Solar energy systems are becoming more and more popular among homeowners and business spaces. As a result, many people might consider pursuing their careers as certified solar installers.
If you are an aspirant aiming to start your journey as a solar installer, you have arrived at the right place. The world is slowly coming to realize the benefits of renewable energy.
Hence, there could not have been a better time to transition into the industry as a certified solar installer. Becoming a certified solar installer requires an in-depth understanding and basic qualifications.
Are you worried about where to start?
Well, this article attempts to kickstart your journey as a solar installer. We’ve covered all the bases to help you become a certified solar installer!
- 1 What Are the Duties of a Solar Installer?
- 2 How Can I Become a Solar Contractor?
- 3 Where Can I Get Training for a Solar Installer Certification?
- 4 What Is the Importance of a Certification for Solar Installers?
- 5 What Are the Requirements for Getting Certified?
- 6 What Is the Duration of Solar Technician Training?
- 7 What Is the Validity Period of the License?
- 8 How Much Can I Earn as a Solar Installer?
- 9 Conclusion
What Are the Duties of a Solar Installer?
First off, let’s begin with a general role description of a certified solar installer. This section will introduce you to the role and what it has in store for you.
A solar contractor or installer fixes solar-driven systems at the commercial and residential location to switch to solar power.
A solar installer must possess up-to-date knowledge on installation practices, appropriate techniques, and safety concerns. Moreover, having a fair idea about the upcoming technology and products in the industry is also vital.
Also, solar installers must meet the licensing and certification requirements.
Responsibilities of a Solar Installer
As a solar installer, these are some of your responsibilities:
- Inspecting, installing, maintaining, and configuring all types of solar PV systems
- Detecting hazards and analyzing the environments for solar PV system installations
- Mapping out ideal locations and positioning for each component of the solar PV system
- Sealing the solar PV system against weather conditions
- Adhering to manufacturing specifications and all safety codes
- Terminating, installing, and labeling electrical wiring
- Making adjustments as necessary to all system controls
- Checking the PV system and measuring all grounding systems
Skills Required to Become a Solar Installer
Here are some of the qualities that every solar installer should display:
- One of the essential qualities of a solar installer is customer care skills. You have to learn the art of keeping your customers happy and making them feel well-treated. A solar installer should offer satisfactory services from start to finish.
- Another essential quality is attention to detail. A good solar panel installer must be very particular and detail-oriented when it comes to solar panel installation. Staying alert will help the solar installer avoid any errors during installation.
- The solar installer should also be physically fit. This role demands physical strength and activeness. Plus, it would help if you were not afraid of heights or physical challenges.
- Solar installers also need recertification. Recertification is a refresher course that will help you hone your skills and knowledge in the field.
- If you want to become a solar installer, you should display mechanical skills. Mechanical skills such as electrical experience, construction experience, etc., are crucial for this role.
How Can I Become a Solar Contractor?
You don’t need to hold a legal license to become a solar installer in every state. However, many states require specific training as a prerequisite for this role. Plus, the requirements might be different for commercial or residential installations.
If you reside in a Tri-state area, you can become licensed and certified in surrounding states. We recommend you give yourself time to get licensed and establish yourself in your region. Note that licensing can be expensive up-front but pays off in the long run.
State websites declare different laws and regulations for solar installer licensing.
What is NABCEP?
One of the most common requirements in various states across America is NABCEP. NABCEP stands for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
NABCEP is the global certification leader in the renewable energy sector. With the NABCEP certification, you’ll become qualified to work anywhere in the world as a solar installer.
What Are the Licensing Requirements in the Different States?
This section breaks down the licensing requirements across different states to make it a tad easier for you. Here’s the detailed table:
|Alabama||SRCC and NABCEP licensing|
|Alaska||No specific requirements|
|Arkansas||No specific requirements|
|California||Solar contractors' license|
|Colorado||No specific state requirements, but some counties require licensing|
|Connecticut||Business with NABCEP license and PV-1 or EI-1 licensed contractor|
|Delaware||A NABCEP license is recommended to qualify for rebates|
|Florida||Solar contractor license|
|Georgia||No specific requirements|
|Hawaii||Solar energy contractor license|
|Idaho||Idaho solar PV license plus NABCEP|
|Illinois||No specific requirements|
|Indiana||No specific requirements|
|Iowa||No specific requirements|
|Kansas||No specific requirements|
|Kentucky||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|Maine||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|Maryland||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|Massachusetts||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|Michigan||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|Minnesota||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|Mississippi||No specific requirements|
|Missouri||No specific state requirements, but some counties require licensing|
|Montana||No specific requirements|
|Nebraska||No specific requirements|
|Nevada||Nevada State Contractors License|
|New Hampshire||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|New Jersey||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|New Mexico||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|New York||Licensure is regulated at county level|
|North Carolina||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|North Dakota||No specific requirements|
|Ohio||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|Oklahoma||No specific requirements|
|Oregon||No specific requirements|
|Pennsylvania||NABCEP, NECA, IRED, ISPQ, or IBEW certification|
|Rhode Island||State licensing|
|Sourth Carolina||Only licensed electricians permitted|
|South Dakota||Only licensed electricians permitted|
|Tennessee||No requirements, but requires licensed electrician as a part of the workforce|
|Texas||Only licensed electricians permitted|
|Vermont||Certified solar partnership|
|Virgina||State Alternative Energy Systems Specialization|
|Washington||Requires licensed technicians|
|West Virgina||Requires licensed technicians|
|Wisconsin||No specific requirements|
|Wyoming||Requires licensed technicians|
Where Can I Get Training for a Solar Installer Certification?
