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Career profile Solar Technician

Also known as Installer, Photovoltaic Installer (PV Installer), PV Design and Installation Technician, Solar Designer/Installer, Solar Installer, Solar Installer Technician, Solar Photovoltaic Installer (Solar PV Installer), Solar Technician

Solar Technician

Also known as Installer, Photovoltaic Installer (PV Installer), PV Design and Installation Technician

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$32,590 - $64,600 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Installation
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Building and Construction
  • Design
Core tasks
  • Install photovoltaic (PV) systems in accordance with codes and standards, using drawings, schematics, and instructions.
  • Assemble solar modules, panels, or support structures, as specified.
  • Determine appropriate sizes, ratings, and locations for all system overcurrent devices, disconnect devices, grounding equipment, and surge suppression equipment.
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What does a Solar Technician do?

Solar Technicians assemble, install, or maintain solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on roofs or other structures in compliance with site assessment and schematics.

In addition, Solar Technicians

  • may include measuring, cutting, assembling, and bolting structural framing and solar modules,
  • may perform minor electrical work such as current checks.

What kind of tasks does a Solar Technician perform regularly?

Solar Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Install photovoltaic (PV) systems in accordance with codes and standards, using drawings, schematics, and instructions.
  • Assemble solar modules, panels, or support structures, as specified.
  • Determine appropriate sizes, ratings, and locations for all system overcurrent devices, disconnect devices, grounding equipment, and surge suppression equipment.
  • Apply weather sealing to array, building, or support mechanisms.
  • Identify electrical, environmental, and safety hazards associated with photovoltaic (PV) installations.
  • Install module array interconnect wiring, implementing measures to disable arrays during installation.
  • Identify methods for laying out, orienting, and mounting modules or arrays to ensure efficient installation, electrical configuration, or system maintenance.
  • Examine designs to determine current requirements for all parts of the photovoltaic (PV) system electrical circuit.
  • Check electrical installation for proper wiring, polarity, grounding, or integrity of terminations.
  • Test operating voltages to ensure operation within acceptable limits for power conditioning equipment, such as inverters and controllers.
  • Identify installation locations with proper orientation, area, solar access, or structural integrity for photovoltaic (PV) arrays.
  • Program, adjust, or configure inverters and controls for desired set points and operating modes.
  • Identify and resolve any deficiencies in photovoltaic (PV) system installation or materials.
  • Visually inspect and test photovoltaic (PV) modules or systems.
  • Install required labels on solar system components and hardware.
  • Determine photovoltaic (PV) system designs or configurations based on factors such as customer needs, expectations, and site conditions.
  • Determine materials, equipment, and installation sequences necessary to maximize installation efficiency.
  • Determine connection interfaces for additional subpanels or for connecting photovoltaic (PV) systems with utility services or other power generation sources.
  • Perform routine photovoltaic (PV) system maintenance on modules, arrays, batteries, power conditioning equipment, safety systems, structural systems, weather sealing, or balance of systems equipment.
  • Install active solar systems, including solar collectors, concentrators, pumps, or fans.
  • Activate photovoltaic (PV) systems to verify system functionality and conformity to performance expectations.
  • Demonstrate system functionality and performance, including start-up, shut-down, normal operation, and emergency or bypass operations.
  • Measure and analyze system performance and operating parameters to assess operating condition of systems or equipment.
  • Compile or maintain records of system operation, performance, and maintenance.

The above responsibilities are specific to Solar Technicians. More generally, Solar Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is a Solar Technician salary?

The median salary for a Solar Technician is $46,470, and the average salary is $48,020. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Solar Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Solar Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Solar Technicians earn less than $32,590 per year, 25% earn less than $37,860, 75% earn less than $55,760, and 90% earn less than $64,600.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Solar Technicians is expected to change by 51.7%, and there should be roughly 2,300 open positions for Solar Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$46,470
Typical salary range
$32,590 - $64,600
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
51.7%

What personality traits are common among Solar Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Solar Technician are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Solar Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Solar Technicians typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Solar Technician tend to value Support, Achievement, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Solar Technicians moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Solar Technicians moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Solar Technicians moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Solar Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as cooperation, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Solar Technicians, ranked by importance:

Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Solar Technicians need?

Working as a Solar Technician usually requires a high school diploma.

Solar Technicians need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Solar Technicians

  • 9.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 26.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 33.5% completed some college coursework
  • 18.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 8.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 3.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.9% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Solar Technicians

Solar Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, building and construction, or design knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Solar Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Important Abilities needed by Solar Technicians

Solar Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Solar Technicians need abilities such as problem sensitivity, visualization, and near vision in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Solar Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Visualization
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.

Critical Skills needed by Solar Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Solar Technicians frequently use skills like installation, critical thinking, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Solar Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.