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How To Be A Solar Technician

What Do Solar Engineers Do

How to install Solar Panel Technician Part 1

Solar engineers plan, design, and implement solar energy projects. They may manage anything from large-scale municipal projects to home rooftop installations. The engineer typically begins with a client consultation, site assessment, and financial assessment, which help him or her understand the project’s context. The engineer then designs an appropriate plan that takes all relevant factors into account. He or she may also oversee or manage implementation of the plan. Solar engineers may also need to report on the efficiency, cost, and safety of the project. The engineer may also be on call to deal with outages, emergencies, and system maintenance.

Solar engineers may also conduct financial reviews, ensure regulatory compliance, inspect installation sites, and write technical reports. Computer skills are essential for creating designs and testing photovoltaic systems.

How To Become A Solar Energy Technician

Solar energy is quickly becoming a source of energy for homes and businesses all over the world. The Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that jobs for solar energy installers will experience a 63% increase between 2018 and 2028. Due to this industrial growth, there are numerous job opportunities available, including that of a solar energy technician whose work is to construct, install, and maintain solar panel systems.

There are several paths on how to become a solar energy technician. Below are some common steps that will gear you towards becoming a successful solar energy technician:

How To Become A Solar Panel Technician

There are two paths to becoming a solar panel technician. The first requires only a high school diploma. With a high school diploma and desire to work as a solar panel technician, you may be able to find work with a company thats willing to train you on the job. This is similar to an apprenticeship where you learn the techniques and tools of the trade by observing and assisting an experienced solar panel technician for a year or more before performing installations on your own without supervision.

However, with little experience in the field, finding a company thats willing to train you may prove to be difficult. For this reason, many aspiring solar panel technicians opt to take courses in solar photovoltaic installation at community and vocational colleges. These courses substitute on-the-job training by teaching students the techniques and tools of the trade. Completing coursework related to the career may make you more competitive for open roles because youll need less training than unexperienced candidates.

To perform the work of connecting solar panels to power grids, youll need to be licensed as an electrician. Becoming an electrician is a much more time-consuming process that requires 4-5 years working as an apprentice, passing a written exam, and becoming licensed in your state or locality. For this reason, many solar panel technicians choose to subcontract electricians to perform that part of the role.

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How To Become A Solar Installation Technician

What It

Interested in becoming a solar installation technician? The energy industry reaches hundreds of millions of people every day. When a consumer flips their light switch, they fully expect the lights to come on. This is all thanks to the energy mix which generates electricity all over the country. A growing percentage of this electricity generation is coming from solar power. This is largely because of the growing environmental movement and the recognition that renewable energy resources must become a part of our future. Because of this, one of the most popular jobs available today is that of a solar installation technician. Without this important position, the energy grid would not have as much solar generated electricity flowing through it as it does today. So, what exactly does becoming a solar installation technician mean and what skills must you master to be hired in this field?

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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.

What Is A Solar Energy Technician And What Does He/she Do

Solar energy technicians are trained professionals who have a wide range of responsibilities and duties. The work that these technicians do encompass a variety of specialized functions.

From installing solar panel systems for residential and commercial areas to maintaining their solar products to keep them functioning properly, their job is to perform a variety of essential roles.

Actually, one of the primary roles is to be a solar energy installer. However, when called upon by a commercial or residential owner, they may perform one or more of the following job activities.

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What Is The Job Demand For Solar Engineers

The job demand for electrical and electronics engineers is projected to increase by 7 percent between 2020 and 2030. However, the BLS predicts that job growth for solar installers will grow a truly amazing 52 percent between 2020 and 2030, so job growth for solar engineers will likely reflect this growth.*

What Are The Steps To Becoming A Solar Technician

How to Become a Solar Installation Lead

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

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What Do Solar Technicians Do

Solar technicians install, maintain, troubleshoot and test photovoltaic systems, which include solar panels, fans pumps and other equipment. They can work on residential installations, private business or utility scale installations. Solar technicians should be comfortable working outdoors. Not all solar installations are on rooftops, but anyone interested in becoming a solar technician should be comfortable with heights. The installation of solar energy systems may require the help of roofers and electricians, and so the solar energy technician needs to be comfortable working alongside other professionals.

