Renewable energy is essential for a sustainable future. If you want to play your part for people and the planet, then renewable energy volunteer work is a great start. Clean energy will be crucial in all parts of the transition to a post-fossil fuel world. We should work on these changes in our homes, businesses, our communities, in wider society, and around the globe. Thankfully, to do so, there are a growing number of choices of renewable energy volunteer programs abroad where you can use your time and skills and help our progress.
We need to move away from finite and polluting fuel sources. Fortunately, our sun and natural environments provide abundant energy that can easily meet humanity's needs. If only we do the work required to harness it.
Are you studying renewable energy and sustainability? Looking to forge a career in this field? Or simply have a casual interest and a desire to do good? Taking part in one of these programs could be a good choice for you.
But volunteering is not just about you.
In addition to the personal benefits, you will also be able to say that you played a role in combating our climate crisis. You can, quite literally, play a role in safeguarding the future of humanity on this planet.
There is a range of different ways to volunteer within the renewable energy sector. Or to volunteer on projects that give you deeper insight into how renewable energy intersects with other areas of eco-living and sustainability.
In no particular order, here are 15 renewable energy volunteer opportunities available around the world.
SunWork is a non-profit solar power installer operating in sunny California. They aim to make solar power more affordable with the help of trained volunteers. You can volunteer to undertake the basic training and help in a practical way to install solar and build our way to a better future.
Through your efforts to help install solar systems, you can help expand this renewable energy option for nonprofit organizations. The main beneficiaries would include low-energy-use homeowners who may not otherwise be able to afford the installation.
If you are interested in how sustainable energies can benefit permaculture food production systems and biodynamic farms, then this program could be perfect for you. The sustainable ideas of organic, permaculture food production, and renewable energy go hand in hand. Here, you can explore both through practical farm work and education at this beautiful Vista Hermosa farm project in Costa Rica.
GRID Alternatives works to install clean cookstoves in rural households in Nicaragua which are already producing clean energy from GRID solar home systems. Several other upcoming projects in various regions will allow you to get hands-on and install solar or other green energy solutions for those who need them.
Through Connect 123, there are several challenging environment and sustainability internships available in Buenos Aires. As the city seeks to boost its sustainability and interest in protecting the environment grows, there are plenty of opportunities popping up with nonprofit organizations and eco-friendly companies. There are opportunities to get involved in a range of different sustainable projects – including those relating to renewable energy.
Maximo Nivel is a leading organization in study abroad and educational travel. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer in various sectors, including sustainable food production, sustainable construction, and renewable energy. Volunteers can explore the beautiful sites of Latin America while making a positive contribution to local communities in an underdeveloped country. There is also Spanish language training, and college credit is available.
This renewable energy internship allows applicants to work on designing and implementing sustainable renewable energy initiatives. They can live and work in a surfing paradise in a semi-rural Peruvian community, and help to improve the lives of the local community and aid the environment. This opportunity allows you to work with an NGO (EcoSwell) to develop educational, socio-economic, and infrastructure projects.
Gain knowledge and experience in eco-farming, bio-construction (including renewable energy), and permaculture at this site in Brazil. Eco Camhinos offers short of long-term volunteering opportunities that will allow you to work within a sustainable framework. Here, you will learn more about integrating renewable energy into truly sustainable and eco-friendly systems.
The Scottish community-owned island of Eigg, purchased by the community in 1997, is entirely energy self-sufficient. The island's power comes from a mixture of renewable sources – solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric schemes. Volunteers can spend time working with the Eigg Heritage Trust to learn more about the island's renewable energy schemes. They also work with the community to complete essential conservation tasks and practical projects.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms vary across different programs. While the focus is on sustainable organic farming, there are also plenty of opportunities to get involved with renewable energy projects. There are sustainable sites around the world where you can see how countries power the future of farming with renewables.
A team of international volunteers helps the EEC to promote best practices and knowledge sharing in renewable energy across the globe. Some rewarding volunteer opportunities can help boost your self-confidence and learn new skills. Since 1975, the EEC has also been running professional renewable energy and energy efficiency training courses.
Carpe Diem's immersive education programs take young people around the world. Many gap year opportunities will allow you to delve into many details of sustainability, permaculture, and climate change-related issues – including renewable energy. An India semester could be a good way to get some insight into the complexities of addressing climate change. It will also allow you to enjoy a range of activities as well as volunteer at a permaculture site in the Himalayas.
An energy and environmental sustainability internship in China could be a great way to gain meaningful work experience. Specifically in an area relevant to your studies or potential career choice. China is leading the world in the adoption of and advancement of clean, green energy. Here you will get the chance to learn and boost your CV while you work within this important arena.
Project Everest has several ventures in various sustainability sectors, working in various locations on renewable energy projects, in environmental sustainability, and other related issues. There is a range of overseas internships for various projects, that will allow you to learn and immerse yourself at the heart of sustainable communities for 4-12 weeks.
Build Abroad offers a range of construction volunteering opportunities around the world. There is potential to include renewable energy through the inclusion of volunteer solar projects as part of the design and building process. This could mean a great choice for those who want to be hands-on. And those who want to make an immediate difference to people's lives by providing them with clean, green energy.
This is another great option for those who want to explore renewable energy in sustainable building. The Poosh offers hands-on sustainable self-build projects. This will allow you not only to explore renewable power generation but also how we can build homes using less energy. And how we can design these homes to consume less energy during use through passive solar design and other methods.
As you can see from the above, there is a wide range of ways that you could get involved in renewable energy. You can volunteer on projects that promote renewable sources of power and explore how other regions use renewable energy in food production, sustainable construction etc.
By traveling outside your comfort zone, and away from what you know, you can get a broader picture of our planet and sustainability. You gain a better appreciation for the challenges involved in the transition to a zero-carbon future. And you can meet like-minded people who also wish to be the change they wish to see.
As a novice, or as someone seeking to pursue a career in this field, travel will help to expand your knowledge base. It will also encourage innovation, and help fund projects to get renewables into businesses and homes.
Volunteering in one of the ways mentioned above, or seeking out other ways to get involved, can help you learn and grow as a person. It could also allow you to play a role in enabling the transition to a greener future.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.