How to start and build a career in the solar power industry

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Professionals with a career in the solar power industry come from a variety of backgrounds. To get started in this industry, a knack for being curious and eager to learn is all you need.


The clean energy employment sector is one of the fastest growing, hitting over 10 million workers in 2017. As the cost of solar continues to decline and demand soars, there will be more need for workers in this industry than ever.

If you are looking to do your bit for the environment and help accelerate the switch from non-renewable to renewable energy sources, then there might be something for you.

Whether your talents lie in solar research and development, engineering, installation or sales, there is a role for you to play in the solar sector.

Why work in the solar industry?

Like any career path, you need to have passion if you want to succeed. So before you write your CV, consider your motivation. Are you aware of the environmental impacts of fossil fuels?

Becoming educated on environmental matters will give you a reason to work hard to land a job in this industry and to perform well at it.

Helping to bring about an environmental revolution is a noble cause to proud of. Not to mention that the average salary for someone in this industry is upwards of $40,000.

Research and get qualified

Search for jobs in your local area and consider whether there are any that you are already qualified for. Maybe a local solar panel installation company is looking for a customer service assistant and you have all the right experience.

If you come across an ideal job, then look at the requirements. You may want to undergo some extra training in order to get the relevant qualifications.

It all comes down to careful research so that you can set yourself up for success in the solar sector.

Set up a business

If you are not interested in any of the jobs on offer, then why not start a solar business of your own?

Get registered as a sole trader, sort out your commercial vehicle and start flogging solar panels for yourself. This is a great way to get stuck in and really feel like you’re making a difference.

The supply of solar panels is still lacking, so why not set up shop yourself?

Becoming employed in the solar power industry is a dream come true for many environmentalists. This sector is forward thinking and on the cusp of revolutionizing energy consumption.

Find your motivation, then do your research and get qualified. If you feel confident enough, consider starting your own solar enterprise to really find fulfillment in this industry.

Interested in solar? Get a solar cost estimate and find out how much a solar system would cost for your home or business.
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  1. May I point out that your graphic demonstrates how NOT to start a career in solar. A 200lb guy putting 3/4 of his weight on one knee over 2 square inches of the module is a sure way to induce micro cracks. These will become apparent after a year or two and cause hot spots, loss of power and possibly worse. The other person should never be sitting on the module either. As a representative for a solar panel manufacturer I can assure you this will void any warranty.

    1. Thanks for the concerned comment @Derek. If you were to examine the full image (seen here: https://bit.ly/2Pk5BUe), you’d notice that the “installer” isn’t knelling on the panel. The other photo about someone sitting on a panel might have been in the newsletter and in our team’s defense, its a stock photo. 😉

  2. Oh well ? where i can start ? First of all ? ALL those points that you recommend
    Sounds good writing it and exposing here , but in reality ? its far from the truth .
    And let me explain it why ? I started in this industry on 2007 ,in Spain my country
    There this tecnology it’s about 50 yrs old ,start taking Solar classes ,then get my certifications. Then my voluntary work around countries ,then start working for a solar company ,but have my family here ,my house ,everything !! then when I started looking for a solar companies here in California at the time it was no enough solar companies maybe was 3 most,REC ,Solar city ,verengo ,and they were requiring 4 years experience ,plus certifications ,and I told them ? 4 yrs ago you guys not even exist with your companies here ? And then my certifications from another ” COUNTRY ” were not aceptable here ? Was ridiculous because not even the managers of those companies had certifications and experience ? just a roll being a manager of the company ? Well having not choice I started taking classes here at UCR and riverside community college ,then being certified from a lots solar mafias trying to suck all your money ,then the hands on training ,AGAIN !! I went all trough that just to have a Certification from here USA ? Then start applying again for Solar companies and they again ? They were asking for at least 3to 4 years experience ? It was crazy ? Not even they know what was this technology at the time ? So finally one company gave me the opportunity ,when I was in the interview 3 guys were applying for sales ,and two of them were ask me questions about this technology ? And I started explain all about it ?remenber the company had a small white board and I start drawing how the sun works. Sun hrs. Inclination of the panels. Ohms and power law ,and the secretary called the manager to watch me explaining to those sales guys ,and he just said ? You are hired !! And that was my first job educating and training people ? Later I took more classes at college and became a Solar teacher ,or Solar trainer ,from there I took more clasess to get my Solar contractors license C46 and finally started my own business ? So it’s not easy
    Just to open a solar business like you said ,even if had the ( PASSION ) Education comes first !! thats why this industry or field its getting bad reputation why ? Because ,at this moment are a hundreds of “”Solar companies “” that don’t have ZERO experience,certifications,or at least the basic knowledge on how everything works ? For GOD sake ? Even roofers are doing solar just because they are not afraid being in the roofs ????? Or a bunch of sales people just selling and selling and getting greedy ,and then hired a electrician but not even electricians are not allowed to do solar or bunch of “””installers”with some or little experience “” doing those jobs… and then those people having problems with leaks on roofs ,broken tiles ,troubleshoot s,or even burning houses ,even I saw modules facing north ?? not set backs spaces ,trees shading on panels with string inverters ,etc etc even solar city “”installers “” they installed solar panels and never got turn on the system And people didn’t know about it ? So many issues ,so many mistakes ,so many complains ,so many lawyers suing Solar companies( WHY ?? ) for lack of EDUCATION,Solar knowlege ,codes rules NEC ,690 and 691 solar code. Wiring ,etc etc or simply no experience at all !!! that’s why jurisdictions people needs to be more concern it about it .if you don’t have a license (FOR SOLAR )Certification or enough experience in solar just don’t it ?? It’s not your field ? That’s why license Board ,have a different licenses clasifcations B For general contractors ,C10 for electric ONLY ! they can take care electrical part ONLY ,AC or the upgrades for the main panel ,C46 SOLAR ONLY and it’s a DC even if I know how to upgrade the main panel that’s not my field I hired a electrician to do it ,but in this solar industry everybody want to do solar ? ,even if is not their field ? and doing a really bad installs and complains ,and people having problems with Solar …those electric companies or negligent sales people doing solar or roofers too need to STOP ,and putting in a BAD reputation this industry ,I been knocking doors offering my solar services and as soon start talking about Solar they say NO THANKS ?? and ask why they just said my brother, my neighbor ,my friends ,my parents ,bla bla ALL they had problems with their installs ,they lie to them ,their roofs leaked for days on raining season,they promises discounts. Etc etc most of those jobs were from fake solar companies. Sales guys ,electricians. Even people advertising saying that they are cheaper then anybody or they have a friend that knows about it ? Or even a solar wharehouses selling solar products ,they offer or recommend installers ,not knowing their experience or reputation or at least take the time to check if they have the licenses or certifications in order or active or have any complains or if the are registered with the BBB .if you want to be a part in this beautiful technology ,
    Get the education. And certifications ,and the right Training ,involve in the voluntary solar work training ,I have a 12,000 classroom hrs teaching this ,almost 18 yrs installing and training I have all kind of licenses ,certifications training here in another countries ,doing voluntary work for few organizations. Grid Alternatives ,
    IREC ,SEIA,projecto verde in Spain. Solar for all in Morroco ,Sandia project in Africa ,
    Energía verde in Colombia . And still learning everyday ? I am so proud to be nominated the BEST solar contractor and instructor on 2016 in Vegas and received an Award for it ,I own 2 solar companies ,all in One Solar ,and recently I open another one this year Induced Energy ,i have my own training center it’s called and you find it on face book California Solar Training Center .or you can find me on
    Linkin or simply just google my name Gaspar Preciado you’ll find out that I am not lying about my experiences as Solar profesor or Solar contractor .
    Have a blessing day everybody !! GOD bless America ! And the whole Planet ,this is our house and the house of our children and grandchildren , let’s go and protect our Mother Earth.let do our best ,and teach others do the same 🙏❤️🌍🕊🌞

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