Are you searching for a job where you can utilize your technical skills?
If you have a head for heights and enjoy working outside, working as a Solar Installer could be for you. This role involves installing solar panels and other types of equipment in various locations. While this job comes with training, you will need to have a detailed understanding of the tasks involved. You need to be physically fit to do this job and be willing to work in all types of weather conditions.
So, let’s find out… ‘what does a Solar Installer do?’
Duties And Responsibilities
The tasks that you are charged with can vary widely from day to day. They will be determined by your skill level, your experience, and the needs of your clients. Here are some of the main duties and responsibilities you are likely to be charged with.
Consulting with clients
The first step in any new project is discussing it with your client. You need to find out exactly what they want, including the end goal. Discuss different options and make suggestions on the best ways to achieve the goal. You will plan the system configurations based on the site conditions and customers’ needs.
Preparing the location
Before you get started, you will need to verify the design of the structure and the measurements. Choose the right location and set up a structure. This will allow the system to be mounted at the desired angle.
You will be charged with installing all the components for the system. This includes wiring, inverters, and batteries. You will also need to apply weather sealant to the components after they have been installed.
Connecting solar panels
Once everything has been correctly installed, you will often connect the solar panels to the electric grid. Once the panels are in place, you will check the electrical system and all its components. You need to make sure that the relevant building codes are followed to the letter.
You need to make sure that the system and all the components are working perfectly. Make sure you follow strict protocols when doing this. If the system is not working correctly, you will need to troubleshoot the issue.
You may be called to perform maintenance on solar panels and other equipment. This often involves creating a regular maintenance schedule and making sure it is followed. You may also be charged with replacing any damaged parts.
Working with tools
You will use a range of different tools when installing solar panels and other equipment. These include saws, wrenches, drills, and screwdrivers. You need to be able to use these tools correctly in a safe and controlled manner.
The Work Environment
You need to have a head for heights to do this job and work outdoors on rooftops and other elevated areas. You will work with power tools and need to protect yourself from electric shocks.
Most Solar Installers work full-time for a company and often work on weekends and public holidays. Alternatively, you could establish a base of private clients and work as an independent contractor. While this provides more freedom, you will need to be prepared to work irregular hours.
What Does A Solar Installer Do? – Essential Skills
Before you go searching for your first job, you need to make sure you have the right skills. In addition to technical knowledge, you need to develop a set of core soft skills. Here are the main skills and attributes you need to have to do this job well.
You will often work with complex electrical and mechanical equipment while doing this job. Have a deep understanding of the systems and the connected components. This will allow you to accurately assess and troubleshoot any issues that arise.
You need to be able to explain information about systems and protocols to clients clearly and simply. This includes explaining technical information about equipment and the installation process. If you are leading a team, you need to make sure that each member understands their duties.
When issues arise during the installation process, you will need to come up with creative solutions. When several solutions are available, you need to be able to choose the best option. You must keep the needs of your client and safety protocol firmly in mind while doing this.
Attention to detail
The tiniest errors in measurements and calculations can have a serious impact on your projects. When reading blueprints and instructions, you need to be able to spot any inconsistencies. Attention to detail is also needed when establishing and checking the correct angles for installation.
You will regularly use trigonometry, algebra, and geometry to calculate measurements and angles. You need to be able to make quick and accurate calculations while on the site. If you are weak in this area, it is essential to brush up on your math skills.
Physical stamina and strength
You need to be able to stand and work in cramped conditions for long periods, climb ladders multiple times during tasks, and walk across elevated platforms. You also need to be able to lift and carry heavy materials and equipment weighing up to sixty pounds.
You will often work in a team with several other professionals. You need to recognize the specialist skills of each member of your team. This will allow you to determine when you need to take the lead and who to delegate certain tasks to.
You usually need to hold a high school diploma or a GED to secure an entry-level role. However, earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering will help you advance more quickly.
Training and experience
You will receive on-the-job training from your employer when you start work. This training typically lasts for a few weeks or months. It should include basic maintenance as well as safety procedures. You may also attend seminars and courses to learn about new technologies and products.
Certifications And Licenses
Although you do not need a certificate to secure an entry-level job, it will give you an edge over the competition. A range of dedicated certifications can be earned through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. These certifications prove that you have specialist knowledge in areas such as solar system installation and maintenance.
OSHA Construction Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers certified programs designed to prevent injury while working. The ten-hour Construction Industry course covers hazard identification, control, prevention, and avoidance. You can take this course online and will gain certification after passing a multiple-choice test.
PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Board Certification
This certification was created in 2003 and is designed for professionals who have earned OSHA certification. Earning this certification will allow you to lead a team and work as a freelance contractor. Applicants need to have a few years of installation experience and prove their knowledge of different systems. The set coursework includes system design, operations, maintenance, and various types of operations.
PV Installer Specialist (PVIS) Board Certification
This certification is designed for people who want to specialize in installation. It is necessary to gain OSHA certification and complete 24 hours of dedicated training. The exam for this certification mainly focuses on installation techniques as well as best practices.
PV Technical Sales (PVTS) Board Certification
You should earn this certification if you want to sell solar panels and associated equipment. This will also allow you to work as a financial analyst, application engineer, performance analyst, or site assessor. The set coursework will teach you how to conduct a sit and performance analysis, qualify leads, and understand incentives.
No prior work experience is needed to apply for this certification. However, you will need to hold OSHA Construction Safety certification. You will also need to sit and pass a written exam before being awarded PV Technical Sales (PVTS) Board Certification.
You need a license if you plan to connect panels to the electric grid. The level of license you need and the other requirements vary between different states. You usually need to gain a set number of hours of experience and pass a written exam to receive a license.
Job Opportunities In Energy!
We’ve put together an amazing selection of guides and applications for you to look at, beginning with the Best Paying Jobs In Energy, as well as Top High Paying Jobs Without A Degree, for some great ideas!
Next, find out more about what different positions entail with my Electrician Job Description, my Electrician Apprentice Job Description, and find out How To Become An Electrician, as well as my Maintenance Electrician Job Description, plus my Electrical Engineer Job Description, and the most common Electrical Engineer Interview Questions you’re likely to be asked.
Now for some great job options, so check out our in-depth guides to the ABM Application, the Nashville Electric Application, and the Consolidated Edison Application, followed by the ComEd Application, the Duke Energy Application, and the Nicor Gas Application in 2023.
What Does A Solar Installer Do? – Final Thoughts
If you are searching for a skilled entry-level job, becoming a Solar Installer could be ideal. You will receive on-the-job training and the chance to develop specialist skills. The average salary for this role is $52,000 per year, which can double over time.
Gaining a specialist certification is the perfect way to take your career to the next level. This is a good way to show that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to do the job well. If you have a head for business, you could decide to run your own business after making a few connections.
Good luck pursuing a career as a Solar Installer!