Finding a solar installation training program might not be that hard. but if you are a starter, getting some relevant information before committing to any of the available programs will guide you on how to choose the best suitable option.
The economy of today’s world is unpredictable and nobody has complete knowledge of which of the career paths will remain viable in the coming years. But the solar industry is growing very fast. There is currently a high demand for solar installers and technicians. Due to this rapid growth, joining the solar industry and starting a career as a solar installer is a great choice.
However, to become a solar installation expert, you need to participate in a solar installation training program.
This is the best time to join the field and be among those who’ll forge the future of the renewable energy and solar world. Because solar technology is now more efficient and cheaper, more people are including solar installation in their homes therefore it is difficult to be out of a job.
This is why this guide has been put together for you; whether you want to start a new career path, to learn solar installation or you just want a summary of solar and inverter installation training, it will come in handy.
This solar installation training guide will show you the foundation of the job, requirements, salaries, and other important details. So if you are preparing to embark on any solar panel Installation course, read through this article, to find help.
Duties And Job Description of A Solar Installation Expert
It is important you know the general duties of a solar installer. The main task involves fixing solar systems in commercial and residential buildings so that the main source of power will be solar.
It is compulsory that a solar installer will have current knowledge of the techniques, installation practices, safety needs, available products, and equipment. The solar installer can only work when he has the needed certification and licensing to work in the state.
These are the tasks that need to be carried out by any solar installer.
- Installation, configuration, inspection, and maintenance of the solar PV system.
- Carrying out an environmental assessment and detecting hazards on installation sites
- Drawing out locations and placing every component of a system
- Constructing weather coverage for the system
- Keeping to all manufacturer specifications and safety codes
- Making labels, installation, and termination of electrical wiring
- Carrying out tests on the system and making measurement of the grounding system
- Adjusting variables as it suits the system controls
How To Become A Solar Contractor
It is not necessary for you to have a license to practice your solar panel installation in all states but in some places, you need to have special training.
It is necessary to find out the requirements and regulations for your state and other states you may wish to practice in.
If your state of residence is a Tri-state area, it may be better for you to gain certification and license in all the states you can claim locality too. But it is important to get the license of your residence states and achieve a strong establishment first before you spread out to other states. Trying to rack up all the licenses is expensive as a starter.
Related Post: Best HVAC Certification Courses In California
Some solar installers choose trade schools or local community colleges as the best place to enroll in their courses.
A trade school is a great idea because you get knowledge about solar installation with regard to your state.
Attending a state school helps you know the licensing requirements, state regulations, and many other things. Being a vocational school, it serves as the best place that one can learn. There is no fixed course duration as it depends on locality and state. Often the courses will range from several days to one year.
People who want to join the world of solar installation can choose to get their own knowledge from online training courses. Candidates that have prior experience seem to benefit more from this arrangement.
The Benefits Of Solar Certification Programs
Because of how new the solar industry is, it is not mandatory to have a certification program before one can be an installer.
Despite not being a compulsory requirement, it gives your career a much-needed boost. The public sees certification as evidence that you are competent.
It is the one thing that serves as proof of your capability to a potential employer. Certification is also great because it may offer workers a chance to change the location and find jobs that are outside their current location.
It keeps the consumer confident and aware that the worker handling their project underwent some form of training. The certification does not only favor the technician but also the potential employee.
Everyone benefits from certification. For employees, it is a chance for them to have recognition and be different from a crowd of other workers. A potential technician who opts for a solar certificate program is doing more than just get certification because it is an actual course of study.
This is just like new people getting a diploma and coming into the industry. But the requirements for licensing are different in states and some have strict requirements like being a part of a solar apprenticeship program.
First, check what your country requires. In most cases, you can just enter the industry by partnering with an experienced or established solar energy installer. But getting a basic education in solar energy can improve your application.
Requirements For Getting Solar Certification
- A certified solar panel installer must be a minimum of 18 years.
- Prospective technicians must have a minimum of a high school diploma or an equivalent to qualify for an entry-level position in the solar installation
- Individuals should be able to learn on the job activities like assembling, installing, and maintaining solar panel systems for one year.
- You may not be hired to learn on the job, in that case, the next option is to find a vocational school or community college that can offer the courses or register as an apprentice
- Prospective technicians must pass the written NABCEP entry-level exam. Although different from a certification, it paves way for them to show they have the basic knowledge.
- Students must pass an exam and provide proof of having participated in three to five solar installation projects, based on past experience.
