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How To Be A Solar Panel Installer

What To Know About Thin

Do It Yourself Solar Power? – Easy DIY Solar Panel Installation!

While they don’t show up on many rooftops, they’re a good fit for some scenarios.

Ashlee Tilford

Ashlee is an MBA business professional by day and a dynamic freelance writer by night. Covering industries like banking, finance, and health & wellness, her work has been published on sites like,,, and more. Ashlee specializes in personal finance and is passionate about helping others achieve greater financial freedom.

If you’re an environmentally conscious homeowner or business owner interested in reducing your carbon footprint, you’ve probably heard of solar technologies, like solar panels. And you may even already be using them to provide power to your home or business or parts of it.

The conventional solar panels you’re probably most familiar with are mono- or polycrystalline silicon solar cells. While solar panels have been around for decades, solar technologies continue to advance, bringing forth more options. One of those options is thin-film solar panels. In this article, we’ll give you the low down on this affordable and environmentally friendly option to solar power.

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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.

The Bottom Line: Should You Invest In Thin

Thin-film solar panels are still limited in availability, but as solar technologies continue to advance, these panels could take off in popularity.

If you have a larger home or business with adequate roof space, thin-film panels may be the most efficient and effective way to achieve your carbon footprint reduction goals and save money on energy costs. They may also be an adequate energy solution for portable use on things like RVs, buses or boat rooftops.

There are always things to consider before buying solar panels, and your energy needs are only one of those. Think about what your goals are for solar panels and then weigh your options accordingly.

For more information on how to use solar energy to save money, check out four ways to get cheaper solar energy at home and how solar panels save money.

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What Are The Requirements For A Solar Installer Certification

  • To become a certified solar PV installer, an individual must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Individuals may need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to enter an entry-level position as a solar installer.
  • From there, a student would learn how to assemble, install, and maintain solar panel systems on-the-job over a year.
  • If you dont get hired to learn on the job, you might want to look for a community college or vocational school that offers courses or even look for an apprenticeship program.
  • Students must pass the NABCEP entry-level written exam, which is not the same as a certification, but it opens a way for them to demonstrate that they have obtained basic PV systems.
  • Candidates also need to pass an exam and show documentation of having led three to five PV installation projects, depending on prior experience.
  • Registration for an exam can accomplish through an entry-level course or a testing center.

Find A Business Mentor

Benefits Of A Solar Power System

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

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What Is The Growth Potential For A Solar Panel Business

As more people, cities, and states turn to renewable energy sources, the solar panel industry is seeing a healthy growth of 15% annually, according to With ongoing technological improvements and reducing costs of materials, solar power is becoming more affordable and appealing to both residential and commercial clients.

How Do I Start A Career In Solar Installation

Get a four-year degree in a solar related field. Mechanical, industrial, electrical, and software engineers all play a part in the solar industry. With one of these degrees and a certification in your area of specialty, like photovoltaic cell research or solar power plant design, youll be a more competitive candidate.

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What Are Some Insider Tips For Jump Starting A Solar Panel Business

You must hit the ground running as soon as you find your first customer. Before that, take the time to develop your knowledge of the entire solar industry, emerging technologies, and installation options. Research the various government rebates and work with a financing institution to provide payment options for your clients. You will need to be able to offer something unique to your clients that other companies cannot provide. Make sure your company is properly insured, as accidents will happen that can pose hazards to your crews and your customer’s property.

How Can Solar Certifications Shape Hiring New Employees

One Year Solar Update! – Is Do it Yourself Solar worth it?

Owners of solar companies may struggle to find qualified solar installers and often need to train new hires. Applicants with related certifications distinguish themselves from other candidates by showing a certain amount of knowledge and experience.

Also, having employees with certifications can help solar companies stand out in the market by going above and beyond what is required. Unfortunately, NABCEP-certified professionals are in high demand and are often difficult to find. Often companies pay for their employees to seek certification.

Another helpful strategy when hiring new employees is to look for trades professionals with related experience. For example, roofers often have transferable skills and are likely comfortable working at higher heights. Such experience may make it easier to train new hires and turn entry-level installers into experts more quickly.

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The Cost Of Solar Power For Homeowners

First, let’s look at the cost of installing a solar power system for your home. The average, upfront cost of a residential solar power system is between $3,500 and $16,000.

Why the huge range of costs? Well, a lot of the variation depends on the size of the system you’d like to install and the type of panels you want to use. Whatever system you use, keep in mind that solar power is capital intensive and the main cost of owning a system comes upfront when buying the equipment. The solar module will almost certainly represent the largest single component of the overall expense.

There are some additional costs, as well. Other equipment necessary for installation includes an inverter , metering equipment , and various housing components along with cables and wiring gear. Some homeowners also consider battery storage. Historically, batteries have been prohibitively expensive and unnecessary if the utility pays for excess electricity that is fed into the grid . The installation labor cost must also be factored in.

In addition to installation costs, there are some further costs associated with operating and maintaining a PV solar array. Aside from cleaning the panels regularly, inverters and batteries generally need replacement after several years of use.

Which Are The Essential Qualities For Solar Installers

Customer-Service Skills

PV installers always need to communicate effectively with clients and other workers to ensure customer satisfaction.

They also ensure that proper safety and installation procedures are followed.

As a result, workers must maintain professionalism during duties and perform the work on time.


During installation, PV installers must carefully follow all the necessary instructions.

If they fail to do the same, the system may not work correctly.

Mechanical Skills

PV installers work with sophisticated electrical equipment and mechanical tools.

Candidates must be able to build support structures for solar panels and to connect the panels to the electrical system.

Physical Stamina

PV installers are often in need of carrying panels and other heavy equipment on their foot.

When installing panels on the rooftop, workers may need to climb ladders many times throughout the day.

