Age Of Your Solar Panels Plays A Role In Their Productivity
Technology is continually changing, and that means youve got to be careful when buying solar panels. You might think that buying older panels is a wise investment, but in the long run, it could cost you money. The increases in solar productivity happen exponentially, and panels that are a few years old will not produce the same amount of electricity as new ones will.
Do your homework and ask yourself if buying older panels is worth the investment. Its probably only a good idea to buy previously owned solar panels if you can purchase them at a steep discount. Deal directly with the manufacturer and see what kind of deals they can give you before going the route of buying second-hand panels.
Licenses Certifications And Registrations For Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Most employers require PV installers to have a driver’s license.
Certification is not a requirement but can demonstrate a PV installer’s competency in solar panel installation. The Electronics Technicians Association, International the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners and Roof Integrated Solar Energy Inc., all offer certification for PV installers.
How Does Solar Energy Work
In active solar power systems, solar energy from the sun is captured by located in solar panels, generally installed on rooftops in residential installations or, for business or utility-scale installations, in a solar array that is a large set of panels either on the ground, floating on water or in some instances as a solar roof in a parking lot. Depending on whether your home system is on-grid or off-grid, the solar energy is then added to the electricity in circulation generated by your local provider, which will be reflected in a lower electricity bill for you, or used to power your home, with excess stored on-site in a battery such as a Tesla Powerwall. Off-grid solar power systems are more useful in the case of local power outages but are more complex to install.
Passive solar involves designing structures or using equipment to absorb and release heat through design, without the use of electricity. Passive solar is frequently used to heat water for swimming pools or household use. It can also be used for heating and cooling your home.
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What Does A Solar Technician Do
Solar technicians are responsible for assembling, installing, and maintaining solar panel systems on rooftops or other structures. Solar technicians are often mechanically minded and like to work outdoors. Their work is physical, requiring them to be on their feet most of the day, climb ladders, and carry the panels. A solar technician cannot be afraid of heights and should be comfortable working individually as well as in groups. The installation of solar panels often requires the ability to work as part of a team, while service and maintenance are often solo work.
Solar technicians have a variety of job responsibilities, which depend on their experience. Before installation, solar technicians must identify the location and configuration of the panels, which includes determining the orientation of the panels and confirming the structural integrity of the building. Additionally, installations must conform to federal, state, and local building codes. With these responsibilities, technicians must be able to read blueprints, schematics, and specifications and may need to confer with building inspectors occasionally.
Job Outlook For Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Employment of solar photovoltaic installers, often called PV installers, is projected to grow 52 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.
About 2,300 openings for solar photovoltaic installers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
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How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Power An Average House
Here is a link to an article that looks at the average number of solar panels required to power the average home in each state. The answer to this question is more complex than you might first think because not only do solar panels produce different amount of energy in each climatic location but the use of energy by the average house if different in each location.
Job Description Of A Solar Installer
A solar panel installer would assess a clients location and then install solar panels to fit the clients needs. This would include measuring the area and making adjustments so the panels fit. They would also need to install the equipment to meet code, this would include ensuring the wiring is done properly and necessary items are grounded. Since solar panels convert sunlight to electricity, they must also connect the panels to an electrical system.
When not on an installation job, solar installers may be performing maintenance and system checks at various locations, which are mostly outdoors. They could find themselves working alone or as part of a team for larger projects.
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Solar Electricians Tap Sunlight For Electricity: Job Duties And Other Considerations
There are three basic types of solar panel produced today:
- Monocrystalline The most expensive but efficient, using only pure silicon to produce a large, single crystal per cell
- Polycrystalline Cheaper but slightly less efficient, using multiple small crystals joined together per cell
- Amorphous The cheapest cells consist simply of silicon layered over metal, not using true crystals at all, and are very inefficient
Scaling Up Small Amounts of Electricity
Solar panels produce power by the action of photons passing through silicon-based crystals and striking exotic elements like gallium arsenide or cadmium telluride in thin-film cells joined in series to produce larger electrical outputs. Each individual cell in the panel might produce only half a volt of electricity even at peak capacityhardly enough to bother. But by linking those cells together, they produce a combined voltage sufficient to charge battery banks that can power homes, offices and businesses. Depending on the panel size, the resulting wattage can produce more than enough electricity to power a home or office, with any surplus simply being fed back into the electrical power grid.
