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How To Become A Solar Panel Technician

How Much Do Solar Energy Technicians Make

How to install Solar Panel Technician Part 1

Solar energy technicians average $21.12 per hour in the United States, although a variety of factors can impact your wages. That includes your location, your skill level and any specialized training, certifications or licenses you may have. In a city like Los Angeles, where the cost of living is higher and demand for solar installations is also higher, the wages for solar energy technicians are more than the national average.


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:

Tips For Becoming A Solar Installer

So you want to get a job as a solar installer, but dont know where to begin? Here are 4 tips to help jump-start your career.

1. Learn: Before you start your solar career, you must understand a few key concepts.

PV, short for photovoltaic, cells are made up of two semiconductor layers. As a PV cell is exposed to sunlight, photons are absorbed by the negative layer of the cell, causing electrons to be freed. These freed electrons naturally migrate to the positive layer creating a voltage differential. Each individual solar energy cell produces only 1 to 2 Watts, so to increase the power output, cells are combined in a weather-tight package called a solar module, commonly called a solar panel. Another important component is the inverter, the brains of a solar system, which converts the electricity from your solar panels which generate DC, or direct current into power that can be used by home appliances, which use AC or alternating current.

Net-metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed electricity they do not use back into the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backward to provide a credit for the electricity produced. Customers are only billed for their net energy use.

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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.

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Become Licensed And Certified

Solar Thermal Installers &  Technicians at My Next Move

There are many states that do not require a Solar Panel Installer to be licensed, but for that states that do require it, there are some important steps to follow.

In many states, the requirements to gain authorization to become a licensed Solar Panel Installer include:

  • At least four years of experience as a Solar Panel Installer
  • Experience in designing, planning, and installing solar panel modules
  • Experience with supervising construction activities

Some states even require that Solar Panel Installers gain a separate, specialized license.

Its important to take a look at your states licensing map to learn more about the credentials you need in order to work as a Solar Panel Installer legally.

Whether or not your state requires a license, there are some certifications that can be obtained in order to show competency in the field.

These are also voluntary certifications, but many employers look for extra qualifications in order to gain the best employees.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is a nationally recognized certification board for Solar Panel Installers.

Some of the certifications that the NABCEP holds include:

  • PV Installation Professional
  • PV Systems Inspector
  • PV Installer Specialist

Each of these certifications requires a training program as well as the passing of an exam in order to become certified.

Depending on where you gain the certification, the training program length can vary-however most of them are around 12-16 weeks.

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Want To Be A Solar Panel Technician

Do you love being outdoors and working with technology? Do you want to help make the planet a greener, cleaner place? Then you might want to consider solar panel technician as a future career!

What is a solar panel technician?

Solar panel technicians have a tough job. Mainly, theyâre responsible for assembling, installing, and fixing solar panels on roofs. Their jobs are physically demanding. They have to lift and carry heavy things, and be able to climb buildings and other high places, so they canât be afraid of heights.

Solar panel technicians also need to be smart. Not only do they install solar panels, they also have to figure out how to do so without harming the structural integrity of buildings, and how to orient the panels so they get as much sunlight as possible. They also have to repair them when theyâre damaged. On top of that, these technicians have to be aware of federal and local building codes that govern solar panels, so they are in compliance with the law.

How do you become a solar panel technician?

What salaries do solar technicians make?

How much solar technicians are paid depends on their level of experience and expertise. In the U.S., entry-level solar technicians tend to make less than $30,000 annually, but in some places, more experienced technicians can make over $70,000. Keep in mind that technician salaries may go up in the future as the technology becomes more enhanced and solar technology grows in demand.

Working In The Solar Industry

There are many pathways for employment in the solar energy sector. From working at an installer, manufacturing, research and development, the utility sector, policymaking and more. This page provides an array of helpful resources for those considering a career in solar.

Solar Washington Webinar Presentation-Working in Solar: Job Types at a Solar Installer

In this presentation from January 15, 2021, Working in Solar: Job Types at a Solar Installer, Solar Washington Board member Kevin Moens outlined the types of positions commonly found within a solar installation company. From design, installation, finance to marketing and more Kevin provided this one-hour overview of positions, needed skills, education and more. This presentation was hosted by Solar Washington.

Solar Washington Webinar Presentation-Working in Solar: Job Types and Functions at a Utility

In this presentation from February 2, 2021, Working in Solar: Job Types and Functions at a Utility, Solar Washington welcomed Bart Hansen of Clark PUD and Suzy Oversvee of Snohomish PUD , who will talked solar-related jobs and activities at their respective utilities as well as insights into skills and education needed for various solar-related roles at a utility.

Solar Washington Webinar Presentation-Spotlighting Remote Energy

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Tips To Help You Become A Solar Panel Installer


Solar Installer, or Installer, is one of the most exciting and fastest growing careers in the skilled trade industry.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2017, employment of PV installers is projected to grow a whopping 105% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Its the fastest-growing job in eight different states across the US, including California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, and New Jersey.

Solar is a renewable energy source, and one that is gaining a lot of popularity as the world shifts to using more green energy. Solar Panel prices have dropped significantly in the last few years, making solar panel installation much more accessible, increasing the demand for PV installers.

If you are interested in hands-on work and starting a career with plenty of room for growth, working as a PV installer may be for you.

Here are 4 actionable tips for starting a career in the solar industry.

