Q What Does A Solar Panel Installer Do
Well, the name speaks for itself, but there are some other things that a Solar Panel Installer may do besides installing solar panels.
These crafty individuals will likely design, create, and repair solar panel modules as well as other electrical modules that may be needed.
Those that gain formal education or certifications will likely work as Project Managers or supervisors to oversee the installation of solar panel modules.
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.
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- Certification Provincially Regulated
- Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest in operating equipment and tools to install and service interior and exterior prefabricated products
Interest in comparing information to measure and mark guidelines for installations
Interest in repairing and servicing interior and exterior prefabricated products
The interest code helps you figure out if youd like to work in a particular occupation. Its based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory , which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.
Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.
A code in capital letters means its a strong fit for the occupation.
A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.
Solar installers work with clients and customers to determine what solar energy-generation technology options will best suit their needs. They then sell, deliver, install, service and maintain the equipment at customers homes, businesses or construction sites.
For larger projects, especially those involving new construction, solar installers work with or supervise project teams and coordinate with tradespersons and contractors to ensure the safe, effective and efficient installation of equipment.
A solar installer’s duties typically include:
Most of a solar installer’s time is spent working out of doors, with some time spent in attics, basements or garages.
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Employment Of Solar Photovoltaic Installers
The continued expansion and adoption of solar PV systems is expected to create jobs for their installation and upkeep. As the cost of PV panels and shingles continues to decrease, more households are expected to take advantage of these systems, resulting in greater demand for the workers who install and maintain them. The increasing popularity of solar leasing plansâin which homeowners lease, rather than purchase, systemsâshould create additional demand, because homeowners no longer bear the upfront costs of installation.
Demand may be greatest in states and localities that provide incentives to reduce the cost of PV systems.
Injuries And Illnesses For Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Solar photovoltaic installers risk falls from ladders and roofs, shocks from electricity, and burns from hot equipment and materials while installing and maintaining PV systems. To reduce the risk of injury, PV installers must wear safety equipment, such as harnesses, gloves, and hard hats.
Get the education you need:Find schools for Solar Photovoltaic Installers near you!
There are multiple paths to becoming a solar photovoltaic installer, often called a PV installer. Most workers need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training lasting up to 1 year. Other candidates take courses at a technical school or community college. Some PV installers learn to install panels as part of an apprenticeship.
Salary For Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Also known as: Bridge Ironworker, Construction Ironworker, Iron Guardrail Installer, Metal Tank Erector, Ornamental Ironworker, Pre-Engineered Metal Building Ironworker, Precast Concrete Ironworker, Steel Fabricator, Steel Fitter, Structural Steel Erector
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Average Training Program Duration: 1
Whether you go to college online or in person, or if youd prefer to start a technical school program, the time it takes to train to become a Solar Panel Installer may vary.
People that want to work in construction as Solar Panel Installers can earn an Associates degree, which can take about two years.
Sometimes, its possible to gain employment as a Solar Panel Installer with no training whatsoever, but most employers will not hire anyone that doesnt have at least 6 weeks to two months of training.
This can be done through a trade school, online, or possibly through your prospective employer as well.
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.
Work Environment For Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Solar photovoltaic installers hold about 11,800 jobs. The largest employers of solar photovoltaic installers are as follows:
|Electrical contractors and other wiring installation contractors
Because photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into electricity, most PV installation is done outdoors. Residential installers work on rooftops but also sometimes work in attics and crawl spaces to connect panels to the electrical grid. PV installers who build solar farms work at ground level.
What Are The Solar Job Sectors
The four main sectors of solar energy jobs are broken down by different parts of the solar power generation process and include manufacturing, system design, project development, and installations and operation. Through our analysis, we found that solar jobs in the system design sector have the highest average median pay, at $76,378 a year. Jobs that fall under installation and operations have the lowest average median pay, at $52,101, although thats still 31% higher than the median personal income in the U.S.
- Manufacturing: Solar energy manufacturing is about producing solar components and involves research and development along with quality monitoring, process improvement, and innovation. This is the sector where solar engineer jobs are found. The median annual pay is $70,409 for the manufacturing solar jobs listed below:
- Materials Scientist: $91,980
What Do Solar Energy System Installers Do
Solar energy system installers’ main responsibility is to install solar equipment in residential and commercial buildings. They must make sure that the installation is done properly, as well as provide excellent customer service to the client. These installers generally work with a construction manager to make sure that the installed solar energy system will meet the client’s expectations. Additionally, they must ensure that the warehouse and trucks they use are stocked properly, as well asRead more
- Assemble and install solar photovoltaic systems.
- Test installed system for desired performance.
- Prepare the site for the solar system, including cutting holes and connecting electrical wiring.
- Assess placement site and measure for security and fit.
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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.
You Will Contribute To Improving The Environment
Do you like doing work that will contribute to the greater good? Great, because solar photovoltaic installers do this every day!
Traditional energy and electricity are sourced from fossil fuels, which emit harmful gases into the air causing a negative effect on the environment. Fossil fuels are also finite resources, so prices can fluctuate and hurt buyers. However, solar energy is renewable, becoming more cost effective and it reduces pollution!
As individuals, we want to find jobs that provide meaning to us. We are looking for ways to make a difference in society, whether it be in big or small ways. Becoming a PV installer could be your way of leaving a mark.
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Q What Is The Demand For Solar Panel Installers
With the world becoming more energy conscious, the rise in Solar Panel Installer jobs is going to skyrocket.
This is because of the use of technology and the shrinking cost of solar panel modules.
