Describing the specific responsibilities of a Solar Technician can be difficult, as there are many different types of positions that all fall under the Solar Technician category. For example, you could be a rooftop solar panel installer for residential homes. Or you could work on a solar farm, maintaining huge solar arrays to ensure power is being generated consistently and efficiently.
To give you an idea of the diversity of jobs, we have pulled together some of the many job titles that you may see when searching for a job as a Solar Technician:
- Solar Installation Technician
- Solar Service Technician
- Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Technician
- Field Service Technician
- Solar Technician
- Pre-Site Survey Technican
- PV Technician
- Electro-Mechanical Solar Technician
- PV Fabrication and Testing Technician
- PV Installer
- Solar Electric Practitioner
- Solar Panel Installer
- PV Testing Technician
While all of these different job descriptions may have some small differences, there are some basic core competencies that you will need, which are outlined below.
Definition and Nature of the Work
The basic job description of a solar technician job will include the assembly, installation or maintenance of solar panels, sometimes called photovoltaic (PV) systems. Below is one such description from myplan.com:
Assemble, install, or maintain solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on roofs or other structures in compliance with site assessment and schematics. May include measuring, cutting, assembling, and bolting structural framing and solar modules. May perform minor electrical work such as current checks.
In other words, a solar technician will either install or maintain solar panels, either on a roof or some other structure, and will do it according to the predetermined plans, building codes, and safety restrictions.
Below are some examples of day to day tasks a solar technician would be expected to perform:
- Assess the job site, identify and resolve any potential hazards
- Create or interpret the solar panel installation plans, mapping out the steps of the installation and where all of the components will be installed.
- Install, inspect, maintain and repair solar panel systems, including the solar collectors, concentrators, batteries, pumps, fans, or support structure.
- Do any and all electrical work needed to connect solar system to electric grid. This includes proper grounding systems, controls and all testing necessary.
- Weatherproof the solar installation in accordance with local safety regulations and the specifications of the manufacturer.
In addition to these technical skills, a solar technician needs to have good customer service, attention to detail and a strong work ethic to be successful.
While working conditions can vary depending on the specific position, most solar technician jobs will require being outdoors for extended periods of time. Since solar panel installation and maintenance can only be done when the weather is good, expect long hours during these times in order to get as much work done as possible. Depending on the climate where you live, it is possible that solar panels may not be able to be installed year round. In situations like this, your working hours may be reduced during winter months. However most solar technicians are employed full time throughout the year.
The seasonality of the work affects residential installers more than other positions. For example, if you are a technician at a solar farm doing repairs and maintenance, you will have more steady work hours throughout the year.
Many solar technicians can also plan on spending a lot of time on rooftops, whether it be on the roof of a residence or a commercial building. Be sure that you are comfortable with working at the heights necessary to do this work, and that you can meet the physical demands working on a rooftop brings. Additionally, solar technicians will sometimes work in attics or crawlspaces as they hook up the solar panels to the electric grid.
Solar technicians can work as part of a team, but are also expected to be able to accomplish their job duties as a individual when needed.
The education required to be a solar technician is simply a high school diploma. Beyond that, you will experience or demonstrated proficiency in the job responsibilities above, or have a certification from an accredited institution. Whether experience or education, you need one or the other to prove to potential employers that you are qualified for the job. For more information on certifications and classroom training, check out our page on solar technician schools.
These are the core skills and education requirements you will encounter when applying for a job as a solar technician. Be sure to acquire all of the necessary education requirements and get as much experience as possible in the required skills before applying to any job as a solar technician. As always, read the job description for the specific job you are applying to in order to determine if there are any additional job requirements. Once you are ready to apply, check out our solar technician job listings.