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 Solar School Overview

Solar School is the training program for Solar Under the Sun.  It is a hands-on, interactive program designed to equip team leaders with the necessary skills to form meaningful partnerships with communities in the developing world, assess their need for solar power, and design and install a solar power system.  These skills are taught in two separate courses that run concurrently during our Solar School.  A church or organization should send at least 2 representatives to Solar School, one for each course.

Solar 1: Leadership, Partnership Development, and Surveying

Solar 1 leaders are trained to build a mission team, establish partnerships with communities in need, plan and organize the project, raise funds, and nurture cultural awareness and spiritual development.  

This course includes:

  • Exploring theology of doing mission in partnership

  • Developing partnerships and organizing skills

  • Forming teams (Trip management and Leadership)

  • Evaluating sites for solar projects

  • Negotiating covenants

  • Increasing cultural awareness 

Solar 2: System Design, Installation, and Equipping Partners

Solar 2 leaders are trained in the technical aspects of solar power systems.  They will learn to assess the power needs of a community, design a system to meet those needs, and lead an installation team.

This course includes:

  • Assessing electrical needs and loads

  • Understanding system components and operation

  • Designing an off-grid solar energy system

  • Leading an installation project

  • Practicing safety and maintenance

  • Teaching in-country partners to operate and maintain systems

Plenary Sessions:

All solar school students will participate in plenary sessions to learn about doing meaningful mission in partnership with a community in the developing world.  These sessions include:

  • Mission Strategy

  • Fund raising

  • Cultural differences between countries

  • Small group reflections

  • Devotions 


Registration is from 10am-12pm on Thursday.  Solar School begins at 12pm on Thursday and concludes at 10:30am on Sunday.  

  • The activities and classes begin each morning at 7:30 AM and end in the evenings at 9:00 PM. If you would like to view a typical Solar School daily schedule, click here.


Solar School is $585 per registrant

  • Includes room and board, instruction, training manual, t-shirt, and all materials and tools for hands-on activities.

  • Reservation/Cancellation Policy:  A deposit of $200 is due at the time of registration to secure your place in the class.  Participants that cancel more than 15 days prior to the class will receive a full refund of the deposit.  *Important: Participants who cancel within 15 days of the session will forfeit their deposit.

  • A ride is available from the Little Rock Airport to Ferncilff for $15/trip.  The shuttle departs the airport at 11:00am on Thursday and will return to the airport at 12pm on Sunday.  

  • Partial scholarships for international students may be available.  Please email for more information.

  • We recommend that participants be at least 18 years of age.  


Solar School is held near Little Rock, Arkansas  in the Eco Center at Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center. The Eco Center provides eco-friendly, camp style accommodations in one of the largest straw bale walled structures in the U.S. The straw bale walls make it very well insulated for energy efficiency and the building is supported by 12 solar panels placed on ground level just south of the building. For warmth in the cooler months, the building has radiant floor heating with a wood-fired furnace outside. For cooling, a solar chimney on the roof helps circulate air in the summer months. Four of the six bedrooms have alternative flooring — dirt-crete (a mix of clay and cement), paper machete, conveyor belt tiles, and bottle floors are all used. The interior walls and ceiling are insulated using rice hulls.

For information about the camp, please visit or call Ferncliff Camp at 501-821-3063.


Recommended Resources:

If you would like to begin reading ahead for Solar School, or just want to learn more about how we do mission and solar energy, here are some resources we recommend:

Photovoltaics: Design and Installation Manual—Renewable Energy Education for a Sustainable Future by Solar Energy International

Upcoming Sessions


Solar School Session 20: Apr 4-7, 2019


An ecumenical ministry of Synod of the Sun (PCUSA)    469-379-2788
Copyright © 2015-2019



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