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Determine the Selection Committee

The selection committee is a group of individuals responsible for identifying the proper criteria and weighting to select installers and then evaluating RFP responses based on the identified parameters to choose one or more solar contractors for the campaign.

It is helpful to have people with a diversity of perspectives and experiences on the installer selection committee, such as local government staff, CBO partner staff, community leaders, current or previous campaign participants, and technical experts. Some campaigns, most notably Solar United Neighbors’ Solar Co-ops, allow residents to sign up before the installer is selected so participants can be involved in the decision-making process. The group should include enough committee members to adequately represent the community’s diversity but should not be so large that decision-making is inhibited. A group size of 4 to 10 people is typical.

Local governments and CBOs might hesitate to participate in the installer selection process because of liability concerns. Although the contractor vetting process is part of what makes Solarize campaigns so effective, organizations typically do not want to take on any liability that may arise from choosing one installer over another. Below are some techniques that campaigns use to communicate the roles of the organization and installer along with how to mitigate legal risks. However, you should consult your organization’s legal staff for risk-mitigation guidance.

  • Use featured installer language

    Campaigns should clearly communicate that participants are welcome to solicit other bids and sign contracts with any solar installer, not just the campaign’s featured installer. Using language such as “featured installer” as opposed to the “selected installer” can help in these communications.

  • Ensure the solar contract is between the customer and installer:

    Campaigns should emphasize to participants that any solar contract signed is between them and the installer only. Some campaigns ask the installer to include language in their customer contract to this effect.

  • Sign a campaign contractor agreement:

    Campaigns might sign an agreement with the chosen installer that clearly lays out installer expectations. The agreement should also include an indemnification clause clarifying that none of the campaign team’s members or their organizations are party to the contract between the homeowner and installer. This agreement should also include the RFP terms and a sample contract between the installer and homeowner. As an example, Solarize CrowdSource has included a template contract on its website.

  • Select a reputable installer:

    Ultimately, legal claims are more likely to arise if a campaign installer does not meet expectations during or after a campaign. When selecting an installer, ensure they have adequate experience, financial strength, and insurance to successfully perform their campaign responsibilities during and after the campaign.

Suggested Next Steps:

Finalize the selection committee based on campaign goals, likely participant values, and legal considerations.