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Working as a Solar Installer

Solar installers are responsible for installing solar panels on roofs and buildings. During their work, they take into consideration site-specific schematics and install solar and photovoltaic devices based on codes and standards defined by precise instructions.

As a solar installer, your job will be to measure and assemble solar modules and secure them to structural frames. Setting up the electrical circuits fed by solar energy will also be your task, as well as preparing faulty structures and performing maintenance work on the devices.

You will also be expected to identify any safety hazards related to the installed panels and make sure they are sufficiently sealed and correctly wired. You need specific training to do the job successfully and be aware of necessary safety measures while performing the tasks.

What Does a Solar Installer Do

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, often called PV installers, assemble, install, or maintain solar panel systems on roofs or other structures.

Duties

PV installers typically do the following:

  • Plan PV system configuration based on customer needs and site conditions
  • Install solar modules, panels, or support structures in accordance with building codes and standards
  • Connect PV panels to the power grid
  • Apply weather sealing to equipment being installed 
  • Activate and test PV systems to verify performance
  • Perform routine PV system maintenance

Sunlight is considered an environmentally friendly source of energy. By way of photovoltaic panels, sunlight is transformed into electricity. Recent technological advances have sufficiently reduced the cost of solar panels to make it a viable source of electricity for businesses and homeowners alike. PV installers put these systems in place.

PV installers use a variety of hand and power tools to install photovoltaic panels. They often use wrenches, saws, and screwdrivers to connect panels to frames, wires, and support structures.

Many new workers begin by performing basic tasks, such as installing support structures and placing PV panels or PV shingles on top of them. Once the panels are in place, more experienced installers usually perform more complex duties, such as connecting electrical components.

Depending on the job and state laws, PV installers may connect the solar arrays to the electric grid, although electricians sometimes perform this duty. Once installed, workers check electrical systems for proper wiring, polarity, grounding, and integrity of terminations, and perform maintenance as needed.

How To Become a Solar Installer

There are multiple paths to becoming a solar photovoltaic (PV) installer, often called PV installers. Some workers need only a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training lasting up to 1 year. Other candidates take a course at a technical school or community college. Some PV installers learn to install panels as part of an apprenticeship.

Education

Some PV installers take courses at local community colleges or trade schools to learn about solar panel installation. Courses range from basic safety and PV knowledge to system design. Although course length varies by state and locality, most usually last a few days to several months.

Some candidates may enter the field by taking online training courses. This is particularly useful for candidates with prior construction experience, such as former electricians.

Training

Some PV installers learn their trade on the job by working with experienced installers. On-the-job training usually lasts between 1 month and 1 year, during which workers learn about safety, tool use, and PV system installation techniques.

Solar PV system manufacturers may also provide specific training on a product. Such training usually includes a system overview and proper installation techniques of the manufacturer’s products.

Some large construction contractors provide training to new employees on their own. Workers learn basic PV safety and are given increasingly complex tasks as they prove their abilities.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense launched the Solar Ready Vets program in 2014 to connect veterans with jobs in the solar industry.

Although there are currently no apprenticeship programs for solar photovoltaic installers, some learn PV installation through other occupational apprenticeship programs. Electrician and roofing apprentices and journey workers may complete photovoltaic-specific training modules.

In most states, an electrician is fully qualified to connect PV systems to electric grids. They are also able to connect panels to inverters and batteries.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Residential panel installers must work in customers’ homes. As a result, workers must maintain professionalism and perform the work in a timely manner.

Detail oriented. PV installers must carefully follow instructions during installation. If they fail to do so, the system may not work properly.

Mechanical skills. PV installers work with complex electrical and mechanical equipment. They must be able to build support structures that hold PV panels in place and properly connect the panels to the electrical system.

Physical stamina. PV installers are often on their feet carrying panels and other heavy equipment. When installing rooftop panels, workers may need to climb ladders many times during the course of the day.

Physical strength. PV installers must often lift heavy equipment, parts, and tools. Workers should be strong enough to lift panels that weigh up to 50 pounds.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Experience in construction may shorten a new employee’s training time. For example, workers with experience as an electrician, roofer, carpenter, or laborer typically already understand and can perform basic construction duties.

