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Out of all renewable energy sources, sunlight is the most abundant and easily accessible.
In fact, according to the International Energy Agency, solar power accounts for 60% of all renewable energy additions.
This just means that more and more households and businesses use solar panels to generate power.
And these consumers call on solar technicians to help them install and maintain their solar panels.
On this page, you’ll learn important information about…
- Being a solar energy technician
- The future of this career
- How to become one
- Duties of a Solar Technician
- Qualifications for Solar Technicians
- Career Outlook and Prospects of a Solar Technician
- Potential Salary of a Solar Technician
- Steps to Becoming a Solar Technician
Duties of a Solar Technician
A solar technician, sometimes called a photovoltaic (PV) installer, installs, assembles, sets up, and maintains solar panels for residential and commercial buildings.
A highly qualified solar technician needs to be knowledgeable of…
- Construction methods
- Local, state, and federal codes for solar panels
By doing so, they can perform with competencies their responsibilities, such as:
- Planning PV system configurations according to client needs and site conditions
- Measuring, cutting, and assembling the solar panels’ support structure
- Installing solar panels and their systems per the building codes and standards
- Connecting the solar panels to the electrical system
- Applying weather sealant to the solar panel and other equipment
- Activating and testing the solar panel systems
- Performing routine maintenance and troubleshooting
- Understanding blueprints, schemes, and project specifications
Qualifications for Solar Technicians
In becoming a solar technician, you need to possess the following qualifications:
- Has a high school diploma or GED equivalent
- Knowledge of the following:
- Solar panel installation (techniques, system design, safety, etc.)
- Construction process and tools
- Local, state, and federal codes
- Detail oriented
- Math skills
- Mechanical skills
- Ability to work at extreme heights
- Strong physical stamina and strength
- Communication and interpersonal skills
Career Outlook and Prospects of a Solar Technician
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), solar technicians will grow by 52% from 2020 to 2030.
This would mean an average of about 2,300 job openings every year until the end of the decade.
The reason behind this is due to the rapidly growing demand for solar panel systems in the market.
More and more consumers have now taken advantage of the affordable installation costs, resulting in more jobs for solar technicians.
Here are the top industries with the highest level of employment for solar technicians as of May 2021.
- Building equipment contractors
- Architectural, engineering, and related services
- Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution
- Employment services
- Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors
Potential Salary of a Solar Technician
Like most careers, salary can vary according to a solar technician’s skills, experience, and location.
The table below shows the average salary that you can take home based on the percentile wage.
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Salary information retrieved from BLS as of May 2021
Steps to Becoming a Solar Technician
You should know that solar panel technology and machinery have become more sophisticated and complex.
As such, you need to have extensive knowledge, skills, and experience to achieve career success in this field.
So here’s how you can become a solar technician:
Step 1 – Get Your High School Diploma or GED Equivalent
As an aspirant, you should begin preparing for a solar technician career while in high school.
You can do this by taking the following classes:
- Shop classes
- Math and sciences
- Computer-aided drafting classes
- Electronics classes
You’re also highly encouraged to take part in part-time jobs and other relevant activities to gain useful skills in preparation for your formal training.
Step 2 – Receive the Appropriate Education and Training
To gain the proper knowledge and skills, you have two options:
Option 1: Enroll in a Short-term College Program
After high school, you can take a solar technician-related program in college.
In this way, you can receive more formal training that teaches you the basic theories and practical skills application.
Option 2: Apply for an Apprenticeship Program
Here, you can get direct practical skills training under the mentorship of a senior licensed solar technician.
One advantage of taking this program is that you can get paid as you’re doing your on-the-job training.
Step 3 – Get an Advanced Degree or Certification
The solar technician career is highly complex, so you might need certain degrees or certifications to start working.
If you want an advanced degree, you should take and complete the following:
- Renewable energy
- Solar technology
- Alternative energy
- System’s design
Should you want a certification, you can get it from the following organizations:
- Electronics Technicians Association
- North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
- National Roofing Contractors Association
- Roof Integrated Solar Energy
Step 4 – Obtain Your License
In most states, you need a license to start working as a solar technician.
Sometimes, some states require that you apply for a specialized (and separate) license.
As such, be sure to check with your state’s licensing board for any specific requirements.
This page is also available in Spanish.