Occupations Supporting The Solar Power Industry
The advancement of the solar power industry has led to job creation in a number of other occupations as well. Many of these jobs do not concentrate on solar power, but they provide support to solar energy production and contribute to the industry as a whole. For instance, the solar power supply chain consists of many different manufacturers of varying sizes. Foundry workers are an important part of this supply chain they cast metal, plastics, and composites out of raw materials into individual components for solar energy production.
Solar manufacturers need trained salespeople to sell their products to customers. Sales representatives, sales engineers, and sales managers are instrumental in matching a company’s products to consumers’ needs. They are responsible for making their products known and generating interest in the products. Sales professionals may work directly for manufacturers, distributers, installers, or consulting services. A salesperson must stay abreast of new products and the changing needs of customers. They attend trade shows at which new products and technologies are showcased.
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Fleet managers may be the solar operations expert in a clean energy finance company or the logistics guru in a large vertically-integrated solar firm. They manage the system monitoring, performance evaluation, and service technician teams that guarantee the quality operation of residential or commercial solar energy systems. They develop strategies and implement processes to ensure service levels are maintained, addressing quality of both technical services and customer relations. Fleet managers may coordinate the remote monitoring of installed solar systems, and enforce a financially significant decision-making structure for dispatching O& M technicians.
Communicating with subordinates and customersJudgment and decision makingOperation monitoring and quality control analysisMath and computer skillsVisual color discriminationAbility to work at heights
Occupations In Solar Power Plant Construction
Once a site has been selected, civil engineers are responsible for the design of the power plant and related structures. When construction begins, workers are needed to build the actual plant. For a concentrating solar power plant, large mirrors are arranged to catch and focus sunlight for power generation, therefore storage tanks, pipes, and generators must be installed before the plant is connected to the electrical grid. Photovoltaic plants are less complex, requiring installation of arrays of photovoltaic panels before they are connected to transformers and the grid. Construction managers have the responsibility of managing the entire construction process.
Construction managers oversee the construction of solar power plants, from site selection to the final construction of the plant. They supervise a team of diverse occupations, including engineers, scientists, construction workers, and heavy-equipment operators. Construction managers are employed by large construction companies, energy companies, or utilities companies and work under contract or as salaried employees. Because of the size of a power plant and the complexity of the construction, a project manager will typically oversee several construction managers, who then supervise individual aspects of the construction.
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Energy Efficiency Jobs In The United States
According to USEER, energy efficiency employment is defined as employment covers both the production and installation of energy-saving products and the provision of services that reduce end-use energy consumption. The BLS includes work with energy-efficient equipment, appliances, buildings, and vehicles, as well as products and services that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and the efficiency of energy storage and distribution, such as Smart Grid technologies as employment in the energy efficiency sector.
USEER reports that in 2018, 2,324,866 people worked in the United States energy efficiency sector. This represents an increase of more than 124,800 energy efficiency jobs since 2016, making it the energy sector with the highest job growth in the country . Energy efficiency workers are dispersed across the country, with workers employed in all but seven U.S. counties, according to a 2018 report from E2. More than 300,000 people are employed in energy efficiency in rural areas and 900,000 people work in energy efficiency in the countrys 25 largest metro areas. The states with the most jobs in energy efficiency are California , Texas , New York , Florida , Illinois , Massachusetts , Michigan , North Carolina , Ohio , and Virginia .
As a point of comparison, the number of people directly employed in energy efficiency , as measured by USEER, is higher than the number of people serving as wait staff in bars and restaurants across the entire country.
Pv Installers Are The Solid Core Of The Solar Industry: They Set Up And Maintain The Sophisticated Equipment And Wiring That Connects A Solar Energy System To The Electrical Grid
Residential or small commercial installation professionals may design and prepare the system layout based on specific site characteristics obtain permits measure, cut, assemble, and bolt structural framing and solar modules, safely attaching panels to roofs or ground mounts wire and connect the system to an inverter inspect installed equipment, structures, or materials to determine code and safety compliance and, finally, commission the system, ensuring that it meets basic performance estimates. The size of the company will determine how specialized any given job is within that broad technical installation sequence.
Ability to work at heightsAbility to be in heat or cold for long periods of timeBasic math skillsGeneral electrical or plumbing a plusDrivers licenseAbility to work at heights
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Entry Level Solar Installer All Locations
Solar Energy Solutions is seeking talented installers to join our rapidly growing team.The full-time position will be responsible for installing SES residential, commercial or utility solar energy systems. Experience in the solar and/or renewable energy industry is strongly preferred but not required. Experience in construction would also be beneficial.
A Utility Interconnection Engineer Manages The Interconnection Of Power Generation Equipment To The Electric Grid A Job That Involves Design Evaluation And Technical Or Material Problem
As part of a clean energy economy, Utility Interconnection Engineers: Oversee various project stages from initial site selection to power generation, including resource planning, consultant management, and overall quality of design Manage the interconnection application and agreement process Direct the technical evaluation and due diligence for utility interconnection Manage deliverables such as equipment specifications, concept design drawings, power flow analysis, site evaluations, interconnection budgets, single line and three-line diagrams.
