Want to Join the Solar Industry? Start Here.
Sep 24, 2020
by EmPower Solar
LEARN HOW TO GET STARTED IN ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING SECTORS!
The U.S. solar industry employs 250,000 workers to bring clean, affordable solar energy to households and businesses, and shows no signs of slowing. With the cost of solar power steadily decreasing, more American homes and businesses are investing in the low-cost energy solution, creating the need for more growth in the industry.
Solar installers, for example, are expected to be the third fastest growing occupation from now until at least 2029, according to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry also employs a wide range of jobs across different sectors, including manufacturing, construction, research and development, and installation.
With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to understand how to break into the industry. Here are a few tips to help you on your way to a career in solar.
Look for job opportunities in your local area to see if there are any for which you may already be qualified. Think critically about your existing skills and strengths to determine if you would make for a good candidate. Strong communication skills, strong self-discipline, and a can-do attitude could make you an excellent salesperson. Electrical or construction experience and enjoyment of working with a tight-knit crew might inspire you to apply to be a solar installer.
If you find that you aren’t qualified for any existing roles, spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of the industry. Research industry-specific organizations like the Solar Energy Industries Association (here’s our local NY chapter) and Solar Energy International. These organizations often offer free resources that you can use to familiarize yourself with all things solar. Trade publications, like Solar Power World and SolarWakeup are excellent sources of information.
TRAINING + CERTIFICATION
Give yourself a competitive edge when you enter the workforce with industry-specific training and certification. Many recruiters looking to fill field positions will look for candidates with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety training, or require that solar engineers hold certifications from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
As you start to pick up some industry lingo and learn more about solar energy, connect with people already working in solar. LinkedIn is a great place to start networking and learning how solar professionals started their careers. Active networking can help you keep a pulse on the job market, build relationships with like-minded professionals, and help develop your career.
NEGOTIATE SALARY + BENEFITS
Getting your start in an emerging industry can pay off big. Since most companies are growing fast, there is a lot of room for growth and leadership, and because demand for workers is high, pay rates are competitive with other skilled trades. On average, a solar installer could expect to start at $18 to $22 per hour, with experienced installers earning as high as $35 or more per hour. An entry level solar designer/engineer could expect a salary of $38,000 to $42,000 annually.
If you’re ready to get a start in solar energy, or are looking to advance your career, check out our current opportunities.