How to Get a Job in Solar

Tue, 2015-04-28 10:08

Last Updated: 2017-02-17 12:04

When people think about sustainability, one of the first images to come to mind is a technician putting solar panels on a house. Solar = sustainability. Sure, there are a wide range of jobs and activities that actually make up the sustainability industry, but by and large, many people think about solar. We commonly get live chats from people looking to break into the sustainability industry via a job as a solar panel installer, and they’re not really sure how to get started.

Well, here is your brief guide to joining the sustainability industry as a solar PV installer.

First, let me just say that solar is a great add-on service for general contractors, builders, roofers, and electricians. Professionals in these fields are already working in construction – be it residential or commercial – and, like everyone on the planet, they’re looking for ways to better their skills, gain new clients, and grow their businesses. Solar can do exactly that. Many states have rebate programs that incentivize homeowners to add solar panels to their roofs. This causes homeowners to look for qualified solar contractors to perform the work – boom!

But what if you are completely new to the construction industry and want to learn more about solar energy?

Not a problem. Like every other occupation, there will be a degree of education and training required before you start climbing the ladder (literally) up to someone’s roof and try to put solar panels there. You will need to have a basic understanding of electricity and safety. Solar training can provide this for you. There are a number of programs out there – some online, some in live classroom settings. It really doesn’t matter which one you choose. What matters is that you indeed participate in an appropriate training course that will teach you the fundamentals.

Solar training provides an opportunity to install solar panels

After you learn the basic information about electricity and safety, you’ll want to familiarize yourself more with solar photovoltaic systems. As a solar contractor, you will be responsible for planning the design and installation of solar PV systems. Yet again, there are solar training courses available to help you get acquainted with this subject matter. Oftentimes, these advanced solar training classes will actually include hands-on portions. During a hands-on training course, you can work in a team to assembly a solar PV array. This skill is incredibly valuable if you want to join the clean energy industry as a solar PV installer. You will be able to immediately apply these lessons to the work you will encounter in the field.

Now, with comprehensive training and experience under your belt, you might consider earning a solar certification.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the industry leading organization for awarding solar certification to qualified professionals. Many of the NABCEP certifications have specific education, training, and experiential requirements before you are even eligible to sit for the certification exam. Thankfully, most solar training programs (especially those that are approved and accredited through IREC) align with the eligibility requirements for NABCEP Certification. You should seek out an appropriate solar training provider to ensure that you will meet both the education and experiential requirements to sit for the exam.

Voila! Once you have earned your NABCEP solar certification and completed a solar training program, you will be more than qualified to enter the solar workforce as an installer. You can work as an apprentice for a solar contractor or start your own solar PV installation business! Get started today - give us a call at 800-460-2575 or start a live chat to continue this conversation!

By Lesley Cowie