the trip fee is due 3 months prior to the trip.


Is the program cost per team, or per individual?

The program cost is per team.


Since GRID Alternatives is covering housing, how will I know where I am staying?

GRID staff will work out 5 nights of mutually agreeable housing accommodations for your trip. This may vary from site to site, but could include options such as – camping, hostels, community center spaces, etc. GRID staff will make sure your group feels comfortable with any accommodations that are made.

Can GRID staff help me with fundraising?

Yes, GRID's professional fundraising staff will help your team create a fundraising plan that will work for your team. There are lots of creative ways to start fundraising and we will definitely help you on your way!


Are donations to our Solar Spring Break team tax deductible?

A portion of the required program cost includes the cost of lodging during the trip while a portion supports the charitable efforts of the Solar Spring Break Program. For more information see IRS Publication 526. Please consult with your tax adviser to determine the deductibility of your payment pursuant to relevant tax law.


Does GRID offer any discounts or scholarships for teams?

Thanks to our program sponsor Wells Fargo, GRID is able to offer financial assistance to those who would like to start a Solar Spring Break team but feel that their school does not have the resources to raise the $5000 program fee. If you're interested in applying to be a sponsored team, please let us know when you fill out the Interest Form or email us at solarspringbreak@gridalternatives.org, and we can discuss the possibilities in our follow-up communications. To be considered as one of the 2019 Solar Spring Break sponsored teams, you must complete an application before October 31, 2018. 


What does the week of programming include?

Your week of programming with GRID will include a volunteer orientation, at least two days of solar installation (weather permitting), and the other days are flexible in regards to service-learning programming. If there is a particular program area that your group is interested in (i.e. solar design, nonprofit management, social justice, community outreach), please let us know and we will help organize a week of programming that is relevant and exciting for your group.


What experience is required?

No experience or tools necessary! Each team is led by an experienced volunteer Team Leader, and each installation is managed by GRID construction staff. Moderate lifting (20 lbs.) may be involved. According to GRID Alternatives policy, all modules and inverters must be carried by at least 2 people at all times. If you are uncomfortable with heights or ladders, ground work is available.


What sort of safety precautions are taken on the jobs site?

Safety equipment must be worn at all times.  This includes hard hats while on the job site and harnesses while on the roof.  Hand and eye protection will also be provided. Each work day begins with a safety talk provided by our first-aid certified solar professionals. GRID Alternatives follows all OSHA guidelines on every work site.


Does GRID provide accidental medical insurance?

In the event of a medical emergency, participants are covered by a supplemental accident medical insurance provided by GRID Alternatives. This insurance covers a portion of medical costs in the event that the participant's existing insurance does not cover all expenses.


What is Solar Spring Break's cancellation policy?

Any funds received by GRID Alternatives in the course of a team or individual’s fundraising, including the registration deposit, cannot be refunded. Teams or individuals cancelling after January 29 will be expected to provide 50% of their program to GRID Alternatives to help cover lost staff time. Any team or individual cancelling less than 21 days prior to the trip will expected to provide their entire program fee. For details, please refer to our Solar Spring Break Payment Policy.