SunWork - a local nonprofit organization - Profile & Reviews

Primary Line of Business

  • Installer

SunWork - a local nonprofit organization - Profile & Reviews

Primary Line of Business

  • Installer

Additional Service Offered

Additional Service Offered
  • Installation

Why Work With Us

Why Work With Us

SunWork's nonprofit model lets us 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.

In order to improve the quality of the installation and the customer experience, our professional Project Leads are responsible for the entire process, from the site survey, through design and permitting, to the actual installation as well as the final inspection. This eliminates the possibility of problems that might occur when handing the project off between the different stages of going solar.

More About Us

More About Us

A nonprofit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area and California Central Coast that installs solar electricity systems on small-energy-footprint homes with professional project leads and the assistance of trained volunteers.

SunWork takes care of every aspect of a solar installation, from site analysis and system design, to permitting and rebate paperwork, to installation, inspection, and continued support.

As a nonprofit, we don't mark up the cost of the equipment, so any reduction in equipment cost gets passed on to the home owners. We also do not ask for a down payment in an effort to minimize the barriers to going solar.

Technology Offered

Technology Offered
  • Solar PV

Reviews from Our Community

Reviews from Our Community
13 Reviews
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"One of a kind"
Reviewed May 23, 2018

In a word. . . impressive. I started this process towards the beginning of the year not even imagining that this would go as well as it had. I decided to educate myself, and fortunately I came across SunWork during my research. I couldn't have asked for a better scenario because I was the perfect candidate for their business model, customers who are interested in learning the in's and out's of the system and how it is all put together. Mind you, if you want to be hands off, they cater to that as well, but I think they really would rather have their customers get involved as much or as little as they would like. Before I found SunWork and reached out to them, my mindset was that I was going to do this completely on my own. I feel like going through this process and learning what I did, I have a greater understanding and could probably get it done on my own. SunWork provided me the opportunity to take my baby steps when it came to getting this project going. When I first reached out to SunWork, because of the 'S' Tile on my roof, it wasn't looking like it was going to be a reality. I'll be honest, I begged and pleaded to work with this non-profit, because I knew they were EXACTLY what I was looking for, and I believed the same was true of them, whether they knew it or not. I think I may have convinced them when I showed them that I was in this for all the right reasons. I was not looking just for a bargin, although that was a huge selling point for me, I was looking for a partner and a teacher, Bryan (project leader) was just that. After a bit of begging and convincing, I was told Bryan would have to do a site survey and he would be the final decision making authority. My wife and I waited for our site survey with Bryan and crossed our fingers for the best. When Bryan arrived I did my best not to try and scare him away with how much I wanted to work with him, it worked. He did a very thorough and meticulous site survey and I knew this was exactly what we needed for our home. Bryan got back to me after a few days, said the 'S' Tiles were typically a no-go for the volunteer model, but we could make it work, since they were of good quality. My wife, uncle and I attended both free workshops, (which I also highly recommend) one for volunteer training and the other for "Going Solar", which, by that time we already had a signed contract and a project date confirmed. I went to the class eager to learn and nervous about getting volunteers, especially since we live in Orcutt. I believe by the end of the workshops we had a full list for both days. Fast forward a couple weeks and the project was upon us. Bryan, myself, my uncle, my wife and volunteers got to work. Bryan was so patient as we had a crew of first timers, but as we went the work seemed to flow pretty well. Everyone had a job and a purpose. At times I felt a bit useless, as I was pretty unsteady on my feet and around these types of tools, but I felt included and I felt like I had a purpose in being there, not just a spectator. Bryan worked hard, even surpassing the normal "work" hours to get us ahead of schedule for the following days work, which was really admirable. I'm glad Bryan did that for us because it turns out there was a last minute cancellation (no fault on the part of SunWork) for volunteer. My uncle, Bryan and myself worked hard to get the panels up, wired and the system online by the early afternoon. I could go on about SunWork, Bryan and why solar is so important. I will, but not in this format, I plan on volunteering and doing what I can to get SunWork more projects and more happy people. Bryan was a pleasure to work with, I guarantee your system won't be slapped together and thrown into place like a commercial installer does.

