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Career Profile: Solar Power Installer

Why Is Solar Power Installation a Job of Tomorrow?
Solar power installers will be in high demand to help make private homes and public buildings more environmentally friendly. Employment opportunities for solar power installers are expected to increase steadily well into the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experienced solar power installers earn an average of $20 to $25 an hour.

What Does a Solar Power Installer Do?
Solar power installers are responsible for planning and setting up the photovoltaic equipment that will provide electricity to the building. Installers work with clients to decide what kind of solar panel structures to install, and what would be the best location to install them. Solar cells are typically three-by-five-foot framed panels that are most commonly mounted to the roof of a building. However, solar cells can also take the form of flexible panels or roof tiles, and others can be integrated into the building materials as sidings or windows to make solar power seamlessly integrate with the building's aesthetic. In determining where the solar cells should go, installers must ensure that the location is sunny enough to successfully power the cells, as well as sturdy enough to hold the hefty weight of the cells. After installing the cells, solar power installers must also put the battery and wires in place, then test the system and instruct the inhabitants of the building on how it works and troubleshooting basics.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Solar Power Installer?
While there are no formal education requirements to work as a solar power installer, most installers have a high school diploma and mechanical, electrical or construction experience. Those with roofing experience are particularly sought after. To increase marketability and also increase the chances of advancing in the field, installers should earn a two-year associate degree in an electrical or related field. Electrical degree programs typically cover job skills and safety issues.