In addition, those with knowledge of electrical work, such as electricians, are highly valued by contractors.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not mandatory, PV installers may obtain certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Certification can demonstrate professionalism and basic PV knowledge to employers. To qualify, workers must complete at least 58 hours of advanced PV training at an accredited school or organization, as well as a 10-hour construction safety course through Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). They also need to pass an exam and show documentation of having led three to five PV installation projects, depending on prior experience.

The Electronics Technicians Association, International (ETA) also offers photovoltaic installer certification. Education and training must be taken from an ETA-approved school.

There is also the Certified Solar Roofing Professional (CSRP) credential offered by Roof Integrated Solar Energy (RISE) Inc. In order to qualify, workers need to prove they have 40 hours of education or training related to basic competencies. Additionally, candidates need to have 3 years of roofing or PV installation experience and have completed at least five PV installations. They must also pass a test.

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Average Salary$33,418
Job Growth Rate63%

Solar Installer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Solar Installer

Cashier
8.9 %

Top Careers After Solar Installer

Installer
10.4 %

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Solar Installer

Solar Installers in America make an average salary of $33,418 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $46,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $23,000 per year.
Average Salary
$33,418

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Cherry Hill, NJ
Salary Range35k - 61k$47k$47,199
Washington, DC
Salary Range35k - 57k$45k$45,054
Hicksville, NY
Salary Range33k - 59k$45k$44,604
Pittsfield, MA
Salary Range32k - 55k$42k$42,474
Novato, CA
Salary Range30k - 52k$40k$40,043
Madison, WI
Salary Range32k - 48k$40k$39,584
$22k
$61k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Solar Installer
Solar Installer
Momentum Solar
Momentum Solar
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$33,39201/30/2021
$33,392
Solar Installer
Solar Installer
Momentum Solar
Momentum Solar
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$33,39201/30/2021
$33,392
Solar Installer-Renewables
Solar Installer-Renewables
Tradesmen International, Inc.
Tradesmen International, Inc.
01/21/2021
01/21/2021
$20,87001/21/2021
$20,870
Solar Installer
Solar Installer
Momentum Solar
Momentum Solar
01/16/2021
01/16/2021
$33,39201/16/2021
$33,392
Solar Installer
Solar Installer
Tradesmen International, Inc.
Tradesmen International, Inc.
01/05/2021
01/05/2021
$37,56601/05/2021
$37,566
See More Recent Salaries

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Solar Installer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Solar Installer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Solar Installer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Solar Installer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Solar Installer Demographics

Gender

male

89.1 %

female

7.0 %

unknown

4.0 %

Ethnicity

White

50.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

35.0 %

Black or African American

7.9 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

94.2 %

German

3.8 %

Russian

1.9 %
See More Demographics

Solar Installer Education

Degrees

High School Diploma

43.5 %

Certificate

16.7 %

Associate

14.3 %
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Solar Installer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.6% of solar installers listed hand tools on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and mechanical skills are important as well.

  • Hand Tools, 15.6%
  • Customer Service, 14.3%
  • Safety Hazards, 9.6%
  • Electrical Systems, 7.3%
  • Safety Rules, 6.7%
  • Other Skills, 46.5%
  • See All Solar Installer Skills

Best States For a Solar Installer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a solar installer. The best states for people in this position are Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Solar installers make the most in Delaware with an average salary of $48,192. Whereas in Connecticut and New Jersey, they would average $47,243 and $47,132, respectively. While solar installers would only make an average of $45,762 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Jersey

Total Solar Installer Jobs:
31
Highest 10% Earn:
$79,000
Location Quotient:
1.07
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wisconsin

Total Solar Installer Jobs:
21
Highest 10% Earn:
$58,000
Location Quotient:
1.17
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Indiana

Total Solar Installer Jobs:
22
Highest 10% Earn:
$59,000
Location Quotient:
1.19
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Solar Installer Employers

1. Aerotek
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$38,238
Solar Installers Hired: 
101+
2. Sunrun
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$35,222
Solar Installers Hired: 
64+
3. CLP Resources
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$34,671
Solar Installers Hired: 
51+
4. Tradesmen International
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$37,485
Solar Installers Hired: 
49+
5. Blattner Energy
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$34,699
Solar Installers Hired: 
32+
6. Vivint Solar
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$34,619
Solar Installers Hired: 
27+

Solar Installer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020