"Great experience with Sunwork"
Reviewed Jan 10, 2018

We have our solar installed through Sunwork. The whole process took something like 4months. Best part is the pricing and transparency. Other providers were quoting a price which is almost 50% higher than what Sunwork was quoting. There is some delay in getting the appointment and the date for installation. The reason is that Sunwork installs only on weekends. So, one has to wait longer. However, the wait is worth. In terms of transparency, the statement gave details of every small detail of work done. The final bill was few hundred dollars lower than previously quoted.

Our installer was Bryan Noel. Great guy to work with. Myself and my two kids volunteered to work with him. Learnt a lot about solar power and installation.

I would recommend Sunwork to anyone who is interested to get solar installation.

"Good value, enjoyable experience"
Reviewed Jul 27, 2017

A big attraction for me was that SunWork encourages participation in the installation by clients (it didn't hurt that it was also the most affordable bid). Of course, if clients wish minimal involvement, that is also an option. I had a very enjoyable day working with the volunteers on the installation. The followup by the company was also very good.

1 people found this helpful
"Solar installation"
Reviewed Feb 06, 2017

We were very happy with the installation process of our small solar system. Having had solar on a previous residence, I knew basically what to expect in terms of results. But this time, I was thrilled to participate in the actual installation. We attended a pre-installation class so that we knew the vocabulary and the tools we were going to use. Before the installation, we met Matt Thompson of Day One Solar in Santa Cruz who was the lead on our project. He was simply great!. The materials arrived on time and we were able to complete the installation in one day. I can't say enough good things about Mike Balma, Reuben Veek and Matt Thompson and the volunteer work they do for SunWork. They are dedicated to taking solar to as many rooftops as possible.

"SunWork is amazing"
Reviewed Jan 23, 2017

All I can say is WOW. These guys are so professional from beginning to end. We didn't think we could get solar, due to our small electric bill and small house. But because putting solar on small houses with low electricity bills are their specialty, SunWork was able to help us.

They were all so patient with me (and I am clueless about electricity), explaining everything really well, every step of the way. I have felt so well-taken care of. And if that were not enough, the final price came out to be several hundred dollars less than the estimate and because they are a non-profit they were able to pass that savings on to me. I'm SOO excited that we are now generating our own power and saving money. A total win-win. Doesn't get any better than that!

"Who could ask for anything more?"
Reviewed Nov 04, 2016

Bryan was knowledgeable, patient with my questions, and thorough in his work. And the whole process was incredibly quick. And the price was very right. Let's kick coal to the curb!

"Easy and enjoyable process "
Reviewed Oct 28, 2016

I volunteered on a few other projects first then, signed up to have my home done. I wanted to be a part of the installation itself and do it along with getting a new roof put on and they worked with the awkward scheduling of that to make it all happen.

"Exceptional and excellent"
Reviewed Sep 27, 2016

True experts, drew up a very professional plan set, handled the building permit (even though I offered to run to the building dep't and save them the trip). Quality components, and a wide range of components to choose from. The system exceeds my expectations, and we had a great experience (helping) install it and making new friends. If you qualify, I can't imagine going anywhere else.

"Expertise in every way"
Reviewed Sep 21, 2016

The wait to get a SunWork estimate was well worth it as they had an expert (Bryan) come out and talk to us about our needs, desires, and future plans. He then meticulously measured our roof and analyzed how the sun exposure and shading from trees would change over the seasons. A few days later he sent us a optimized-for-space plan of how the panels would fit, how much energy the system would generate and our cost.

There was no pushing to sell; no constant reminders. When we were ready (7 months later), we contacted Bryan for an installation appointment. Volunteers came out and Bryan did a lot of the precision work, while the volunteers aided him.

The system is amazing and the work done makes work by others look shoddy in comparison.

The only downside is that SunWork has so many jobs and too few people to do them, so there is a huge backlog. Help them out by volunteering!

"Great installers and very useful experience"
Reviewed Sep 09, 2016

SunWork helped us install a 4.2kw system last week. Bryan (the project lead) was very knowledgable and spent a lot of effort in finding the best configuration for our roof. They let the homeowner take part in the installation and I learned a lot about the whole system. Excellent communication from the beginning to the end.