The 90 Degree Rule
The highest efficiency is achieved when the sun strikes the cells at an angle of about 90 degrees. This can require that panels be installed at variable angles, or mounted on tracking systems to follow the sun throughout the day.
Arranging Panels in an Array
Tracking the Sun
Solar Panel Installer Pay
A solar installers salary will vary slightly depending on which research you look at, but the overall consensus is that a solar installer will make $35,000 $45,000 each year.
Numbers falling within this range are mentioned on at least 8 different salary-related websites. This estimated solar installer salary range falls in line with Indeed.coms research, which evaluated 1,837 employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months . Indeed.com found an average salary in the U.S. of$21.31/hour.
These numbers may change depending on:
Well dive into each factor below.
Its important to note that, as with any occupation, minimum wage may differ by jurisdiction and wages and benefits vary by employer. You should consult your prospective employer for actual salary figures.
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System Panels And Equipment
The cost of your system is also dependent on the number of panels you need and the type of panels you select.
The average home solar system is 5kW, although larger homes may require a 6kW system. Assuming your system uses 250-watt photovoltaic panels, that equates to approximately 20 panels per home, at the cost of roughly $11,000. Of course, prices increase from that starting point for larger systems requiring more panels.
Home solar systems also typically require an inverter. Most solar companies will design your solar system with these components included, but selecting specific inverters or batteries, such as a Tesla Powerwall, may increase your overall cost.
How Much Power Output Does Your Home Need
This all depends on two things: how much electricity you use, and how much of your home you want your solar panels to power.
If your household has a particularly high energy usage, or you want to solely rely on solar panels to power your home, wed recommend getting solar panels with a high output around 300 watts or more.
However, if you dont use much electricity day-to-day, or only want solar panels to subsidise some of your homes energy usage, you can choose solar panels with a lower output around 225 to 275 watts.
Most homes will install several solar panels, known as a solar panel system. A typical 3-4 bedroom house will require a 3-4kWp solar panel system, typically composed of 12-16 solar panels.
The output of a solar panel system can be calculated by multiplying the wattage of each solar panel by the total number of solar panels. For example, a home in Reading with four 250-watt solar panels would have a 1 kilowatt solar system .
Most domestic properties have between a 1kW and 4kW solar panel system, depending on how much power they need and the size of their roof. The table below shows you how much electricity different sized solar systems normally generate over a year, as well as how many solar panels theyre typically made up of:
|Solar panel system size
|28 sq. metres
What Is A Solar Energy Technician’s Salary Potential
According to the BLS, solar energy technicians made a median annual salary of $46,470 in May 2020. Employers do not always require applicants to possess a license to become solar energy technicians, but they often seek candidates with on-the-job training. However, states may require a license through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
Much like other professions, with experience, solar energy technicians can increase their wages. The bottom 10% of solar energy technicians earned less than $32,590 in 2020, while the top 10% made more than $64,600.
Frequently Asked Questions About A Solar Energy Technician’s Career
If you do not have a college education, becoming a solar energy technician can offer you a chance to enter a growing, well-paying industry. The BLS reports that job growth for solar energy technicians over the next decade will outpace most other occupations. The demand for solar energy technician occupations will only increase further as costs for panels and shingles drop.
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Work Experience In A Related Occupation For Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Experience in construction may shorten a new employee’s training time. For example, workers with experience as an electrician, roofer, carpenter, or laborer typically already understand and can perform basic construction duties.
In addition, those with knowledge of electrical work, such as electricians, are highly valued by contractors.
What Is The Annual Energy Produced By A Solar Panel Per Square Foot
When working out the annual electricity produced by solar panels per foot, we go away from looking at just the characteristics of the panel and need to look at the climatic conditions in which the panel is being installed.
For now, we will assume the installations are on a perfect south-facing roof with an optimal tilt angle given the latitude at which the panel is being installed. However, if you want to look at the effect on power production of installing solar panels at a sub-optimal azimuth or tilt angle then this article will help you.
However, even eliminating the variance associated with different roofs to answer this question we still need to consider the climatic conditions of the location in which the solar panel is to be installed because this will affect how much sun the panel gets.
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What Is The Career Outlook And Progression For A Solar Technician
The BLS predicts that openings for solar photovoltaic installers will grow 63 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average five percent growth predicted for all occupations in the U.S. In fact, this is one of the top-growing occupations across the country. The BLS attributes this increase to the expansion in demand for solar panel installations.
