Month-by-Month Timeline

Explore the sections below for templates, guides, and examples

 

 Note: If you want to complete a solar campaign before the federal tax incentive expires in 2016, you should begin as soon as possible
and host your kick-off event between March and May.

Pre-Work

Gather a volunteer team
  • Review volunteer roles to see what you’re signing up for
  • Gather a team of 4-8 people, plus a list of others you could call on to help with specific tasks (e.g. painting a sign, baking for an event)
Explore partnerships with neighboring towns
  • Partnering increases the number of potential customers and volunteers
  • Towns should be contiguous so your partner installer can easily manage the territory
Contact your local electric utilities
  • Do they offer net metering? What are the terms?
  • What are their requirements and process for connecting a home solar system to the grid?
  • Do they offer any financial incentives?
  • What else should a homeowner know about going solar with them?
Make a list of solar installers within reach of your community
  • Do your best to identify ALL installers within a certain range of your community (we recommend focusing on installers within a 75-minute drive)
  • Gather contact information for each installer – you’ll need it later on

Month 1

Set up a team folder in Google Drive
Meet to review time commitments and assign volunteer roles
Set solar campaign goals 
  • You should have discussed this at your team meeting
Reach out to your list of solar installers
  • Describe your campaign and ask if they’d be interested in participating
  • Collect information for a local solar installers list, including their experience and services. Offer this list as a resource for residents during and after the campaign. (template) (example)
  • Ask for a specific contact person who should receive the Request for Proposals (RFP)
Installer selection committee finalizes the RFP template and Installer Proposal template to send to your installer list

Month 2 - Installer Selection Process Begins

Send the Request for Proposals (RFP) and Proposal Template to installers
  • Email your completed RFP and Proposal Template to your entire installer contact list
  • Share the RFP with any relevant organizations that can help spread the word (e.g. industry group)
  • Allow any installer to apply, even if they’re not on your original contact list – the more options you have, the better
Begin planning your outreach campaign
  • How do people in your community find out what’s going on? Be visible there
  • Develop a list of local media (e.g. newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, online) to share your solar campaign story with – and collect their contact information for later on
  • Visit the Outreach Library for inspiration and templates
Connect with community partners
  • Look for opportunities to make presentations, table at events, get your news in community newsletters, and more
  • Find places to hang banners and signs
Compile a set of resources to use throughout the campaign

Month 3

Select your partner installer
  • Your Installer Selection Team will take the lead, but all volunteers should be welcomed to offer feedback and ask questions about the proposals
  • Visit the Installer Selection page for more information
Plan the basics of your Kick-Off Event
  • Determine your date, time, location, and logistics (e.g. projector, screen, chairs, refreshments)
Create a campaign website
  • Facebook page is a good way to share frequent updates about your campaign
Encourage all volunteers to set up a Google account and learn the basics of Google Drive
  • Visit the Google Guide page for instructions and tutorial videos

Month 4 - Public Outreach Begins

Meet with your partner installer
Begin gathering a contact list of interested residents
  • As you talk with friends and neighbors interested in your solar campaign, enter them into your People Tracker on Google Drive (learn how on the Google Guide page)
Start using your online site visit sign-up form
  • Make sure your website and Facebook page include links to your live site visit sign-up form (Note: This form is already set up for you in the template Solar Campaign Folder for Google Drive—visit the Google Guide page for instructions)
Promote your kick-off event
  • Use banners, posters, and postcards to advertise in strategic locations
  • Table at existing events to get the word out
  • Send a press release to the media sources you identified, and get your event into community calendars
  • Visit the Outreach Library for inspiration, templates, and examples
Plan outreach for the first month of your campaign
  • Plan at least one outreach event and announce it at your kick-off event
  • Visit the Outreach Library for inspiration, templates, and examples

Month 5 - Kick-off Event

Host a Kick-Off Event
Focus on getting new site visit requests
  • Visit the Outreach Library for inspiration—we suggest tabling and sending messages out through community newsletters
  • Collect new site visit requests on paper at events (template form), or direct people to sign up online using your Google Site Visit Sign Up Form (learn more on the Google Guide page)
  • Make sure your Google Site Visit Request Form is prominently linked on your website and Facebook page
Host follow-up events
  • Solar open houses, driving tours, happy hours, and more are fun ways to get more people interested in going solar
  • Visit the Outreach Library for inspiration
Plan future outreach tactics
  • Focus on outreach that will generate new site visit requests in Months 6 and 7
  • Visit the Outreach Library for inspiration

Month 6

Focus on getting new site visit requests
Create and display a progress meter
  • Decide what data you want to display and how (e.g. tiers, number of households) (examples)
  • Identify a public place where the progress meter can be displayed throughout the campaign
  • Make a plan for updating the meter as new contracts are signed

Month 7

Focus on getting new site visit requests
  • Contact People Tracker members who have not yet scheduled a site visit (learn how to sort your People Tracker on the Google Guide page)
  • Visit the Outreach Library for inspiration
Help homeowners with solar proposals get off the fence
  • Reach out personally by phone or email to offer resources and encouragement
  • Plan an event (e.g. happy hour, open house, Q&A, financing session) – visit the Outreach Library for examples

Month 8 - Deadline for Signed Contracts

Announce last call for site visits
  • Find out the latest date your installer can receive requests and still complete the process before the deadline
  • Share this date with members of your People Tracker list and make a public announcement
Focus on celebrating progress and highlighting the campaign deadline
  • Update people on what discounted pricing tier you’ve reached
  • Visit the Outreach Library for inspiration
Help homeowners with solar proposals get off the fence
  • Reach out individually to check in
  • Host a drop-in event with the installer for people who have questions or want to deliver their contract in person
Program deadline
  • Typically the last day of the month
  • Ask your installer to tell you how they will draw the line with respect to accepting contracts on the day of the deadline

Month 9

Tally and share campaign results
  • Send a message to your People Tracker contacts, make a public announcement, and send a press release to local media
Survey participants (optional)
  • Take this opportunity to learn more about what outreach methods were effective, what motivated customers to go solar, what other energy issues interest people in your community, and more
  • Learn about creating a survey using Google Forms on the Google Guide page
Celebrate and reflect
  • Host a meeting with your installer to celebrate your accomplishments and discuss how the campaign went (consider making this a potluck)
Announce your next steps as a team and promise to keep your contact list in the loop
  • Is your next project focused on weatherization? Modern wood pellet heating? Electric vehicles?

Months 10-12 - Installations Ongoing

Check in monthly with your installer until all jobs are complete
  • Find out which installations are completed and which are on deck
  • Discuss any concerns or challenges