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From Novice to Expert: Solar Panel Installation Training

Updated: Jun 12

solar panel installation training

The solar energy industry is booming, creating many jobs and career opportunities. In fact, the solar energy and storage industry in the U.S. employs more than 263,000 workers across a variety of career paths, including manufacturing and installation. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), employment in the industry is expected to double over the next decade. This unprecedented job growth creates both opportunities and challenges for solar installation companies and solar EPCs.

According to the 2024 Electrification Contractor Survey by EnergySage, solar installation companies are struggling with staffing issues. Nearly 50% of contractors reported a lack of experience or industry-specific knowledge in the labor pool. In addition, more than one-third face an issue with a small applicant pool. Many solar installation companies end up offering on-the-job training to employees to compensate for the lack of experience and photovoltaic (PV) industry knowledge, but this route is time-consuming.

If you are looking to hire knowledgeable solar installers or strive to enter the job force as a solar contractor, there are some solar installation training programs that can help. Increasingly, more solar PV training courses are available online, making them more convenient.

Solar Panel Installation Training

There are numerous in-person and online solar installer programs, and some of them include hands-on solar installation experience. These classes and training sessions can increase your earning potential as a solar installer and help jumpstart your career. These programs vary in length from several weeks to a couple of years.

Solar Certification Training Classes with Non-Profit Organizations

There are several programs dedicated to advancing the solar energy industry and career opportunities in renewable energy.

solar panel installer training

SEI offers comprehensive solar training programs that cover various aspects of solar design and installation. These courses cover a wide range of topics, including solar design and installation, PV systems, battery-based systems, and solar business strategies. Some sole installer training courses are specifically for women or Spanish speakers in an effort to make the solar installation industry more inclusive. Many online and in-person solar installation courses can be applied toward earning NABCEP solar installer certifications and recertifications.

Most of the in-person solar installation programs include five days of hands-on training, solar installation experience, and an opportunity to interact with industry experts. Many of the online courses span six weeks and are less intensive. Some solar installer courses have prerequisites or require field experience or passing a placement test.

solar installation training

NABCEP offers a wide range of solar panel installation courses through its Education and Training program. These solar certification training classes are designed to provide the necessary knowledge and skills for a successful career in the renewable energy industry.

NABCEP offers quality and affordable training courses in their Course Catalog, which includes both basic fundamental concepts related to the NABCEP Job Task Analysis and advanced-level courses that enhance the professional knowledge and skills of a NABCEP Board Certified Professional. By attending these courses, you or your team can earn training hours that are a requirement to qualify for NABCEP Credential exams.

solar panel installation training

IREC offers solar training program coursework for solar and EV charging station installers. These classes cover topics such as photovoltaic (PV) system design, installation best practices, safety protocols, code compliance, and solar permitting requirements. IREC's training programs aim to equip solar installers with the solar panel installation knowledge and skills needed to perform high-quality installations while adhering to industry regulations and best practices.

solar pv installer training

Grid Alternatives offers an array of comprehensive solar installation training programs through their Get Training initiative. These programs aim to equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue rewarding careers in the clean energy industry.

Grid Alternatives' training philosophy emphasizes hands-on experience, and their installation training courses focus on essential solar panel installation skills. Participants learn various aspects, including job site safety, fall protection, array layout, racking and module installation, electrical safety, conduit bending, solar panel wiring, and more. Located throughout California, Colorado, Washington DC, and Nicaragua, Grid Alternatives' training options and availability vary by location.

Trade Schools & Community College Solar Installer Training Programs

A variety of schools offer solar panel installation training programs and coursework for aspiring PV professionals.

  • Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC): This California trade school offers a comprehensive program for aspiring solar installers, providing a blend of knowledge and practical renewable energy skills. With a focus on solar panel installation, electrical systems, safety protocols, and industry regulations, LATTC's program in PV installation and maintenance offers both an associate's degree and a certificate program.

  • Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC): HVCC in New York offers a Solar Energy Technology program that provides training in solar installation for people interested in becoming solar panel installers.

  • Suffolk County Community College (SCCC): This New York community college offers a certificate program for solar energy technicians that equips students with essential skills and knowledge for a career in solar technology. Covering areas such as solar panel installation, electrical systems, safety measures, and industry regulations, the program ensures a well-rounded education with a blend of classroom learning and hands-on solar installation experience.

solar PV installer training

FAQs About Solar Panel Installer Training Programs

Read on to gain answers to your questions about solar installation courses.

Is there a demand for trained solar installers?

There is a significant demand for trained solar installers, and many solar companies are struggling to find qualified staff. Employment of solar panel installers is projected to grow by 22 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations, resulting in about 3,500 job openings per year on average. However, some solar companies are willing to offer on-the-job training due to a lack of trained solar installers in the labor pool.

How can I become a solar installer?

A common path to becoming a solar installer involves obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent. Then, gaining on-the-job training is crucial to learning how to design, install, and maintain solar panel systems. However, some individuals pursue solar installation training programs or apprenticeships to gain the necessary skills and qualifications for a career in solar power installation.

How to become an accredited solar installer?

To become an accredited solar installer and obtain a NABCEP solar installer certification, you can take classes offered by organizations such as NABCEP itself. NABCEP offers a course catalog that includes classes for different levels of expertise and experience in solar PV. These courses are designed to provide comprehensive education and training for professionals looking to obtain NABCEP credentials.

In addition to NABCEP, there are other organizations offering classes for NABCEP certification, including the SEI.

Solar Panel Installation Training Programs Can Advance Careers & PV Companies

Many of the most recognized solar installation companies have solar technicians with NABCEP certifications and meet the licensing requirements set by their states. Solar installation training coursework is an excellent way to gain expertise and prepare for installer certification exams. Now, there are more online training options than ever before, reducing or eliminating the need to travel.

Joining the GreenLancer platform is another way for solar installation companies to advance because we help streamline the solar permitting, interconnection, and engineering processes. Our services include solar engineering design services, PV plan sets, and interconnection applications. We offer a fast turnaround time and work with residential and commercial installers nationwide.

Fill out the submission form below to learn more about joining the GreenLancer marketplace.


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