The SOMAH Program Administrator (PA) is committed to supporting applicants in fulfilling tenant education requirements. Tenant education workshops are valuable tools for helping property owners and contractors assure that residents understand the solar panel installation process and tenant benefits, including savings generated via solar energy bill credits and paid job training opportunities.
SOMAH solar projects are often located in diverse communities with unique needs and interests. For this reason, curating workshops that address each community’s concerns is crucial.
Tenant education workshop planning should begin 4 weeks before your project begins construction. Follow these steps to organize your workshop and make your presentation more successful.
1. Identify who is presenting the workshop.
Property owners, management teams or solar contractors can organize tenant education workshops using prepared resources. Other community liaisons, including our community-based organization partners, may be able to help you coordinate the event, provide details and insight about the community and communicate event details to tenants.
As an alternative, SOMAH’s Technical Assistance and Support Services team can host workshops on your behalf. Requests for this should be made 60 days or more before project installation begins.
2. Understand your audience.
Before hosting your workshop, think about the needs of your audience. Some will understand solar already, while others will not. Varying formats and materials may resonate more with different age groups (i.e., youth, adults, retirees). Depending on your audience, you may also need to supply language translation.
3. Organize event logistics.
With your tenants’ schedules in mind, choose a date, time and on-site location for your workshop. It can be in a meeting room, lobby or outdoor area. The site should include disability accessibility and adequate space for tables and chairs. Consider holding multiple sessions to enable more tenants to attend.
4. Develop your presentation.
SOMAH’s online Tenant Education Toolkit provides program-approved materials on topics such as how solar works, utility rates with solar, solar job training opportunities and resources for additional support and information.
Decide on a format for the workshop based on the materials you intend to share, such as videos, slide presentations, posters and/or handouts. Ensure you have all necessary presentation equipment to execute the event. If your audience is composed of children and adults, consider offering a variety of activities geared toward each age group.
5. Promote your event to residents.
Ideally, you should notify tenants of the upcoming workshop 2-3 weeks prior to the event. You can utilize doorknob hangers, flyers, email and other outreach to let residents know when and where the workshop is happening – and why they should attend. Giving tenants more than one notice may increase attendance.
6. Host your tenant education workshop.
On the day of the event, bring all printed and digital materials and begin setting up an hour before the workshop is scheduled to start. If attendance is low (and you have property owner permission) consider going door to door to invite more residents to join.
For tenants who are unable to attend, you can leave behind informational packets that give an overview of the materials presented during the workshop.
Additional tenant education resources
The SOMAH PA hosts a Tenant Education Training webinar quarterly for property owners, managers and contractors. This free webinar covers everything you need to know about engaging with tenants and building trust in your solar project. To sign up for the next training, please visit our Events & Webinars page.