How To Get Solar Installation Training
There are boards or bodies that offer the training you need to get a license, certification, education, and other kinds of training. However, your state requirement will determine how this goes. These are the basics of these programs.
The NABCEP offers you a direct search for studies. On their site, you can choose from plenty of courses they have, and they even have a number of free training programs.
This organization is the most acknowledged in the US to get solar panel Installation certification. This is why we recommend this as your first port of call in searching for your training needs after which you can check other places.
Solar Installation Training Centers
A Google search is all you need to find a great solar panel Installation training center. When you create a search, you will be provided with many options that are close to you. If you search well you may even find a free government solar training option. Their specialty will differ but it is largely dependent on the requirements of the state.
Solar Certification Programs
Certification programs are not much different from training centers.
A simple Google search will get you lots of options. But first and foremost, you have to consider your location and proximity to the solar training provider. Ensure you cross-check that the programs fit into your state’s requirements before you proceed with one. However, if you are looking for the best solar certification programs in California, these ones listed below are worth checking out.
- ProSkills Institute
- Coast Career Institute
- University of Antelope Valey
- Solar Training Institute
- Valley Solar Installation Training
To complete your education as a licensed solar installer, a state-recognized exam is necessary. The training center or program may inform you of this including the practice exams. However, it is left to you to find out your state’s current information on it.
Attending trade schools in your state is also a great option. They are often called vocational schools and will know the current licensing requirements, state regulations, and will offer you hands-on training. This might even be the best option for you.
Some states do not require licensing or are not strict with it, and so because of that, you may work with a company that chooses to give the training themselves. Usually, when these companies list job openings they mention that they provide training.
For states without requirements, this is your best bet of getting both experience and training in one package. But it is important that you find a verifiable certification outside of the company you work for future purposes.
The Duration of a Solar System Installation Training
There is no defined timeframe for a solar panel installer certification. This depends greatly on the kind of training you’re opting for. But there is a general timeline and It’s something like the following:
A general course can either be an online course or basic certification program or other similar choices. They are not degree programs or trade school programs.
The general time it will take for these courses ranges from 18 to 25 hours and this comprises course work, study and preparation, reading time, and exams.
Some courses may choose to clump all the work into one week of really intense training. This may be great if you’re in a hurry especially if you need it before an interview.
A solar installation training online program may offer advanced courses where you work hands-on. The duration is often about 40 hours of class or online time and more than 100 hours of hands-on training.
They also provide more than 40 hours for contact and an extra 10 to 20 hours of preparation and writing of exams.
In-House Training Programs
The time for companies that do in house training programs actually varies according to the company. The time frame may be similar to that of the advanced training but it is more regulated and you don’t get to schedule it as you please. However, you may be facing between two and six weeks of in-house training, reading, courses exam, and preparation including hands-on training.
Also Read: How to Do Solar Installation at Residences
The Validity of A Solar Installation License
If you start up as a solar installer then you will need to continue getting more education to boost your career. Also, your certification needs renewal and the time depends on the programs and the state you are in.
What You Can Earn as a Solar Installer
Going for training and receiving a license or certification will place you on the level to receive around $74,000 every year.
This is on the high end though as the demand for solar installation in your location, experience, and certification source goes a long way in affecting your salary. However, the average range is between $33,000 and $54,000. Perhaps, if you go further to establish your own solar installation business, you are likely to start earning more.
Must have qualities for solar panel installers
Customer service skills
As a solar technician, your communication with clients and colleagues should be great so as to satisfy your customers. You should be committed to following the right Installation and safety procedures. Workers should be professional in carrying out their duties and be punctual.
A technician must keep to all the instructions guiding an installation. Failure to do so may result in a malfunctioning of the system.
A solar panel technician will need to have high tech equipment and tools. As a technician, you should know how to create support for solar panels and link it to the electricity grid.
Physical Stamina and strength
It is important also to be physically fit because technicians often carry panels and heavy equipment. The workers may have to climb ladders several times in one day while they work. Also, a technician should have enough strength to lift things with a weight of 50 pounds.
It is important that if you have chosen the path of solar installation, that you’re doing it in the right way. As a beginner, it may be overwhelming but this beginner’s guide to solar installation training will keep you on track.
The training is important and even though there is no standard certification yet, you should keep on with it to set yourself apart from other candidates. Ensure you get your certification from NABCEP and the training is your key to achieve that