When people think of careers that help the environment, a whole host of different jobs come to mind.
Whether your mind immediately conjures up pictures of an analyst, an animal rescue worker, or someone designing water-saving solutions, some positions might not have jumped to the forefront of your imagination. One of those such jobs for many is a solar technician. With solar power becoming more popular than ever before, it’s no wonder that solar technician work is some of the fastest-growing in North America. If you see a future in the solar industry as a technician, follow along with some of these useful tips and make your dream career a reality.
When looking to start your career as a technician, you should first do an assessment of the skills at your disposal. If you have an interest in the environment, are handy with tools, consider yourself physically fit, and have good communication skills, you are already well on your way. You’ll also want to take into account things like having a valid driver’s license, and possibly having connections working in similar fields. Both of these things will expedite your transition into the industry, and networking can greatly expand your potential job offers. As with any multi-location technical position, a driver’s license is necessary for transportation between installations and site audits in different, often rural, places.
When getting involved in any HVAC job field, having a lexicon to pull from is of the utmost importance. Getting familiarized on your own time with key terms and concepts is essential for having an understanding of the job, and making it easier to quickly grasp harder ideas and job-related skills. A good place to start is making a checklist of important terms. Think PV cells, short for photovoltaic; net metering, a way for commercial solar panel users to feed unused energy their equipment has generated back into the public electricity grid; and kilo-watt hour, or how many kilowatts of electricity a panel generates in the span of an hour. These are just a few examples of the basic terminology you will come into contact with daily.
Now that you’ve assessed your skills and done your research, a great next step to becoming a solar technician is to get certified. Though not always necessary, getting a certification will provide future employers and clients with confidence in your experience and professionalism, and may increase the number of jobs you can get and the range of opportunities you have going forward. If you are seriously looking to pursue a career as a solar technician, then you should look into the best technical schools and accreditation programs in your area, as this will help your career immeasurably. A well-established and popular option is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABPC). It’s helpful to know they also accept a variety of conversions for exam eligibility.
Career growth and trajectory is something that anyone looking to succeed in their chosen field should seriously consider, and solar technicians are no exception. Though being a technician is an amazing position, there is also ample room for growth. By looking into other pathways and additional accreditation, there is room to boost your salary upwards of 10k per year, and even transition into other areas of the solar world. For the industry as a whole, available positions and access to funding have been steadily on the incline since 2010, and there seems to be no sign of slowing down. There is also something to be said about moving where the need is greatest. Sunshiney states could mean more work and greater earning potential, however, the solar industry has proven to be one of the most exciting and fastest-growing all over the world.
Overall, the solar energy industry is one of the most well-positioned and promising industries in the job market right now. With so many positions becoming obsolete, it’s reassuring to know that renewable energy and environmentally sustainable solutions are here for the long haul. Plus, aiding in the global transition away from fossil fuels is something you can feel good about. Though becoming a solar technician takes a great deal of hard work and training, if you make use of some of the tips above, you can get a running start into a thriving career. By doing some self-reflection, research, and professional assessment, you can cement yourself as an expert in solar installations and reap the short and long-term rewards of a successful career in the solar industry.