Utilizing Renewable Energy in Your Business

Become a Renewable Energy Contractor

Sure, your contracting business is well established, but if you don't have the skills to be a renewable energy contractor (ie. solar) in your area, you could be facing a serious decline in business in the next ten years.

With the media attention about global climate change and the rising cost of utilities, home and business owners everywhere are concerned about the environment and how they can lower the cost of practically every utility bill. Becoming a renewable energy contractor will not only allow you to help clients evaluate what they can do to change their wasteful habits but also to handle that installation for them.

Because the list of renewable energy contractor options in your area may be slim right now, obtaining the skills and training you need to be one of the few may double or even triple your workload. However, it will give you a measure of credibility and experience that other companies just won't have.

Step 1: Learn About State Licensing & Certification Requirements

In order to own a solar installation company, you may have to acquire a contractor's license and/or earn a specialized solar certification. Licensing, in particular, is often mandatory and designed to protect consumers from unsafe practices. Certification is a voluntary standard that solar installers pursue to stand out from the competition and highlight their superior knowledge and expertise. Licensing and certification requirements for solar installers vary by state. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) maintains a database of the licensing and certification requirements for each state.

Step 2: Get Training

Once you've determined your career plan, you'll need to get the training and skills to become a renewable energy contractor. While this can involve simply reading some of the how-to books on the market, you can gain far more credibility by taking courses on the basics and business of solar. Specifically, courses that focus on solar panel installation will give you real-world technical skills that you'll be able to use immediately in the field.

Step 3: Become an Apprentice

Once you have a foundation in solar knowledge, you may want to consider apprenticing yourself to a renewable contractor in another area. As you probably know, on-the-job training is perhaps the most valuable kind you can ever receive, and there are lots of situations that may come up during a job that a textbook simply can't tell you how to handle. In addition, gaining experience on a solar job site can help with networking and satisfying qualifications for a solar PV certification. Organizations like GRID Alternatives and Habitat for Humanity offer opportunities to join existing solar projects as a volunteer.

Step 4: Advertise Your Services

The final step in the process is to begin advertising your services. While adding "Solar Contractor" to your ad in the Yellow Pages is a great way to start, there are several other things you may want to consider as well. Lots of websites are popping up that offer directories of solar contractor options in any given area, and ensuring that you're a part of those directories may offer you increased exposure. Moreover, since those seeking the services of a renewable energy contractor tend to be new media savvy, ensuring that you have a functional website is a step in the right direction.

Becoming a renewable energy contractor will not only help you increase your customer base, it may help you save the planet. Consider getting the training you need to stay ahead of the curve today.

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