Selection Committee Basics

Thank you again for volunteering to be a part of the Selection Committee! Being part of the Selection Committee is the most important thing that you can do to help your solar co-op. At Solar United Neighbors, we believe in the power of community. It is important that co-op members pick the installers they work with. This makes our co-ops unique in that Solar United Neighbors does not pick the installer for the solar co-op: the members do. This page will go over some of the basics of our meeting—accessing our Bid Review spreadsheet, how to prepare, the process, and expectations.  

Using Google Sheets with a Gmail Account/Email Address:

We will set the permission of the spreadsheet so all who attend the meeting will be able to view it (and if necessary, edit certain parts of the document as well). If you RSVP’d with a Gmail email address, you will be all set to access our document.  

Using Google Sheets without a Gmail Account/Email Address:

To access our spreadsheet, you will need to create a Google account. Luckily, you can continue using your personal email address to do so, and setting up this account to view Google documents is very simple. Follow the link here.

After clicking, you will be prompted to enter your name and personal email address, then create a password for Google (this can be the same as your personal email password if you would like). After submitting this form, check your personal email for a verification link sent by Google. After accepting, you will be able to access our spreadsheet. We will take some time at the beginning of the meeting to see if anyone has questions on accessing the document, so please feel free to speak up if you need help. 

Please note that this is a large spreadsheet, and while it is possible to access on a phone, we recommend viewing on a larger screen (tablet, laptop, or computer monitor). This will make it much easier to navigate and help in viewing and comparing different responses.

Preparing for the Meeting:

Before the meeting starts, the spreadsheet will be set to View Only, meaning you cannot edit anything. So don’t worry about accidentally deleting something or making changes to the document—this will not be possible. It is up to you if you would like to review the spreadsheet and/or other bid documents beforehand. If you would like to check out the bids ahead of time, please feel free to do so! This is not required, as we will have Solar United Neighbors staff present at the meeting to answer any questions on the bids or solar in general.

Selection Criteria:

When your fellow co-op members joined the group, we asked them what was important to them when choosing an installer. We will have summaries of this information available to you when you meet to make the selection. The criteria that members can indicate a preference for are:

  • Offer the best price
  • Use higher quality equipment
  • Have more experience
  • Offer stronger warranties
  • Are a local company
  • Woman or minority – owned business

Process and Expectations:

When we are sure everyone present is able to access the spreadsheet, we will kick off the meeting. Since this decision will be on behalf of the whole co-op, we will cover preferences on what everyone values in an installer (this information was gathered from the co-op signup form). We will then go through the bids and whittle down the list until the group has reached a consensus on an installer. Keep in mind that these bids are confidential, so please do not share this information with anyone outside of the selection meeting. You should have received and signed a Confidentiality Agreement covering this. We require that all committee members sign it before joining the meeting and viewing the bids, so please let us know if you did not receive this form. 

We will cover the entire spreadsheet, but there is no right or wrong way for us to move through it. Remember that this is your meeting, we are there to facilitate and offer our expertise. While we will answer any and all questions you may have, we will not be involved in the decision-making. We want to make sure that everyone participating has a say, so if you need to head out early please make sure your vote is tallied before you leave. By the end of the meeting, the group will have selected one installer to serve the entire co-op!