"sunWork is an amazing (and non-profit!) company!"
Reviewed Aug 23, 2016

sunWork has some of the nicest people on earth to do business with,
doing solar installations for all the right reasons, such as being aware of making a difference in the world by reducing our carbon footprint and relying on my own Sun light rather than distant power plants, and because it is the right thing to do.

They also recruit from nearby colleges the talents of engineering students who gain experience in designing solar systems, and well as giving supervised on-the-job training with Boots-on-the-Roof experience to people who want to actually do the roof-top work of installing solar panels.

While my project was in progress, a couple other people who had started with sunWork and then started separate solar installations but needed to borrow some needed tool were cheerfully accommodated. So I got to watch the spread of solar expertise in real time.

After the installation is complete, sunWork people continue to be available online or by phone to help with questions such as Which energy plan from PG&E would be best for me? or Why did my computer stop showing me daily updates on my amount of solar power generated?

Also, I connected my Prius Plug-in's charging port to my system, so most of my driving time is relying on the sun on my roof!

sunWork also has the best price for solar installation.
There is nothing-not-to-like about sunWork!
Marjorie Rauch, 401 Dracena Lane, Los Altos, CA, 94022

"Generating all your electrical power requirements with Sunwork.org "
Reviewed Aug 02, 2016

Sunwork.org Solar Panel (PV) ROI is a no brainer and here's my true story and experience.

3.2KWh System installed 09/17/2014

Affordability:
PV Solar Systems are thought to be quite expensive, often taking 12 - 15 years to pay for itself.. so, most people pass on the opportunity to take the plunge. That was my case, too. Solar City quoted me $21,000 (yikes) back in 2010 and after a 30% Federal Tax Credit (Renewable Energy Credit) their system was still $14,000.. I concluded it would take me 14-15 years for such a system to be justified (since my PG&E electric bill averaged about $85/month or $1020 annually. Solar Companies today (like Solar City and Sungevity) resort to "leasing you a system" because it appears to be less costly (on a monthly basis). What they don't tell you (at least, proactively) is that a lease often is much more expensive than a purchase. Most Solar leases are 20-25 years long for at least $100 per month. Do the math: 25 years x $100 = $25,000 over the life of the lease.. Sure, a lease offers you peace of mind and "free repairs" if something wears out, but the fact is, in a 20 year period, the only thing that will need replacement is the $1400 inverter, which is warranted for 10 years. The other parts of the system (the PV panels) are warranted for 25 years. Bottom line: the best way to go is a purchase..

My purchased system from Sunwork.org (not leased) cost only $9900 - 30% Federal Tax Credit (Renewable Energy Credit) for a net price of $6930.. making it possible to justify the initial cash outlay (in the form of savings) in about 6 1/2 years. After that, your electrical power is essentially "free". Larger systems will, of course, cost a bit more, but you would be off-setting a larger PG&E electric bill and your savings would pay for themselves in roughly the same amount of time.

I'm about 2 years into this purchase and I continue to be very pleased with the performance and ROI of my PV System. I've generated over 11MWh of cumulative power since my PV System was first turned on 9/2014. Other than my connection fee to PG&E (something all PG&E Customers pay), my annual electric bill has essentially been $0 (I'm actually running a small credit ;-)

If you'd like to learn more or have additional questions, I encourage you to contact Mike at Sunwork.org (he's the real expert ;-) Feel free to let Mike know that I referred you (no, I don't work on commission ;-) but I'm sure Mike would be pleased to know that a fellow neighbor spoke highly of them).

Here is Sunwork.org contact information:

Mike Balma mike@sunwork.org
SunWork Renewable Energy Projects
(650) 678-2213

Hope my review helped change your mind.

Thanks,
Marshall
Sunnyvale, CA

2 people found this helpful
"SunWork Works"
Reviewed Aug 01, 2016

Since my profile for solar use does not fit most installers, it was an eye-opener to see what SunWork could do for me. In my budget. In my time-frame. The one-year mark has just passed. Because SunWork coached me on plans for net-metering, I have recouped my direct monthly costs and the transmission and handling charges from PG&E. I use green carbon-free energy! Because they are good, SunWork is busy; because they are busy, scheduling is tight. AND it is oh, so worth it to do business with them! I have, and continue to recommend SunWork.