Careers in Solar Energy field cover a range from assemblers and
installers to engineers and project managers. For the
entrepreneur Solar Energy offers some fantastic opportunities and
minimal initial investment.
Carbon Credit Supply Chain - With recent legislation
(often referred to as "Cap & Trade") utility and major consumer of
carbon based fuels have stimulated an entire new supply chain for
carbon credit trading. Renewable systems such as wind and
solar generators earn credits that are fast becoming valuable
commodities for sale to carbon consumers. The array of jobs
follow typical Supply Chain Management position profiles.
Finding these positions may take researching who the buyers are of
wind and solar power carbon credits and leaning who the high volume
consumers and producers of carbon are. Few of those positions
will be listed on the typical internet job boards like monster.
System Installer - Installation requires skilled labor
that will install, assemble, connect wiring, test and commission
systems. Skills include an understanding of structures,
blueprint reading, solar components, and Commercial AC/building
wiring, plumbing, and basic carpentry. Some regions may
require a level of certification for electrical wiring installation.
Also requires capability of lifting 35 Lbs and comfortable working
on rooftops. Knowledge of OSHA requirements and scaffold
safety recommended. Knowledge of Man-Lift ("Cherry Picker")
and small crane operation is helpful but not required.
Salaries range from $30000 - $50000 depending on technical skills.
Certified Installer - Some utilities require the
connection of a system to the grid is performed only by a Certified
Electrician. Utility Certification will require good
understanding of Commercial AC Power and both National Electric Code
and any supplemental local Electrical Wiring Codes. Utility
Certifications are among the most valuable Green Collar Career
credentials to have for a supply side career. Certified
Installers should be capable of the same tasks that a System
Installer can perform as there will be greater demand for someone
with well rounded skills. Salaries range from $45000 - $65000
depending on technical skills and certifications.
System Sales Analyst - Most existing contractors that
install Solar Energy systems tend to be a bit light on marketing and
sales staff in part because they lack flexibility for cyclic work
loads typical for small businesses. This may present an
opportunity to work as an independent consultant - this could be the
ground floor to opening you're own business with practically zero
The full range of duties may include prospecting customers,
determining customer energy demand profile, evaluating their site
for recommended system selection, and preparing a quotation package
for the customer. Financial transactions are directly between
the customer and installation contractor - all the System Sales
Analyst is responsible for is to "book the sale" on a commission
basis of generally 10-15%. Earnings can realistically range
between $50,000 and $200,000 if you have the right skills.
Requirements include a the skills equal to a Building Auditor,
ability to configure solar systems, knowledge of local utility and
electrical code requirements, federal, state and local tax
incentives, utility incentives, a good working relationship with the
installation contractor, and general sales & closing skills.
Solar Energy Project Manager - This where the "employee"
money really is in the industry although most installation
contractors know that and few will hire someone for this task.
It is more or less a position you may create as as you've practiced
as a System Sales Analyst and have acquired a good working
relationship with a multitude of subcontractors. This position
requires the same skill levels as a System Analyst along with
project scheduling, resource and financial skills. The only
thing that will separate a Project Manager from a Solar Energy
Business Owner are the financial transactions. The Project
Manager will inherit some level of liability and may require
insurance. This position is generally a short term step up the
ladder to a Solar Energy Business Owner. Earnings can
realistically range between $100,000 and $200,000.
Solar Energy Business Owner - Moving into owning your own
business will require all the skills of a Solar Energy Project
Manager along with financial backing, credit availability, business
license and any applicable licensing as required by local or utility
authorities. Earnings potential is nearly unlimited.