Solar Energy Jobs - What You Need To Know for a Career In Solar

Solar energy jobs are one of the fastest growing career segments in the United States today, in part because of the U.S. Department of Energy's national initiative to double domestic renewable energy resources within three years. This is likely to be a long-term trend; experts project that the earth has already hit "peak oil" and that from this point out, petroleum prices will continue to rise as existing supplies are depleted.

Here Today, Here To Stay

The need for power generation not based on fossil fuels will only grow in the decades to come. A solar career, therefore, is likely to provide employment for a full lifetime. Neither can solar energy jobs be easily outsourced. Solar electricity generated outside the United States makes no sense for domestic use due to the huge losses that accrue when electricity is transmitted over long distances. The solar energy jobs of the future will take place inside the United States, making a solar career a solid opportunity for anyone with the right type of training.

Types of Solar Energy Jobs

Most solar electricity is generated through the use of either photovoltaic panels or solar thermal collectors. In either case, large arrays of panels must be mounted, maintained, and repaired. Experts estimate that to power the United States by means of solar energy, a land area the size of Nevada would need to be covered in panels. This demonstrates that even if only 20-30% of domestic electricity is generated by solar installations, the number of panels to be installed is immense - and since panels last approximately 20 years under optimal conditions, there will be an ongoing need to replace existing panels.

All of these factors mean that solar panel installers will be in huge demand. Already, individuals with the correct training can command wages of $14.00 - $20.00 per hour. In areas of the nation such as San Francisco, the median wage for an experienced solar installer is over $60,000 per year.

Skilled installers can look forward to solar career advancement because the need for solar technicians is almost as great. Typically, two to three years' experience as an installer is required in order to become a technician. Technicians are responsible for field monitoring of solar installations and perform maintenance and repair as needed.

Training and Certification Requirements

Although each state has different licensing requirements for those who do electrical work, some national standards are being established:

* The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners has established a national certification program to help meet the need for qualified solar installers.

*The Interstate Renewable Energy Council publishes standards for solar training programs.

The growth of the solar power industry to date has caused college and university programs to establish relevant educational programs. Industry experts predict that degrees in solar power studies will become commonplace in the next generation. At this time, the University of Delaware offers a solar power program and Farmingdale College in New York has created a solar energy center to train students for careers in the field.

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Published At: Solar Energy Jobs - What You Need To Know for a Career In Solar