Solar energy technician and solar energy engineers are not the same things. You don’t need to go to college to work as a solar energy technician. On the other hand, a solar energy engineer must have a bachelor’s degree in electronics. Read the entire article to learn everything there is to know about solar energy technicians.
Developing renewable and sustainable energy is critical as climate change becomes the world’s largest concern. Green energy is anticipated to grow by 50% between 2019 to 2024, according to a recent analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA), with solar energy accounting for almost 60% of the expected growth.
Solar energy is the most rapidly expanding renewable energy source. Solar panels have been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that more affordable solar panels were developed, allowing renewable energy to enter the mainstream.
According to the Solar Energy Merchants Association, the cost of solar power maintenance has dropped by more than 70% since 2010. The conversion of light into power is referred to as photovoltaics. Photovoltaic panels, which are commonly seen on roofs, convert sunlight into voltage, then used to power a house or business.
A new technique is being developed that incorporates solar cells directly into the roof to make it easier for homes to produce power. Many photovoltaic panels are linked at ground level to create power supplied to companies and utilities in fortunate circumstances; these installations are known as solar farms.
Employment of solar energy technicians will increase, and businesses will rush to fill available jobs for experienced experts, particularly those that provide photovoltaic system training.
What is the role of a solar energy technician?
Solar energy professionals are in charge of gathering, installing, and maintaining rooftop solar panels. Solar technicians are frequently mechanically trained and like working outside. Their nature is physical; therefore, they must put in long hours every day, erecting ladders and retrieving panels.
This person isn’t frightened of heights and should be able to operate independently and in groups. Solar panel installation sometimes necessitates teamwork, whereas maintenance and repair are frequently performed alone.
Solar energy technicians perform a wide range of professional tasks based on their prior work experience. Before installation, solar energy technicians must identify the location and shape of the solar panels, which includes determining the orientation of the panels and the structural integrity of the building.
Furthermore, the systems must adhere to federal, state, and tribal building requirements. Because of these tasks, solar energy technicians may read blueprints, graphs, and non-responsibility provisions and may need to discuss them with building supervisors on occasion.
Solar energy professionals with less professional expertise might begin by obtaining measurements, cutting panels, and putting them in the correct area. Tools such as drills and screwdrivers are required for installation.
The panels are then connected to the electrical network, normally done by highly skilled workers. Repairing solar panels also includes the installation of batteries, controllers, pumps, electric fans, and the upkeep of buildings that support solar panel functioning.
Once installed, technicians check the solar panels to ensure that everything is properly connected. A qualified electrician must perform the final analysis in certain places.
When the system is fully linked, the roof prologues must be closed, and the entire system weatherproofed. In addition to the primary installation, technicians regularly repair and maintain existing structures and troubleshoot or troubleshoot equipment.
Qualifications for becoming a solar energy technician
Most employers need solar technicians to have a high school diploma and a valid driver’s license. Learning protection strategies is essential for firms that provide on-the-job training.
Specialists who have completed training courses receive better job offers. Persons with similar professional expertise, such as electricians, carpenters, and roofers, already understand the production components and require little extra training.
PayScale (2020) endorses a report that goes above and beyond the BLS, indicating that firms are beginning to accept candidates for solar installations to verify they have appropriate qualifications and a grasp of the work.
Popular technicians have excellent communication skills and can effectively engage with colleagues, managers, and clients and the complicated services and training necessary for this position.
How does one go about becoming a solar technician?
To become a solar energy technician, you must first complete several procedures. However, it is critical to understand that electrical gadgets are becoming more polished and complicated, necessitating a greater skill level. Solar technicians should have better knowledge to secure entry-level jobs. The four steps to becoming a solar technician are outlined below for aspirant solar technicians.
- Get a high school qualification or GED.
Ambitious solar technicians are sent to workshops at a young age to learn how to work. Students must attend science, electronics, mathematics, and computer classes since electronics is a developing module of solar systems.
Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and participate in extracurricular activities such as physical education classes, sports organizations, housework, training, or freelance work for solar enterprises.
- Obtain further education
After graduation, future technicians who work for solar firms as high school students will be able to finish their on-the-job training. Some persons may find a corporation eager to hire them without any additional formal practice.
The usage of tools and job stability are usually emphasized. Trainees who want more specialized training might enroll in community colleges or trade schools, normally taking a few years. They can also study systems design depending on their aims and talents.
Adults with prior job experience in electronics can enroll in online programs or specialized training offered by authorized organizations. Tool vendors also provide product training.
- Obtain a graduate degree
Because solar technology is always advancing, supplies are handled by the controlling authorities. Solar technicians with a bachelor’s degree in network engineering, solar technology, green energy, or another energy discipline are in great demand.
The ETA grants authorizations in all areas of electronics. ETA-certified specialists work for large corporations such as Motorola, ESPN, the United States military, and Google. The highest level of certification is Photovoltaic Installer for Solar Energy Specialists, which may be earned through an internship at an ETA-approved institution.
It would be best if you had a fundamental understanding of solar principles, solar installation, performance characteristics, troubleshooting techniques, safety best practices, and financial implications.
For people interested in succeeding in the solar area, NABCEP offers various tools, including formal recognition and a related platform. Many more certificates are offered to solar specialists who want to specialize in photovoltaic technical bids, design, installation, and maintenance.
RISE focuses on large-scale solar energy installations and uses a solar energy approach that combines the finest creation techniques. Students are expected to understand various photovoltaic systems, the risks and advantages for building owners, the integration of solar structures with the building’s electrical grid, construction codes, and post-installation considerations.
- Obtain certification
Licensing is not the same as a certification. Most states need contractors (i.e., independent solar specialists) to be certified, and each state and locality has its certification criteria and costs. Solar energy requires a separate and unique license in several states.
In the United States, the Regional Renewable Energy Association maintains a countrywide map of solar certification criteria. Aspiring solar experts must consider if their state requires licensure to cease working outside of the law.
Earnings for a solar energy technician are determined by job experience, graduation, location, and additional competence. PayScale (2020) lists four forms of this career, including solar energy installer, solar panel installer, solar technician, and solar expert, with hourly wages ranging from $12 to $27. People who are good at group and practice leadership tend to make more money.
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