Solar energy technicians must have a wide range of knowledge in order to be good at their chosen profession. There are several ways that this knowledge can be gained such as , solar energy technician training or on the job training but the best is a combination of both.
A Day in the Life of a Solar Energy Technician.
So what would I need to know as a Solar Energy Technician?
In real life, the responsibilities can vary, but include at least the following:
- Must understand and practice safe work habits.
- Must be able to read drawings and schematics,
- Must know about local code and regulations and how to apply them.
- Have an understanding the electrical circuits and the power requirements of a solar panel system.
- Be able to climb ladders and work on angled roofs.
- Be able use hand tools such as electric saw, screw drivers and meters.
- Be able to install interconnecting wiring ( to the requirements of the code)
- Be able to test voltages and currents to ensure the system is working as designed.
- Be able to install weather stripping or sealing
- Be able to do the physical activities required to stage material and install solar power systems.
- Be able to interact with customers and coworkers. This seems obvious but you would be surprised how bad at communications some new workers can be.
So can I earn as a Solar Energy Technician?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay in 2014 for solar photo-voltaic installers is $40,020 per year or $19.24 per hour.
So how do I become a Solar Energy Technician?
In general a high school diploma or its equivalent is required to enter the field, but job prospects are best for applicants with a two-year degree.
Online opportunities are available and particularly helpful to workers who have former construction or electrical experience. Also Community colleges and trade schools often offer programs where students can gain basic solar power knowledge as well as safety and system design. I would suggest that you start with some of the many free courses that I am identifying on this site as a place to start.
Do I need to be certified to become a Solar Energy Technician?
In the United State and Canada, certification is not necessary to be able to work as a solar energy technician, but it is recommended. The certification is available through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
To be eligible for the certification, candidates are required to obtain a minimum of 58 hours of advanced solar photovoltaic training from an accredited school and 10 hours of construction safety through OSHA.
Students can also take the NABCEP entry-level exam, which is not the same as certification, but provides a way for them to demonstrate that they have obtained basic solar PV systems.
There are also some free resources available from the NABCEP such a study guide.