Maintain licensesKeep up with rapidly changing technology
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Hvac Technicians Install Service And Repair Commercial Solar Thermal Systems They Also Manage Whole
Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning Technicians have long played a key role in solar by inspecting and repairing solar thermal equipment installing and adjusting thermostat, humidistat and timers of solar thermal systems and testing solar thermal system pipe or tubing joints for leaks. What may be even more significant is that HVAC techs are critical managers of whole-building systems systems in which both solar thermal and solar PV can play a major part. Their skills in electronic monitoring and systems control aligns with residential and commercial solar performance management HVAC techs are managing integrated data acquisition for residential building envelopes, and controlling home energy systems through electronic instrumentation, they play a key role in the solar future.
Communicating with subordinates and customersJudgment and decision makingOperation monitoring and quality control analysisSoftware proficiencyFamiliarity with construction tools and technology
Varying Levels Of Skill And Experience
Jobs in green collar industries often require a blend of skilled to highly skilled labor with the use of technology. This unique combination of roles offer opportunities for jobs that require a wide range of knowledge, experience, and expertise. For many of the hands-on or field positions, the training may be on-the-job or involve attaining a 2-year trade school degree or fulfilling trade apprenticeship. About 45 percent of solar companies say they require some previous industry experience when hiring. Comparatively, some positions such as that of a system designer or electrical engineer may require a 4-year degree and extensive experience in the industry.
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Irena Publishes Annual Renewable Energy And Jobs Review For 2020
The International Renewable Energy Agency has recently published the annual renewable energy and jobs report. The report estimates that there were 12 million people employed worldwide in the renewable energy industry, of which 4 million worked specifically within the solar PV market.
Although global sales of PV solar installations suffered due to the global COVID19 pandemic, layoffs in the sector were minimal. The report also notes that 2020 saw unparalleled growth in PV installations in the United States, despite the pandemic.
The report predicts that by 2050, there will be a total of 122 million renewable energy jobs globally.
Training For Solar Jobs Online
Online education has emerged as a popular higher-education alternative.
Taking courses online allows students to continue with their current jobs and responsibilities while gaining new credentials for their resume. Online courses can be less costly than traditional university courses and they can be completed at home at the students convenience with a more flexible schedule. Online training also can translate into new computer-based skills, such as creating and sharing documents and using audio and visual materials in assignments.
Online courses in solar are available from the basics such as a free six-week Introduction to Renewable Energy course offered by Solar Energy International to 12-credit masters level certificates, such as those offered by the University of Nevada Reno and Penn State.
Lawrence supports the use of online courses in furthering solar education. He adds a note of caution, however:
We always recommend having some hands-on component as well.
Costs of courses tend to run from about $800 for a six-week course to a masters level course at about $1,500. Courses at private universities will tend to cost more and will include tuition as well as credit hours.
- Ecotech Institute
Associate degrees also are available. Ecotech Institute, for example, offers several associate-level degrees in renewable energy, including an Associate of Applied Science in Solar Energy Technology. The first two semesters are available online.
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How To Become A Solar Installer
There are multiple paths to becoming a solar photovoltaic installer, often called PV installers. Some workers need only a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training lasting up to 1 year. Other candidates take a course at a technical school or community college. Some PV installers learn to install panels as part of an apprenticeship.
Some PV installers take courses at local community colleges or trade schools to learn about solar panel installation. Courses range from basic safety and PV knowledge to system design. Although course length varies by state and locality, most usually last a few days to several months.
Some candidates may enter the field by taking online training courses. This is particularly useful for candidates with prior construction experience, such as former electricians.
Some PV installers learn their trade on the job by working with experienced installers. On-the-job training usually lasts between 1 month and 1 year, during which workers learn about safety, tool use, and PV system installation techniques.
Solar PV system manufacturers may also provide specific training on a product. Such training usually includes a system overview and proper installation techniques of the manufacturers products.
Some large construction contractors provide training to new employees on their own. Workers learn basic PV safety and are given increasingly complex tasks as they prove their abilities.
Represent Clients In Regulatory Proceedings Draft Legal Documents And Contracts Assist Clients With Project Development And Financing And Manage Or Advise Clients On Regulatory Compliance Matters
As part of the clean energy economy, lawyers with expertise in solar energy: Represent clients in regulatory proceedings before numerous state and federal energy regulatory agencies Advise clients on regulatory compliance requirements and Provide counsel and guidance on legal issues essential to project development, including land use and control, project permitting, environmental review, contracting and negotiation of complex transactional documents, tax guidance, and project financing.
Master-Level or Postgraduate Degree, CertificationWORK EXPERIENCEEDUCATION & TRAINING LEVELBachelors Degree
Solar Project Developers follow a variety of education pathways into their careers, but typically hold a bachelors degree in engineering, science, or finance, and often an MBA as well.
