As the popularity of solar energy systems continues to skyrocket, Colorado’s solar energy careers are revving up as well.
This professional field has room for people with a broad spectrum of skills, and the nation’s intensifying focus on alternative energy means that this career field is still only in its early days. If you have an interest in working with tomorrow’s energy industry today, take a look at the five solar energy careers below.
5 Solar Energy Careers
Solar Panel Installer
When you consider the field of solar energy employment, the role of panel installer is probably the first job that comes to your mind. Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers assemble solar power systems and install them on roofs or other types of structures. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median income for a solar panel installer is $37,830 per year, but this figure is highly variable, depending on the person’s level of training and experience. This career path, according to the BLS, is expected to grow much faster than average between 2014 and 2024, with a projected growth rate of 24 percent. While some solar panel installers have taken relevant coursework at a technical or vocational college, many gain expertise through on-the-job training offered by their employer.
Are you a gregarious, detail-oriented type? Becoming a solar energy salesperson could be the ideal occupation for you. The sales representative is a vital member of the solar energy team, because many potential customers are still completely unaware of the capacity and cost savings offered by today’s solar technology. Solar energy career responsibilities for sales people include meeting with developers, managers, homeowners and contractors, and develop proposals relating to the electrical needs of each client. They have extensive knowledge of the product line that they’re selling and are able to help customers learn about the various financing options and tax incentives that make solar energy so affordable right now.
Solar Project Manager
This role calls for extraordinary administrative skills, as the project manager makes sure that all the materials and people end up in the right place at the right time. This position may include preliminary discussions with engineers and owners, as well as interfacing with public permitting entities. The project manager takes care of staffing and overall budgets, contracting labor and keeping customers updated on progress. The person in this position needs high-level informational skills to manage record-keeping and bid preparation. If this job appeals to you, your first step would be to spend a couple years as a certified solar installer. Even though solar energy is a new field, good solar project managers have some personal experience with the physical aspects of these systems.
Solar Energy Advocate
If you’re a serious solar power enthusiast, you may find the job of solar energy advocate to be a perfect entry into the field. Many solar advocate jobs are flexible or part-time, making them perfect for students. The advocate engages in education and marketing, meeting with people in various settings and discussing the ways that solar energy systems can benefit them. Solar energy advocacy is a job that requires enthusiasm and creativity; it’s an ideal position for you if you want to make a difference in the nation’s energy future, love to network and want to blend your skills as an educator with the coherent goal-setting of a marketing professional.
Solar Panel Maintenance
In many cases, installers are also the ones who perform maintenance on existing panels. Being familiar with the mechanisms of installation allows maintenance workers to effectively test and replace components as needed. Like an installer, a solar panel maintenance worker needs to have electrical skills, and in some cases needs to be a licensed electrician. This role may also include meeting with customers to see if a given system is still meeting their needs and making recommendations for changes if necessary. If you enjoy being at the cutting edge of technology and love the process of troubleshooting, a career in solar panel maintenance may be perfect for you.