What do Solar Photovoltaic Installers Do?
Harnessing sunlight requires the use of photovoltaic systems, which convert solar radiation into useable energy. Workers in this profession are responsible for installing and maintaining these systems, which can include duties ranging from cutting and assembling panels to performing current checks and other minor electrical duties. This occupation focuses solely on system installation, and does not include workers such as photovoltaic electricians or thermal installation professionals.With wide-ranging adoption from both commercial and residential customers, solar power is a rapidly growing industry. An annual 200 new jobs are projected to become available each year between 2012 and 2022, a 25% increase in openings for that 10-year period.
Solar Photovoltaic Installers Skills and Abilities
Like many similar installation jobs, photovoltaic work demands a spectrum of basic skills including coordination, developed decision-making abilities, and a penchant for time management. Professionals in this field should also be adept in general installation tasks such as wiring, troubleshooting, and quality-control analysis. Other useful abilities will often include:
- Recognizing and solving complex problems
- Deductive reasoning
- Manual dexterity and near vision
- Critical thinking and monitoring skills
Solar Photovoltaic Installers Duties
Overall, the types of duties you’re likely to encounter revolve around physical placement and handling of system-related materials. Lifting, climbing, balancing, and other full-body activity is a regular requirement for installers in this occupation. You will also be tasked with duties such as monitoring and analyzing performance and determining the sources of installation issues, in addition to many of these specific functions:
- Applying sealant or coating for protective purposes
- Creating and interpreting diagrams
- Determining locations and layouts for installations
- Maintaining and selecting materials and tools
- Testing of equipment and installed systems
Solar Photovoltaic Installers Tools and Technology
Although solar voltaic installation is a very technology-driven industry, the actual installation work relies largely on traditional tools and basic computer software. You should be proficient with the use of standard hand tools such as wrenches, power drills, screwdrivers, wire cutters, and leveling tools. Additionally, familiarity with the following types of programs is often necessary as well:
- General office and productivity suites such as Microsoft Office and Excel
- E-mail clients and applications such as Outlook or web-based platforms
- Scheduling and calendar management applications
Education and Training for Solar Photovoltaic Installers
While a moderate amount of on-the-job training is very ideal for workers in this field, you don’t typically need a degree to be hired as a photovoltaic installer. Successfully obtaining one’s high school diploma is sufficient education for most positions, with no prior work experience considered to be necessary. Although post-secondary education is not required, pursuing instruction in fields such as roofing and solar energy technology can certainly be beneficial for those seeking employment in this profession.
Solar Photovoltaic Installers Salary
The median income in the United States for photovoltaic installers is about $40,000 annually, which translates to around $28,400 for those among the bottom 10% of earners and $58,300 for those in the top 10%. Of the states currently offering wage data, Hawaii and Massachusetts offer the highest income potential average income while Texas and North Carolina represent the lowest in the U.S.
Solar Photovoltaic Installers Jobs by Geography
With a limited range of data available on a state-by-state basis, one still notices the larger employment increases expected in several areas between 2012 and 2022. Among them, Florida and Arizona are forecasted to expand jobs by over 50% in this 10-year span, while states like Oregon and Tennessee expect availability to grow by less than 20% overall. Colorado, New Jersey and California round out those states projecting to increase solar installation job counts during that same time period.