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Solar Energy System Installer

Job Duties

Solar energy system installers install systems in homes and buildings that regulate temperature by creating either heat or cool air. They also install systems that provide hot water and heat swimming pools. They mount solar panels or pre-assembled systems in residential and commercial complexes. They install storage tanks, pumps, valves, pipes, and ducts. They often perform routine maintenance on these systems. They set up and adjust electrical or electronic controls. When working on new construction projects, they follow blueprints to connect piping, ducting, controls, and wiring. They typically work outside and some of the work involves danger from electrical shock or falling objects. However, when safety guidelines are followed, the risk is minimal. Tools are usually provided by their employers, and many installers belong to the plumbers and pipefitters, electrical, or sheet metal workers' unions.

Alternative Power Generation Technology

Job Skills

Solar energy system installers need to be in good physical condition. They need to be able to lift heavy tools and other equipment. They must be confident in their ability to work on rooftops and in cramped quarters. They should enjoy working outdoors. They should have good oral and written communication skills, because they are required to follow detailed instructions and interact pleasantly with customers.

Income

Earnings of solar energy system installers vary depending on employer and location. Entry level workers usually earn between $5 and $13 per hour; experienced workers earn between $7 and $30 per hour; and those who are experienced and have worked for the same firm for more than 3 years may earn even more. They typically work 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday. Many employers offer benefits such as vacation, sick leave, and insurance.

Training and Education

Most employers hire workers with little or no training or experience and provide on-the-job training. Most require their employees to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. New employees start as assistants to installers who have more experience. Some manufacturers sponsor trainings on their specific products. High school students interested in this occupation should take courses in electricity and wood working.

Summer jobs as construction helpers for plumbers, electricians, roofers, or swimming pool/spa contractors can give applicants an edge when it comes to hiring. Some areas have apprenticeship programs in sheet metal worker/energy management technician training. Workers can advance from apprentice to journey level, crew leader, and supervisor positions. Some workers become State-licensed solar energy contractors and may start their own businesses. Visit this page about trade schools for more information on related careers.

Job Outlook

As new and more practical methods for using solar energy emerge, the occupation of solar energy system installer should grow at an average rate. Solar energy is becoming viewed as a viable alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels, and it can enable homeowners to save considerable amounts of money. The number of residential systems being installed is growing at a healthy rate. Those who have skills in both thermal heating systems and solar thermal installations should have the best job prospects.


Solar Energy System Installer Training

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            Milan Institute , Bakersfield
            • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
            • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
            • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
            • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
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            • Accredited
            • Financial Aid
            • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
            • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
            • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
            • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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            • Financial Aid
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits
            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
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            ABCO Technology , Los Angeles
            • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
            • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
            • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
            • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
            • Helping students start a career in technology within 3 - 9 months.
            • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
            • Military friendly school.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
            • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
            • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
            • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
            • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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            • Online Courses
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits