Careers in Solar Energy
Renewable energy is increasing in popularity, and many new job opportunities have been created in the industry. Because solar power is the most abundant renewable energy source for electricity in the Tennessee Valley, solar careers provide most of the renewable energy jobs in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and other nearby states. In this blog, we’ll discuss different career paths in solar energy and answer questions such as:
- What types of solar energy jobs exist?
- Is there room for professional growth?
- Where should I start if I’m interested in a career in solar power?
What Types of Solar Energy Jobs Exist?
Solar energy jobs include roles in engineering, administration, sales, marketing, installation, service, and operations & maintenance.
Solar operations & maintenance (O&M) is often required to keep large solar farms working efficiently, and it’s one of the fastest growing parts of the solar energy industry as many utility companies continue to invest in solar projects. Solar O&M jobs include field service engineers and technicians, and many O&M specialists begin their careers with construction and/or computer science backgrounds.
Solar energy installation jobs are growing, too. They include positions such as:
- Entry-level solar technicians
- Lead solar technicians
Solar energy technicians have plenty of room for professional growth as they gain experience and knowledge. Most of our entry-level technicians joined LightWave Solar soon after college or high school with some construction experience. Many have worked their way up to become Lead Technicians, Electricians, Engineers, or Salespeople. Willingness to learn, comfort with power tools, and critical thinking skills are some of the best characteristics of an entry-level solar installer. Lead Solar Technicians require more construction experience, specifically in electrical work or roofing.
Our service department is growing as our fleet of solar projects increases and ages. Solar service technicians share many of the same skills and experience as installation technicians and O&M technicians. LightWave prioritizes service for existing customers and assists non-LightWave customers when possible. To help everyone, we will have to grow our service team!
Solar engineering positions have also increased at LightWave, especially now that most of our residential solar projects have become more complicated with the addition of battery systems. Many of our engineers started at LightWave as installation or service technicians. Engineers help design projects by assisting with site surveys, selecting equipment, and drawing plans. Solar engineers must know and build their NEC and local electrical code knowledge.
Where Should I Start If I Am Interested in Starting a Career in Solar Energy?
First, think about what kind of work interests you as well as your current skills. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you like building things?
- Do you like talking to people?
- Would you prefer to work outside, on a computer, or a combination of both?
- Do you have construction or sales experience?
- Do you have AutoCAD experience?
- Do you have an engineering degree?
Next, check out local solar energy job descriptions to see if you find a position compatible with your interests and experience. Try to learn more about the company who is hiring in terms of years in business, types of completed projects, online reviews and overall values.
We also recommend checking out the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Career Center Resources. NABCEP is the most respected certification organization for U.S. solar professionals, and they offer:
- Renewable energy career path information
- Resume advice
- Job listings
For those just starting out in the solar energy field, NABCEP also offers the Associate Credential, which can show employers you have a base of solar energy knowledge and a commitment to work in the industry.
Full NABCEP certification requires on-the-job experience, classroom training and passing a rigorous test, so it’s intended for more seasoned individuals.
We encourage you to review our current open positions at LightWave. Remember that our entry-level positions lead to professional growth and promotion within the company. Many of our past entry-level solar energy installers have grown into other roles, such as:
- Lead Solar Technician
- Project Manager
- O&M Technician
- O&M Manager
- Service Manager
Join the Lightwave Team
Whether you’re just joining the solar energy industry or are looking to take the next step in your established career, LightWave Solar may be the right place for you. Visit our About Us page to learn more about our team and check out our current open positions!