Many solar installers prefer to get solar installation training at a local community college. However, there are also vocational schools to acquaint you with the same.
These schools and colleges impart the right training and knowledge that installers require. Plus, having a college certificate will give you an edge over other installers without the certificate.
For the best training as a solar installer, you should reach out to schools in your local areas.
These days, many companies provide short-term training to people looking to explore this field. However, if you want to become a certified solar installer, you have to dedicate a substantial amount of time.
Every state imposes a unique set of regulations guiding the kind of training required. Besides, training will give you a first-hand idea of what installers should do on the field.
Performing installations and maintenance tasks with a qualified installer will help you hone your skills. The training typically includes the precautionary measures required and the step-by-step process for installation.
Before you set out to practice professionally, you will require at least two years of training. In our opinion, it is always better to get some experience before you begin working professionally.
If you want to become a professionally certified installer, you should possess some experience in the industry. It means that you should have some installation experience under the supervision of a certified installer.
Once you provide proof of apprenticeship, you will receive your certification or license. To acquire the necessary skills, you have to devote at least two to three years to an apprenticeship.
An apprenticeship is a crucial step as it helps you to gain the necessary skills for the role. Once you complete your apprenticeship program, you will receive your certificate.
The latest innovations in technology are also revolutionizing how solar installers receive their training. Many people prefer opting for online courses. You may also go through the video tutorials on the internet.
Watching videos is a great training source if you are looking for a crash course on solar installation. These videos consist of many primary and advanced classes.
Moreover, many online courses provide a certificate to these learners.
What Is the Importance of a Certification for Solar Installers?
When you hold a license or certificate from a known institution, people will find you credible and trustworthy.
Even though having a certification is not mandatory, it is always good to have one. After all, with a certificate, you will have proof of your expertise. Plus, you’ll stay updated with the latest innovations.
Another benefit of having a certification is that you will receive better job opportunities. Most solar companies today emphasize the importance of certified and licensed solar installers. With proper certification, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Passing a certification class conveys that you have the right training and knowledge for solar-driven system installations.
What Are the Requirements for Getting Certified?
You need to meet the eligibility requirements to receive a certification. The criteria are mentioned below:
- To become a solar panel installer, you must be above the age of 18 years.
- It is mandatory to pass a certification exam to establish yourself as a qualified solar installer.
- You must possess an A-level certificate or a high school diploma.
- Interested candidates must know how to install, maintain, and assemble solar panel systems.
- Finally, it is also mandatory to pass your North American Board of Certification Energy Practitioners exam.
What Is the Duration of Solar Technician Training?
Solar panel installer training has a varying time frame. It mostly depends on the type of course you choose. The following sections will discuss the duration of each solar training program in detail.
General Solar Technician Courses
The general courses will introduce you to the basics of the certification program. These courses won’t be as intricate as degree programs or trade school programs.
In general, such courses should not take anymore than 18 to 25 hours. This time frame accounts for course work, study and preparation, reading time, and examination time.
Many courses will combine the study and the work in a single week. You should expect intense learning and long work hours during this period. If you are in a hurry to obtain your certification, this course is your best bet.
Advanced Courses for Solar Installers
You’ll also find many advanced courses on this subject. There are hands-on programs and many online advanced programs to help you become an established solar installer. Such advanced courses typically run 40 hours of classroom or online time.
Also, the time for hand-on training might extend up to 100 hours. There’ll be another 40 hours for advanced contact hours, apart from examination time and preparation time.
In-House Training Courses
There are solar panel companies that offer in-house training. But, there is no generalized time frame for such in-house training courses. It depends on the requirements of the company.
The duration is likely to be similar to advanced training courses. Moreover, the in-house training programs are more compact than advanced courses.
You might have to complete two to six weeks of in-house hands-on training with courses, besides reading, preparation, and exam time.
What Is the Validity Period of the License?
The validity period of solar installer certification varies from state to state. Generally, it would be best if you continued receiving education throughout your time as a solar installer.
It is recommended that you recertify every three to four years. The validity period will also depend on the programs in place.
How Much Can I Earn as a Solar Installer?
Most of the interested candidates in this field have a common query about the financial fruit of this job. Once you receive your certification or license, you’ve unlocked doors to unimaginable income.
You can earn as much as $74,000 a year as a solar installer.
However, the actual salary of a solar installer greatly varies from location to location. States with more demand for PV systems will pay better for this job. Plus, your certification and experience also play a role in determining the pay.
The national average earning for a solar installer is near about $54,000 for a year. On the other hand, the low-end earnings of a solar installer are around $33,00 a year.
Once you understand the responsibilities, receive a certification, and have sufficient experience, you’re ready for the role!
Becoming a professional solar installer is not going to be an easy journey. However, the role of solar technicians is one of the most rewarding ones. Plus, after training, you’ll have the confidence to proceed with any solar installation process.
With the certification, getting a job in a solar panel company will be much easier.
Besides, this is the right time to enter the professional solar market. The demand for solar panel systems is growing tremendously, and professionals serving this industry are in demand.
So, if you want to become a certified solar installer, we hope this guide helped you!