Work On Advanced Education

Careers in Solar: Solar Installer

In order to advance your career, you might decide to pursue education beyond your apprenticeship or short college program. There are a wide variety of options for this, including multiple relevant bachelor’s degrees and certificates offered through colleges or professional organizations. Bachelor’s degrees that apply to this field might include those in renewable energy, solar technology, systems design and alternative energy. Additionally, the Electronics Technicians Association, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners and Roof Integrated Solar Energy all offer optional certifications that can help your career.

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Obtain Training Or Education

There are two possible paths to becoming a solar energy technician after high school: Complete an apprenticeship for up to one year or attend a one- or two-year college program. Each is a valid option that teaches you the important skills you need. In an apprenticeship, you learn through paid on-the-job training while working under the supervision of licensed solar energy technicians. In a college program, you receive more formal training, which might include STEM classes and practical applications of those skills.

States With The Highest Salary

The BLS notifies the following states as with the highest annual salary for solar energy technicians:

  • Texas: $53,700
  • Hawaii: $56,920
  • Arizona: $51,840

The higher salaries in these states are usually recognized as their main productions. They all grasp parsimonies centered around tourism, administration or military existence, and high-tech businesses.

Please keep in mind that only Puerto Rico and 23 other states have stated service and salary stats for solar energy technicians. Furthermore, 22 cities, as well as municipal divisions, have a comprehensive occupation and salary data. The federations and municipalities that have not described may have considerably greater or lower medians.

Read Also: What Do I Need For Solar Panels

How Do I Find A Reputable Solar Company

Tips for getting solar currency

  • Look for solar contractors with many years of experience and a solid track record.
  • Choose authorized dealers of solar panel manufacturers for enhanced warranties.
  • Check reviews for quality service.
  • View installed systems in person.
  • Get genuine customer feedback from genuine referrals.

Duties Of Solar Installer

How to Become a Solar Energy Technician?

So lets sum up all the duties, and task certified solar technicians have. He needs to to the customers and see what exactly they want to accomplish by installing the solar system. Then, based on that, his knowledge, and the assessment of the location, he has to create a solar configuration that will be aligned with all the demands and possibilities.

2. The second part includes measuring the roof and cutting and creating the support structure that will hold the solar system. This part needs to be impeccable in order for you, as an installer, can guarantee safety. At the same time, you have to make sure all of that the base structure, solar modules, and solar panels are in accordance with standards and building codes.

The next step includes 3.placing solar panels at the right spot, securing them, and connecting them to the electrical grid. Then there is a 4.verifying process of their performance, activation of the system, as well as testing part. The solar installer has an obligation to make sure everything is working flawlessly before going off the site. After that, from time to time, his job is to come back and 5.provide professional maintenance.

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How Much Can You Earn As A Solar Installer

Once youve received your solar installation certification or licensing, youll be eligible to earn up to $74,000 per year.

This is the high-end of the salary range, according to Glassdoor.

Your actual salary will vary greatly upon location states with higher demands for solar installation will pay better and experience and source of your certification.

The national average salary for a solar installer is about $54,000 per year, while the low end is closer to $33,000 per year.

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.

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How To Become A Solar Technician

If you’re interested in becoming a Solar Technician, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We’ve determined that 24.1% of Solar Technicians have a bachelor’s degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 1.8% of Solar Technicians have master’s degrees. Even though some Solar Technicians have a college degree, it’s possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a Solar Technician. When we researched the most common majors for a Solar Technician, we found that they most commonly earn Associate Degree degrees or High School Diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Solar Technician resumes include Bachelor’s Degree degrees or Diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Solar Technician. In fact, many Solar Technician jobs require experience in a role such as Electrician. Meanwhile, many Solar Technicians also have previous career experience in roles such as Solar Installer or Technician.

How Is A Solar Energy Technician Different From A Solar Electrician

How to Become a Solar Installation Lead

While most solar technicians are primarily responsible for installation and maintenance of solar systems, solar electricians handle more complex wiring work, maintaining commercial solar arrays, connecting systems to the grid or inverters and more, and have much more stringent professional requirements. Becoming a solar energy technician is a good start toward becoming an electrician, but to begin the process officially you will need to be taken on as an apprentice and follow a several-years-long process of working under supervision, culminating in testing for a Master Electricians license.

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If you are interested in pursuing a career in the electrical field and like being outdoors, training as a solar energy technician is an excellent choice. In anticipation of high demand, there are a number of government-supported training programs. Many state governments have made renewable energy pledges that will require a great amount of solar installations for businesses, public buildings and private homes. There will be purchases made by local governments as well as incentives for local citizens to have rooftop solar installed on their homes.

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Salary And Employment Outlook For Solar Energy Technicians

The salary of a solar energy technician usually varies from one individual to another. Therefore, you can expect to see a significant gap in earnings within this industry. For instance, you can expect a salary that ranges from $12 to 27 an hour or more.

Because the profile of a solar energy technician can differ dramatically, your salary will be based on a combination of your experience, educational background, skills, and the location in which the work is performed.

According to some of the latest data from BLS , however, your average annual salary should range in the $46,000 mark.

Also, for more detailed information on the actual spread of salaries, here is the salary data for solar energy technicians by percentile.

  • $31,000 for the 10th percentile
  • $36,000 for the 25th percentile
  • $44,890 for the 50th percentile
  • $55,680 for the 75th percentile
  • $63,880 for the 90th percentile

Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for these jobs is good for the years between 2018 and 2028.

Solar energy technicians and other similar jobs are expected to grow at a rate that is much higher than the national average in other occupations.

At a growth rate of 63%, the demand for solar panel installations is high and its affordability is low.

With federal, state, and local governments providing substantial incentives for homeowners, small businesses, and corporations, the number of jobs will increase accordingly.

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