Solar Spring Break

SERC has partnered with GRID Alternatives to provide an annual UC Berkeley Solar Spring Break Team since spring  2014. GRID Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break provides college students the opportunity to spend their spring break installing solar panels on qualifying homes in underrepresented communities. These clean energy systems provide needed financial savings for residents, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Every Solar Spring Break project hosts 10-12 college students traveling to one of GRID Alternatives’ regional offices in California, New York, or Nicaragua.

GRID Alternatives teaches participants how to install a residential solar panel system through hands-on experience and trainings. Their licensed solar panel installers will lead participants through all aspects of the installation process, from start to finish.

Solar Spring Break’s direct impacts include:

-Financial savings for a low-income family
-Reduced carbon emission
-Hands-on, technical educational enrichment for UC Berkeley students

The application for the 2018-2019 team will open at the beginning of Fall semester 2018. Please check back for future involvement opportunities!

In the meantime – want to know what it’s like to participate?

Read Feedback from 2017 Solar Spring Breakers,

Check Out Solar Spring Break 2018 Trip Photos (Bay Area Team | Central Coast Team)

Read 2017 team member Bianca Champenois’ blog post and 2015 team member Angela Shen’s blog post

and Watch this video from the 2018 trip:

Past Solar Spring Break Teams & Impacts

2018 Team

Central Coast Team being wholesome

Bay Area Team sailing to Alcatraz

  • Serena Patel (Team Leader)
  • Steven Chan (Team Leader)
  • Christopher Orner
  • Nguyen Bui
  • Jaeyoung Choi
  • Timothy Lee
  • Joseph Kim
  • Abiagil Edilyn Jacob
  • Elizabeth Shehter
  • Dianne Chung
  • Andrew Chow
  • Jarek Chu
  • Cindy Asano
  • Anna Dell’Amico
  • Dante Gonzales
  • Phoebe Gross
  • Ilona Evelina Mantachian
  • Julie Lum
  • David Yi
  • Sandra Maw
  • Jesica Sutandi
  • Jenny Rempert

This year was unique for us: we had so many applicants that we were able to form two teams! Each team was responsible for raising $5,000 which was challenging but rewarding. In the end, one team traveled to the Central Coast, and the other team stayed in the Bay Area for our Spring Break trip.

In the end, impacts for community and environment included:

  • Installation of 15.3 kW DC of solar for four low-income households in the City of Pittsburg and Soledad in the Salinas Valley
  • Energy savings of over $140,000 over their lifetimes – savings that can go towards medical bills, groceries, and future college tuition
  • In case you have a hard time visualizing the impact of offsetting 300 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (the weight equivalent of 50 adult elephants), think of it this way: in two days, we offset an equivalent amount of emissions as planting 6,962 trees

2017 Team

  • Jaylyn Acree
  • Bianca Champenois
  • Dennis Chiu
  • Alexandra Cisneros Carey
  • Ansel Deng
  • Rebecca Harcourt
  • Serena Patel
  • Echo Sun
  • John Tatro
  • Eileen Williams
  • Emily Yan
  • Teresa Yu

We installed a total of 7.4 kW DC, which is projected to have the following environmental and economic impacts for the family and the community:
 – $69,000 direct savings to families by energy generated by the system over its lifetime 
 – 142 tons of carbon emissions prevented, equivalent to planting over 3,295 trees in just 5 days!

2016 Team

2016 Solar Spring Break Team

2016 Solar Spring Break Team

  • Brooke Maushund
  • Allegra Saggese
  • Narayan Shyamal Gopinathan
  • Hannah Haugenes
  • Vania Fong
  • Caroline Anna Hartmann Loffredo
  • Vineet Jagadeesan Nair
  • Audrey McNamara
  • Kelly Jiang
  • Cameron Ishee
  • Chloe Zhang

Impacts of the 2016 Team: Installation of a 3.03 kW-AC system which is estimated to provide an average lifetime energy usage offset of  94.56%.  Clean energy systems benefit us all, with 67 tons of greenhouse gas emissions diverted from the environment.  That’s equivalent to the planting of 1,574 trees!

The team also raised $5,165 through Berkeley Crowdfunding to contribute to the costs of solar panels, installation, and team member transportation throughout the Solar Spring Break trip.

See pictures from the 2016 trip here.


2015 Team
For the second year in a row, UC Berkeley students formed a Solar Spring Break Team. The 2015 team installed solar panels for a qualifying family in Oakland, CA. The 2015 team members were:

  • 2015 Solar Spring Break Team

    Angela Shen

  • Kevin Graham
  • Cody Schaff
  • Erica Taylor
  • Tina Huang
  • Eric Linxie
  • Valmik Prabhu
  • Sandy Yip
  • Kevin Bai

The team raised $4493 via Piggybackr and a 2015 CACS Grant to contribute to the costs of solar panels, installation, and team member housing and transportation throughout the Solar Spring Break trip.

Impacts of the 2015 Team: 

  • Carbon Offset by Project (Tons): 36.22
  • Estimated Client Savings: $17,605
  • Equivalent Number of Trees Planted: 852


2014 Solar Spring Break Team

2014 Team

The inaugural 2014 Solar Spring Break Team included:

  • Angela Meese Shen
  • Angie Shen
  • Kristen Chen
  • Sam Klein
  • Qusai Bhaijeewala
  • Nikhil Gargeya
  • Natalie Zhang

2014 Solar Spring Break Team

The team raised more than $3,000 to contribute to the costs of solar panels, installation, and team member housing and transportation throughout the Solar Spring Break trip.

Impacts of the 2014 Team:

  • Carbon Offset by Project (Tons): 105.77
  • Estimated Client Savings: $34,272
  • Equivalent Number of Trees Planted: 2,487