When you have an abundance of sunshine, you want to harness that free energy. That’s where solar energy technicians come in. These technicians — also called solar photovoltaic installers — assemble, install and maintain solar panels on homes, businesses or open land. Photovoltaic or PV panels convert sunshine into energy.
Solar technicians may install photovoltaic solar panels, which convert the sun’s rays into electricity, or solar thermal panels, which capture the sun’s rays for usable heat. Depending on the job and state laws, photovoltaic installers may connect the PV panels to the electrical grid. The work is outdoors, often high off the ground and on slanted surfaces.
- Design a solar panel system based on customer needs and structural conditions
- Assemble and install the racking, panels and electrical equipment
- Connect the panels to the electrical system
- Activate and test the solar panel system
- Perform system maintenance
Most employers require a high school diploma and a willingness to learn the trade on the job, which can take anywhere from a month to a year. Some students take courses at community colleges or trade schools to learn about solar panel installation. Experience in mechanical or electrical installation can also be helpful.
- Have strong communication skills to interact effectively with clients
- Are detailed-oriented
- Enjoy working with complex electrical and mechanical equipment
- Know how to use a variety of hand and power tools
- Are physically fit and able to carry panels and other heavy equipment