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3 Insights into How to Become a Solar Installer

Solar Installer on roof with solar panels

So, you’re considering a career as a solar installer but aren’t sure where to start.

Learning the ins and outs of solar installation is just the beginning. You also need the right tools and skills to run your solar business (that’s where solar software comes in).

We’ve compiled some resources to serve as a guide to help you know if joining the ranks of solar installers is for you.

Here are three things you should know before becoming a solar installer.

What Do Solar Installers Do?

Before you embark on your new career, it’s important to educate yourself on what exactly solar installers do. Solar contractors bring renewable energy to their customers by installing solar panels at residential and commercial buildings.

Solar contractors are in charge of:

  • Installing solar panels
  • Maintaining the roof around the solar panel
  • Pinpointing potential weak spots
  • Preventing weather damage to the solar panel system

Customers expect solar installers to be experts on their products. If you’re serious about becoming a solar installer, you better start reading up on the different types of solar panels. Customers expect contractors to advise them on the best solar panel recommendation for their situation.

We’ll give you a crash course here. There are four different types of solar panels used in the industry:

  • Monocrystalline Solar Panels
  • Polycrystalline Solar Panels
  • PERC Solar Panels
  • Thin-Film Solar Panels

To learn more about solar panel types, check out this blog post on solar panel options.

How to Become a Solar Installer

Most solar installers have a high school degree or equivalent certificate. You don’t need to have a four-year college degree to become a solar installer. Solar contractors can choose to take courses at a trade school, and some learn on-the-job experience in an apprenticeship.

Those with a background in electrical construction work have a great base knowledge to help them with solar installation.

As a solar installer, you’ll need to follow different regulations based on the state where you have your business. Earning a certification or license is a good idea because it can increase a solar installer’s salary.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC) are organizations that provide certifications for solar installers.

Some states don’t require dedicated solar certification, while others require a NABCEP or SRCC certification. In states that don’t require licensing, it’s a good idea to find an entry-level solar job that offers on-the-job training.

Once you become a certified solar installer or learn the ropes at an entry-level job, you’ll be all set to start your own solar business and provide customers with renewable energy.

sunset over two solar panels in a green field

How Much Money Do Solar Panel Installers Make?

In 2021, the median pay for solar installers was $47,670 annually and $22.92 hourly, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, keep in mind that this is just the average. For those starting, a new solar installer’s salary could be in the $32,000 range.

The more experience you gain, the higher your salary becomes. Solar installers with a general contracting license or prior electrician experience can make close to $64,000.

Join the Solar Industry

If you put in the work and learn everything about this craft, you’ll quickly be on your way to a new career as a solar panel installer!

What steps would you recommend for aspiring solar installers? Let us know in the comments below.

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