SKILLS & REQUIREMENTSNetworking, organizing, finance and people skillsLeadership and managementUsing IT to streamline work processesFlexibility and multitaskingExtensive negotiating skills
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State Requirements For Solar Licensing
No single solar licensure exists for the entire U.S. Each state establishes its own requirements for solar workers as well as reciprocity with other states. What you need legally to work in the solar industry varies by state.
Licensure is mandatory for certain jobs and practices in various industries. States set up licensing requirements to protect consumers from unsafe practices and establish a baseline level of quality. The license essentially grants permission to an individual to work in a certain occupation with a certain degree of competency. If the individual does not have the license, he or she cannot work in that job. Legislatures pass the licensing laws, which are carried out by government agencies.
In the solar industry, licensing requirements began in the 1980s for solar contractors. A dozen states and Puerto Rico require licensure for solar contractors. In most states, licensed plumbers and electricians do not need a specialized solar license to work on a solar project.
Lawrence recommends newcomers to the solar industry enroll in an entry-level certification program. After taking a course, they know the terminology, they know the basics, Lawrence said.
About 200 solar-specific training programs, including those in community colleges, are registered with NABCEP.
Find out the solar licensing requirements in your state at the IREC Solar Licensing Database
States That Offer The Best Jobs In The Solar Industry
Solar jobs are available in almost all the US states, but some states like California are offering amazing career opportunities to people. Not to mention, California leads the industry and has installed more solar panels than any of the states in the country. The primary reason for it is that California has improved and made some solar-friendly policies, including tax rebates and incentives, which promote new companies in this state. California and other states also owe their strength to financing laws and policies that also involve third-party ownership for solar energy systems. Due to this, states like New Jersey, Colorado, New York, and Arizona get financing for half of the residential projects.
Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Vermont, and Massachusetts are the best states that offer solar jobs because of the sunny weather. Additionally, California itself has produced 74,255 jobs in this industry in 2019. In comparison, Florida created 12,202, and New York created 10,740 jobs in 2019.
In addition to developing significant jobs, these states also increase the value of the area. You will see several new job facilities in the solar industry because of some great solar projects in 2021. Here are some disciplines that are creating employment opportunities in solar energy.
Besides, the five huge and promising solar projects to look forward to in 2021 include:
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Solar Power Plant Constructer
Average salary: $41,940
Have you noticed the construction of various solar power plants in your part of the world? Have you also noticed the number of crew members putting up the building? Are you interested in a similar job?
Indeed, solar power plant constructers perform a diverse array of tasks, such as metalworking, concrete pouring, demolition end erecting scaffolding. Essentially, any duty that would be performed on a regular construction site, whether it is a commercial building or a bridge, you will see comparable tasks at a solar power plant.
You Get To Work In An Industry That Is Helping Combat Climate Change
The solar industry is creating a more prosperous future for generations to come. The average residential solar system offsets about 100,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide in 20 years the equivalent of driving a car for 100,000 miles. Working in the solar helps you leave work everyday feeling fulfilled knowing you are creating a world run on clean, renewable energy. The threat of climate change has increased significantly over the last few decades leaving us to take immediate action. Solar helps fight climate change by providing an alternative energy solution that is both clean and affordable.
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Receive Your High School Diploma
Solar installers must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Take technical courses at your high school to enhance your skills. When creating your resume, list the transferable skills you learned in high school to increase your chances of getting a job interview. When applying for solar installer jobs, make sure you study the job descriptions and match the relevant skills and keywords in your resume to help impress the interviewer.
Take the time to speak to other solar installers in your area via an informational interview, which gives you a better idea of what skills you need. Experienced solar installers can also help you figure out potential schools to enroll in if they think you should pursue postsecondary education.
A Diverse Range Of Positions
Solar is often described as a green collar job because of its positive environmental connection. These roles can range from hands-on positions like a solar installation technician or electrician to more ancillary positions like an electrical engineer or system designer. In addition, the complexity of the industry requires a great deal of administrative and support roles, from sales to marketing to project management and customer service and support positions.
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Career Pathways And Possibilities In Renewable Energy
Are you passionate about green energy and protecting our planet? Are you looking for a career you can be proud of that offers possibilities we arent even aware of yet? Look no further than the renewable energy industry.
You could be working in wind or solar power in no time with the right education and tools to get you set on this exciting path. Here are some of the best degrees to pursue and the career choices that may come your way.
Renewable Energy Jobs Are Booming
Luckily, renewable energy jobs are booming right now. Clean Jobs America estimated that more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. work in clean energy jobs. Energy efficiency accounted for the most jobs in that estimate, with renewable energy generation coming in as the second top employer. Solar energy workers make a large portion of current career pathways in renewable energy, but dont think the possibilities stop there more green energy jobs are coming.
Degrees Fit for Jobs in Renewable Energy
You might be wondering which degrees can provide pathways to a career in renewable energy. Here are a few options that could get your foot in the door:
One of the best degree choices if youre pursuing a career in renewable energy is a bachelors degree in chemistry. You might consider specializing in biochemistry, chemical engineering, bioinformatics, or forensic science. This degree usually takes four years to complete.
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