The solar industry is rapidly growing due to national initiatives that are in place to encourage the use of renewable energy sources. This growth has allowed the number of job opportunities within the solar market to quickly increase; solar has doubled its workforce since 2009! Because the field is steadily growing, it is a great industry to enter.
Having many talented solar panel installers is necessary for the solar market to continue growing. The solar installer field is unique in that it requires skill in both electrical work as well as roofing. Many people are realizing the demand for these positions and are interested in joining the field. Here are some helpful tips on how to become a certified solar panel installer and the skills necessary to be successful within the industry.
Training and Licensing
Currently each state has their own licensing requirements needed to become a qualified member of the solar sector. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has a helpful map of the U.S. that provides information on each state’s requirements for installing photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. Find out what the licensing requirements are in your state.
Going through training courses is typically the first step in acquiring the licenses needed to install solar panel systems legally. The IREC has developed quality and competency standards for renewable energy training programs, and Solar Energy International is a great place to receive the high-quality training. Solar Energy International provides both hands-on and online training done by some of the most experienced solar installer professionals in the country.
After receiving the appropriate amount of training, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers certification and certificate programs for solar energy professionals throughout the U.S. They consider themself to be the “gold standard” in PV and solar thermal installation certification. They offer programs and services geared towards both entry-level workers as well as those who are more experienced in the field.
Skills to be Successful
You need a sufficient amount of training and certifications to enter the solar installation workforce, but you also need certain traits and qualifications in order to be successful. As you will be dealing directly with home and business owners, it is essential to have great customer service skills. A PV system is a fairly large investment for most people so they are heavily involved in the process and must feel comfortable working with the installer to develop their PV system.
As a solar panel installer, you will be performing a large amount of manual labor. You will need the physical strength and stamina to complete the work, as well as the ability to tolerate all sorts of weather conditions as you will be working outdoors. In addition, it is essential that you are not afraid heights because many PV systems are installed on rooftops.
Many solar installer positions also require experience with power tools and small machinery. A background in construction and experience working with all types of building materials are highly preferred.
Once you have all the necessary training and certification and if you think the industry is a good fit for you, begin your search for open positions at Great Green Careers. Good luck!