How To Work In The Solar Industry?

How to work in the solar industry?

The solar industry has experienced rapid growth over the past decade as the costs of solar panels and installation have fallen dramatically. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. solar market grew 36% in 2021 to a record 23.7 gigawatts of new installations [1]. This growth is expected to continue as more homeowners and businesses opt for solar to reduce electricity costs and lower their carbon footprint.

Several factors are driving the solar industry’s growth, including supportive government policies, improved technologies, and increased customer demand. The plummeting costs of solar panels and batteries have also made solar power competitive with conventional energy sources like coal and natural gas in many parts of the U.S.

The robust growth has led to an increase in solar jobs, which include positions like solar installers, sales representatives, project managers, and engineers. SEIA estimates there are over 250,000 solar workers in the U.S. as of 2021 [2]. With demand for renewable energy on the rise, the solar job market is projected to continue expanding over the next decade.

Education Requirements

There are several education paths you can take to work in the solar industry:

Formal education options include earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field like engineering, environmental science, physics, or electrical engineering. Many solar companies prefer candidates with at least an associate’s degree. Some roles like solar designers or engineers require a bachelor’s degree or higher.

There are also some solar certification programs offered by organizations like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) that can demonstrate your skills and expertise. These include certifications like NABCEP PV Installation Professional or NABCEP Solar Heating Installer.

Ongoing education is also important in the solar industry since technology is constantly evolving. Taking continuing education courses, seminars, or training on new solar products and installation techniques can help workers stay up-to-date.

Sources: Experienced Solar Salesperson job in Colts Neck, NJ …

Essential Skills

To succeed in the solar industry, certain essential technical, interpersonal, and business skills are required. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, solar jobs demand specialized technical knowledge and skills to operate equipment and computer systems. Key technical skills include electrical systems, solar PV systems, engineering, construction, and computer skills like CAD. Experience with specific tools and solar software is also beneficial.

Strong communication and interpersonal skills are equally important in solar jobs, notes Solar Reviews guide. Solar workers interact closely with homeowners, businesses, utilities, inspectors, and other parties, so they must communicate solar concepts clearly and work well on teams. Other useful soft skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, attention to detail, and physical stamina.

For solar sales and business development roles, sales skills like lead generation, persuasion, negotiation, and closing deals are critical. Knowledge of financing options, incentives, and the competitive landscape help solar salespeople effectively sell systems and identify opportunities.

Job Types

There are several common job types in the solar industry:

Installers: Solar installation technicians install solar panels and other equipment on residential or commercial properties. This hands-on job involves site assessments, system design, installation, inspection, maintenance and repairs. Many installers work for solar contractors or subcontractors.1

Sales Representatives: Solar sales reps meet with potential customers to determine their needs, propose solutions, and sell solar systems. They must have strong presentation, negotiation and closing skills. Many work on commission. Sales reps may be residential focused or commercial focused.1

Engineers: Solar engineers design and develop solar technologies, oversee installation, and ensure systems meet technical specifications and safety standards. Many have backgrounds in electrical, mechanical or civil engineering. Engineers work for manufacturers, contractors, consultants and utilities.1

Project Managers: Solar project managers plan and oversee the installation of solar systems from start to finish. They coordinate logistics, permitting, contractors, schedules, budgets and quality control. Project managers work for solar developers, EPC contractors or installation companies.1


The solar industry offers competitive salaries across various roles. According to Jooble, the average salary for a fresher in the solar industry in India is ₹3,23,009. Salaries vary significantly based on factors like location, experience, and role.

Some common solar industry roles and average salary ranges include:

  • Solar installer – ₹2 – 5 lakhs per year
  • Solar sales consultant – ₹3 – 7 lakhs per year
  • Solar engineer – ₹5 – 15 lakhs per year
  • Solar project manager – ₹8 – 20 lakhs per year

More experienced professionals in managerial or engineering roles tend to earn higher salaries. But even entry-level solar jobs tend to pay decent wages with ample room for salary growth over time. Overall, the rapid growth of the solar industry is creating many well-paying jobs across India.

Job Outlook

The solar industry is experiencing rapid growth and is expected to continue expanding in the coming years. According to a report from the Solar Foundation, the number of solar jobs in the U.S. is projected to increase by 10% in 2022, reaching over 250,000 jobs. This growth is being driven by declining costs of solar technology, support from government policies, and increased consumer demand.

Some geographic areas are emerging as hotspots for solar jobs. States like California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts have seen particularly strong growth recently. This is often driven by state-level policies that encourage solar adoption as well as abundant sunshine in some areas. However, solar jobs are increasing in most states as costs continue to fall.

Despite the positive overall outlook, there are some challenges facing the industry. Supply chain issues, trade disputes, and unpredictable policies have caused some market uncertainty. The solar workforce is also quite fluid, with high turnover rates in installation and sales roles. However, the broad trajectory remains one of growth into the foreseeable future.


Getting Hired

Getting hired in the solar industry starts with building an effective resume that highlights any relevant education, skills, or experience you may have. Look for keywords and skills listed in the job description and ensure those are reflected in your resume. Sources suggest tailoring your resume and cover letter specifically for each application.

The next step is finding job openings. Search sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed for listings. Also look at company websites directly, as many may only post jobs there. Some solar companies include SunPower, Tesla, and Sunrun.

When interviewing, be prepared to speak about your interest in renewable energy, knowledge of the industry, motivation for working in solar, and relevant hard and soft skills. Come with thoughtful questions about the role and company. Some interview tips can be found in this Udemy course.

Career Advancement

There are many opportunities for career advancement in the solar industry. Continuing education can open doors to more advanced roles. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement or paid training programs to help solar workers enhance their skills.

Workers can also advance by specializing in a particular area like solar sales, engineering, or operations and maintenance. Specialized solar certifications are available from groups like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). These certifications can make workers more competitive for higher-level positions.[1]

With experience, solar workers can move into solar management roles overseeing installations, projects, sales teams, or entire companies. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) offers a Solar Management Training Program to help prepare solar professionals to take on leadership positions.[2]

Work Environment

The work environment in the solar industry can vary significantly depending on the specific job and employer. Many solar jobs are a mix of office and field work.

Field work often takes place outdoors at the installation site. Safety considerations are paramount when working on rooftops or around electricity. Proper training on equipment, protective gear, and safety procedures is essential. Jobs may require climbing, heavy lifting, and working in a variety of weather conditions.1

Office-based solar jobs, such as design, engineering, sales, and administration roles, provide a more traditional indoor work setting. However, some travel to installation sites may be required.

Many solar industry jobs require frequent travel to project sites. Installers may drive long distances each day. Sales and development professionals often fly to meet with clients and visit properties. The amount of travel depends on the employer and territory covered.

Job Satisfaction

Working in the solar industry can provide high levels of job satisfaction. According to a recent survey by the Solar Energy Industries Association, over 80% of solar workers say they are satisfied with their jobs.1 The work is rewarding because employees get to be part of building a more sustainable future. There’s also satisfaction in providing affordable clean energy to homeowners and businesses.

The solar industry offers good work/life balance. Installers often work standard daytime hours and have weekends off. Sales and design jobs allow flexibility to make your own schedule. The industry survey found 70% of solar workers feel they have work/life balance.2

Working in renewable energy also provides the fulfillment of being part of the green jobs movement. The solar industry is helping address climate change. Employees take pride in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and building environmental sustainability.

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