The number of jobs available is a function of the cost of solar installations. Federal, state, and local government incentives make installations more affordable. As solar panels are improved, and more manufactured, the installation costs will decrease. Power companies that offer net metering also offset the cost of solar installations. As more businesses and homeowners can invest in solar power, the demand for solar technicians will increase.
The BLS released a comprehensive report on the growth of solar power in the U.S. and solar-related careers. The list of professions includes scientific research, solar power engineering, manufacturing of solar energy, and solar power plant development, construction, and operations.
Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by healing herself into wholeness, divesting from separation, and walking the path of the loving heart. Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.
What Does A Solar Panel Installer Do
As a solar panel installer, you will be responsible for installing and servicing solar panels on buildings and land to ensure they efficiently convert solar power into renewable energy. Most of your work as a solar panel installer will be outdoors and at height.
The job role of a solar panel installer involves the following duties:
- Assessing locations to ensure they are suitable for solar panels
- Measuring up areas for installation
- Making adjustments to building surfaces so panels fit and are adequately supported
- Installing and maintaining solar panels on homes, business premises or open land
- Connecting solar panels to an electrical system
- Grounding electrical equipment and checking wiring
- Adhering to strict health and safety guidelines
- Performing maintenance checks and fixing solar panels
- Using a variety of technical equipment and tools
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How You Finance The Purchase Of Your Land And Solar Panels
Almost everyone reading this will finance their purchase of land and the solar panels themselves through the use of credit. Not all credit is created equal, and youve got to be careful when it comes to interest rates. It shouldnt need to be said that financing your solar business using credit cards is a bad idea.
But, equally bad, is going into the business, not knowing what your credit options are. Try your best to get loans with the smallest percent of interest possible. Shop around and see which lender is willing to bend over backward to make you their customer.
Paying back your loan as quickly as possible is also a must so that you can avoid paying interest on your loan.
Pay Scale For A Solar Energy Technician
If youre looking for a career with a sunny outlook, one of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States today is that of the solar energy technician, more commonly called solar photovoltaic installers. This is a job that doesnt require a college degree, but additional training and expertise could really raise the salary stakes.
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When Do Solar Panels Make Noise
Solar panels are generally noise-free because:
- They dont have moving parts
- They dont do any complex energy conversion
However, this is only true if the solar panels are installed properly. So, if your installer did a poor installation for your solar panels, you should expect the following types of noise:
|Type of Noise
|Attracting structures such as a TV antenna
|Install solar panels flat against the roof if possible.Avoid installing a TV antenna near your solar panels
The Steps Required To Become A Solar Electrician
Working strictly as a solar photovoltaic installer who performs installation, maintenance and repair of solar panel systems does not require any type of electrician license or specialized certification. This type of work can, however, be a good first step toward becoming a solar service electrician since it would be helpful in gaining a working understanding of how all the components of a solar electrical system come together.
State or Jurisdictional Electrician License
Solar electricians who are capable of troubleshooting and diagnosing operational issues, performing complex wiring installations, installing system monitoring software and brining solar electrical systems online would typically be subject to the same kind of licensing laws within a state or other jurisdiction as any other type of electrician. In states and other jurisdictions that have separate licensing classifications for commercial and industrial electricians, any non-residential wiring work that would need to be performed under one of these types of licenses. This would include those working in power generating plants or substations installing and maintaining the electrical equipment that connects a solar farm to the electrical grid or those who work with industrial generators, inverters, transformers or otherwise perform high voltage work.
Associates Degree Programs
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Solar Technician Education Requirements
The cost of photovoltaic panels has dropped considerably in the last decade, while energy costs have skyrocketed. The result is that demand is growing faster than skilled labor availability. For the moment, getting a job as a solar technician is possible with only a high school diploma.
Some colleges and technical institutes have courses available, but these are often not required. They may, however, ensure you start at a higher wage and enjoy greater chances for advancement.
Getting started as a solar technician requires understanding system layout and design, not being scared of heights or tight spaces and being a solid trouble-shooter. Training can help you get work, but the industry needs so many installers that on-the-job training is common. Youre suited to this if you like the outdoors, have a knack for construction and can routinely lift 50 pounds while climbing up and down ladders.