Physical Strength

PV installers often lift heavy tools and equipment.

Workers should be strong enough to lift materials that weigh up to 50 pounds.


Although its not mandatory to enter the solar sector, the exam and application process is a great way to learn the trade and earn a certificate that proves youre a competent solar panel Installer.

However, the NABCEP certification is only valid for three years from your exam.

To remain certified once this period has passed, you must enlist for a recertification exam based on the same content.

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Understanding Job Outlook For Solar Photovoltaic Installers

The demand for solar photovoltaic installation is on the rise. In 2018, there were 9,700 solar installers in the United States. Most of them were in sunny California!

However, that number is rapidly going to increase as demand rises. According to the BLS, as of March 2020, it has been projected that this number will increase by 63% in ten years. That is much faster than almost any other career path.

More job opportunities also mean that there will be more money to be made within the industry. As employers are looking to employ more skilled technicians, they will have more money to pay.

Average Training Program Duration: 1

Solar panel installer

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.

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What Qualifications Do I Need To Install Solar Panels

training provider If you are at a college to become a solar panel installer, you might consider completing courses like City & Guilds Level 2 or 3 Diplomas in Electrical Installation so you can become an expert in this field. This number will depend on your grade point average to obtain 2 or more GCSEs.

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

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.

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Electric Quotes From Customers

Customers are often wary of providing their electricity bills. Just a few days can mean the difference between landing a new customer and losing them, so make this process as seamless as possible for your customers.

Most electric customers receive a bill in the mail every month. If they dont, they can likely access it online from their utility. Either way, Aurora can provide a forecast of year-round energy usage from just one months bill taking into account factors like weather, HVAC, and more. If the bill isnt available, get the kWh from your customers meter. Next, divide the kWh by the number of days that have elapsed since that billing cycle , and multiply the result by 30 to get a rough energy use estimate.

Take this opportunity to remind your customer that making efficiency upgrades in the home could drastically improve energy efficiency.

And dont forget to study up on thenet metering rules for your state. Being able to sell excess power back to the grid can be a huge selling point for solar installations.

Setting Up Compensation Structures

How to install solar panels yourself on your roof. (It’s easier than you think)

Solar salespeople are usually paid by commission. Commission payouts are usually paid as a percentage of the total contract price or as a cut of the base contract price.

Commissions have various pros and cons. On one hand, they can motivate your teams to work hard. On the other hand, commissions may encourage your salespeople to sell more than a customer needs, take on cost-prohibitive projects, and inflate project costs above market rates.

Read more on common commission structures in the solar sales industry today.

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How To Become A Solar Panel Installer

There are several routes to becoming a solar panel installer. You can gain the qualifications you need by doing a college course or an apprenticeship. If you already have relevant qualifications you could apply directly to an employer for a job.

You should explore these routes of becoming a solar panel installer to find out which is the right one for you. Although some options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card to work on a construction site.

Assess Your Options For Using Solar

Purchasing and installing a system that you fully own and maintain is no longer the only option if you want to go solar. Even if you rent your home or don’t want to purchase a rooftop system, there are many programs will enable you to still benefit from solar electricity.

Below are some of the options available for using solar energy at home check with local installers and your utility for programs available in your area.

Purchasing a Solar Energy System

Purchasing a solar energy system with cash or a loan is the best option when you want to maximize the financial benefits of installing solar panels, take advantage of tax credits, and increase the market value of your home, and a solarize program is unavailable or impractical.

The solar installer will connect the system to the grid, and receive an interconnection permit from the utility. When the PV system generates more power than the homeowner requires, the customer is often able to sell excess electricity to the grid, and when the homeowners electricity needs exceeds the capacity of the system, the home draws energy from the grid as usual. Learn more about grid-connected home energy systems.

Purchasing a solar energy system is a good option if one or more of the following apply to you:

Community or Shared Solar

Consider community solar if one or more of the following apply to you:

Learn more about community and shared solar.

Solar Leases

Solar leases are a good option if one or more of the following apply to you:

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How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels

While the cost of solar panels declined 85% between 2010 and 2019, the total soft costs of an installation represent roughly two-thirds of the total cost of a rooftop solar system. NREL has estimated that for the average 7-kilowatt residential solar system, solar panels cost $0.41 per watt, while an inverter cost $0.14 per watt. Including all other costs, an installed rooftop solar system cost $2.71 per wattor $18,970.

Since rates of labor vary from state to state, the average cost of a residential social system in the United States can more broadly range between $15,000 and $25,000, before federal and state incentives. Including a 26% federal tax credit, that total system cost would be between $11,100.00 and $18,500.00. State and utility company incentives may lower the cost even further. To make the purchase of solar panels more affordable, there are various low-interest solar loans available. Finding the best financial arrangement can cut the time it takes for the solar system to pay for itself nearly in half.

Can Solar Panels Damage My Roof

Solar Panel Installation: How to Install Solar Step by Step

If done properly by an MCS-certified roofer who knows how to install solar panels, there will be no damage to your roof. Tiles need to be briefly removed to fit the anchor brackets, but the tiles can be put back into place. The anchors are designed to sit comfortably between your roof tiles. They can also accommodate all the different types of roof tiles. Apart from some drill holes in your rafters, there are no invasive procedures involved in the installation process.

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Pv Installer Specialist Board Certification

The Installer Specialist Board Certification requires knowledge of solar installation but isnt as focused on other aspects of the project, such as commissioning and maintenance knowledge as the PVIP. It is ideal for someone that wants to be an installer but not necessarily work on other aspects of solar power projects.

Obtaining a PVIS certification requires 10 hours of OSHA Outreach Training Program for the Construction Industry, 24 hours of solar training, passing a certification exam focused on installation, and fulfilling the installation experience requirement.

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