Within the next decade, the demand for Solar Panel Installers will rise by nearly 63 percent, which is astronomical compared to other careers in the same field.
If you are interested in this career, there should be no shortage of career opportunities in the near future.
Licenses Certifications And Registrations
Some states require a license for PV installers. Contact your stateâs licensing board for more information.
PV installers must travel to jobsites, so employers may require them to have a driverâs license.
Although not required for employment, certification demonstrates competency in solar panel installation. The Electronics Technicians Association, International and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners offer certification for PV installers. Some states require that for projects to qualify for solar-related subsidies, all PV installers working on the projects must have certification.
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What Are The Steps To Becoming A Solar Technician
There are different paths to becoming a solar technician. It is essential, however, to be aware that electronics are becoming more sophisticated and that equipment is increasingly complex, meaning that there is a higher threshold for expertise. Technicians must have more knowledge to obtain entry-level positions than in the past. Below, aspiring solar technicians can find the four most common steps towards this profession.
Step 1: Obtain a high school diploma or GED .
Aspiring solar technicians are advised to take shop classes and learn how to work with their hands from an early age. Since electronics are a growing component of solar installations, students should also take courses in science, math, computers, and electronics.
Students should maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and participate in extracurricular activities, which include physical education classes, sports clubs and teams, and volunteer work, internships or part-time jobs for solar or construction companies.
Step 2: Gain further education or training .
Prospective technicians who have worked for solar companies as high school students may be able to continue their on-the-job practice after graduating. Others may be able to find a company willing to hire them without further formal training.
Step 3: Acquire an advanced degree or certification
Step 4: Get licensed
Q How Much Does It Cost To Become A Solar Panel Installer
Its possible that it may not cost you anything in order to become a Solar Panel Installer.
That doesnt mean that there are employers who require at least a two-year education.
An Associates degree in renewable energy can take around two years to complete and costs anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.
Many programs are available for people interested in working as Solar Panel Installers as well.
These programs can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,500 to complete.
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Certification Requirements For Pv Installers
Some states require PV installers to obtain a license. Because this varies state by state, you should contact your stateâs licensing board for more information.
In terms of other requirements, as a PV installer you will likely travel between job sites, so many employers require a valid driver’s license.
While not often required for employment, attaining certification in solar panel installation can show your competency and an existing wealth of knowledge on the topic. Electronics Technicians Association, International and the North American Boards of Certified Energy Practitioners are two organizations that offer certifications for PV Installers.
In some states, in order for jobs and projects to qualify for renewable energy subsidies, all PV installers working on the specific project must have some certification. Contact individual employers for more information regarding their exact needs.
Solar Technician Job Growth Trend
If advancement is your concern, you can always expand into project administration or management. The highest salaries are for those with electrician credentials, and you can get the job while doing your apprenticeship. It’ll make you the boss on the job site, since you’ll call the shots on wiring everything up.
If youre lucky, you might prove your worth to a company as an installer, then have them pay for your training on the electricians ticket. You could work for them during your apprenticeship. If theres any career where getting in on the ground floor leads to great heights, its anything in the solar industry.
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A Paycheck That Changed Everything
Gass says his health-care benefits and sizable salary make the early mornings and difficult work worth it.
“That first paycheck? It changed everything. It changed like my goals. Like at that exact moment, it changed my expectations for myself,” he says. “I was able to buy my first apartment. I was able to get a new car in ’21.”
Gass says he finds purpose in helping people use sustainable energy and aspires to work his way up to the level of foreman, and eventually, run his own solar panel business. “When I was a child, I always wanted to find myself in a career where I was actually helping people,” he says. “That’s a very important reason why I’m in this field.”
Gass says his best day on the job was when his second daughter, Raina, was born on Feb. 3, 2021. Unlike at previous jobs, his new colleagues were unabashedly supportive. And importantly, he was able to leave work.
“They were so happy for me because I’ll be the first one that’s happy for everyone else. They were really supportive,” gushes Gass. “To see them there for me in a personal situation, it just makes me more effective working with them on the roof.”
“It just makes me work ten times harder.”
Do you have a creative or nontraditional career path? We’d love to hear from you! Fill out this form to be considered for a future episode of “On the Job.”
How Much Do Solar Installers Make
According to Indeed.com average hourly pay for a solar installer is $19.47. With overtime pay accumulation figures of up to $6500 per year. Overtime is a part of any job but as a solar installer there will be opportunities to work long days while projects finish up. Sometimes, new projects wont start immediately and the overtime pay can make up for downtime losses.
Solar installers are rarely paid a salary but there are a multitude of careers in solar that promise monthly remuneration. Having a variety of NABCEP certifications will promise anyone looking for a career in solar energy job security, benefits and a healthy take home pay.
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Solar Installer Knowledge And Skills
Your work as a PV installer does require specific skills, traits, and abilities in order to conduct common actions while on the job.
- âAbility to work at heights: Because solar PV systems require access to sunlight, youâll often work on roofs while using ladders or lifts that are far above the ground.
- âCommunication skills: As a PV installer you will be asked to interact with many different people while on a project. This includes employers, other installers within a team, other laborers of varying specializations, and on site personnel.â
- Detail oriented: PV systems can be complex. As a result, you must pay close attention to detail when creating and installing those systems.â
- Electrical and mechanical skills: Equipment used is both mechanical and electrical in nature when building support structures and installing systems. You will need to be proficient in both areas.
- âPhysical strength and stamina: The role of a PV installer is a manual one. You will be on their feet and transporting equipment the whole time they are on the job, so strength and stamina are required.