Solar Photovoltaic installers piece together, set up, and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy. They will typically be responsible for planning the configuration of the PV system to meet the needs of the customer. This configuration will depend on the amount of energy required , the size of the building and the normal hours of sunlight for the location. The configuration may be constrained by the architecture of the building. They will measure, cut and assemble the structure required to support the solar PV panels, then install the solar panels and support structures in compliance with local building codes and standards.

Solar energy technicians are also responsible for the maintenance of solar PV systems.

Network Within The Industry

The best way to find learning and job opportunities in any career is to connect with others who are already in the industry. Chances are, they probably have valuable insights that you cant find in a book, trade magazine, or classroom setting. There are numerous Solar Power trade shows, conferences, and events across the country such as the Solar Power Events Series. Some events may help you connect with smaller solar communities near you.

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Obtain A Nabcep Certification

Another way to become a solar energy contractor is by obtaining certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners . Although this is not mandatory, it is one way to demonstrate basic PV knowledge and professionalism to potential employers.

To be eligible for this certification, you will need to complete a minimum of 58 hours of advanced photovoltaic training via an accredited school. You also need to take 10 hours of construction safety through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and pass an entry-level exam by NABCEP.

This exam is not a certification, but it aims to show that you have acquired the basic PV systems. Also, you will need to provide documentation that shows you have led 3-5 PV installation projects.

Apart from NABCEP, you can obtain certifications from other organizations like Electronics Technicians Association and Roof Integrated Solar Energy . Electronics Technicians Association Provides PV installer certification, 3 levels certification for renewable energy integrators certification, and many more. ETA certification can only be acquired from an ETA- approved school.

What Is A Solar Energy Technician

Benefits Of A Solar Power System

A solar energy technician, also called a solar installer, is a professional who installs and maintains solar panels for businesses and residential buildings. They could also help install other various components, like pumps, fans and collectors. This type of work involves some knowledge of construction methods as well as an ability to learn local, state and federal codes for solar panels.

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How Much Could You Earn As A Solar Panel Installer

The expected salary for a solar panel installer varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained solar panel installers can earn £17,000
  • Experienced solar panel installers can earn £36,000*.

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019

What Are Their Differences And How They Can Become Solar Energy Engineers

If you are trying to decide which solar energy position is right for you, you need to learn more about each.

For instance, the primary differences between the solar energy technician and the solar energy engineer are provided for you below.

  • The Solar energy technician duties entail providing solar power to residential and commercial facilities by installing, repairing, and maintaining these systems.
  • The Solar energy engineers duties consist of planning, designing, and implementing small and large projects for commercial and residential use.

For this reason, the solar energy technician is considered to be a pathway to the solar engineer position. Furthermore, the salary of the solar energy engineer job is much higher as the responsibilities increase, too.

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Before Starting Your Career As A Solar Installer You Must Understand A Few Key Concepts

PV, short for Photovoltaic, are cells that are made up of two semiconductor layers.

When photovoltaic cells are exposed to sunlight, and photons are absorbed by the negative layer of the cell, this will cause electrons to be freed

These freed electrons migrate naturally to the positive layer creating a voltage differential.

Each solar energy cell produces only 1- 2 Watts energy.

So in order to increase the output power, cells are combined in a weather-tight package called a solar module, commonly called a solar panel.

The inverter is known as the brains of a solar system.

It converts the electricity from your solar panels to generate DC or Direct Current into power that can be used by domestic appliances, which use AC or Alternating Current.

Sunlight is considered as an environmentally friendly resource of energy.

With the help of photovoltaic panels, sunlight is transformed into electrical energy.

Recent advanced technologies have sufficiently reduced the cost of solar panels to make it a viable source of power for businesses and homeowners alike.

PV installers put these systems in place.

A solar panel installer performs two essential tasks installing PV systems & maintaining solar power systems that are already in place.

Installing PV Systems

To install a new system, the solar panel technician must assess a clients location and home.

The installers will design and prepare the system layout based on specific site characteristics.

Maintenance Tasks

The Steps Required To Become A Solar Electrician

Solar Panel Installer Career in 2020 â Solar Panel Installer Jobs

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


Professional Certification

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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.

Preventing Leaks

Arranging Panels in an Array

Tracking the Sun

Safety Considerations

Employers That Recruited In The Last 2 Years

  • 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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