Solar Power Jobs
By Eric Hammer
Solar power jobs are big news these days. While the concept
of deriving electricity from the sun has been around for many
years now, it has always been better in theory than in practice
since in practice, it was still too expensive to be practical.
All that has changed over the past few years as solar power and
solar power jobs have come into their own.
When discussing jobs in solar power, we have to make a distinction.
There are dozens of jobs involved in solar power in much the
same way that any major industry will have dozens of jobs (think
the car industry for example, which has design engineers, assembly
workers, salespeople, etc.). For the sake of brevity however,
well cover some of the most popular jobs in the solar power
Solar power installers work mostly on rooftops and do the
grunt work of installing solar power in buildings. While some
solar farms are being opened around the world, where the solar
panels will be installed on the ground and all pointed at the
sun in order to create a power plant, the industry is still largely
focused on private homes and businesses. Another popular job
is solar power technicians. Unlike installers, technicians inspect
photovoltaic cells to make sure they are operating properly and
dont need to be replaced or fine tuned.
Those with degrees may get jobs as solar engineers or solar
project managers. In both these cases, you will be working on
designing solar panels or on designing a system for solar power
generation and you will have to have a degree in solar engineering
to get a job like this.
How Much Can You Make?
Solar installers, the lowest rung of solar power jobs pay
pretty well. According to Job Monkey, solar installers earn between
$14 to $20 per hour for work that is physical in nature and does
not require a college degree, though a certain amount of training
and possibly experience will be required.
By contrast, the average wage for solar engineers, according
to the bureau of labor statistics, is $43 per hour or $89,000
per year (mind you, thats average some make more
and some make less). Of course, for this kind of job, you need
an engineering degree.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
In general, keep in mind that any solar power job will require
a certain amount of training (more on this in a moment). Youll
also need to be serious about your craft and youll need
to consider living in specific states where solar power makes
more sense California for example has a number of solar power
jobs whereas Maine probably has fewer jobs given the colder weather
If you are interested in working in green jobs but for whatever
reason dont want to get involved with solar power jobs,
consider looking at wind power and hydro electric power jobs.
Both of these are also expected to show growth.
Qualifications / Requirements
No matter which solar power jobs you are interested in, expect
to need some training. Solar installers must be licensed and
will need training in electrical wiring (many people who have
been certified as electricians for example work in this field).
While a college degree is not required, it does mean going for
one to two years of training.
Those interested in higher lever jobs in the solar power industry
will need a college degree and possibly a masters degree.
Typical degrees for this kind of work include engineering and
sciences degrees. Note that a handful of schools also offer specialized
solar power engineering degrees which are the ideal way to break
into the industry.
Start by deciding which track you are interested in. If you
want a white collar job designing solar power systems, you will
need a college degree in engineering and it may help to obtain
a masters degree as well.
If on the other hand you are interested in becoming a solar
installer, contact companies that are involved in the solar power
business and ask if they offer on the job training for their
employees. If they dont, find out what they require specifically
in the way of training and go to school to get that training.
Mother Nature Network: Jobs in the Solar Power Industry
This web site has a wealth of information about solar
power jobs in general, though this particular article focuses
on what youll need in order to break into the business.
Job Monkey: Green Collar Careers This
is a very good run down of the various jobs in the solar power
industry. While not exhaustive, it is a fairly comprehensive
in Solar Power This is a jobs board where you can
learn more about solar power jobs and find actual job openings
available right now.