Why We Love It
$39,500Potential Avg. Salary
6.8%Job Growth Rate
Growing DemandJob Outlook
Green JobsCareer Attribute
Solar panel technicians install solar panels on residences, commercial buildings, and farms. They create installation plans, install panels on rooftops or in fields, and conduct routine maintenance and repairs on installations. They may also be responsible for connecting solar panels to electrical power grid systems.
What is a Solar Panel Technician?
The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in solar panel technician roles:
- Visit job sites to view installation areas and form an installation plan
- Install solar panels on rooftops or in fields
- Connect solar panels to electrical power grid systems
- Test solar panels after installation to ensure full functionality
- Conduct routine maintenance and perform repairs on installations
A Day in the Life
Solar power is a form of clean and renewable energy that saves homeowners, farm owners, and business owners on the electricity costs. Solar power is captured and transformed into usable energy through specialized solar panels. In recent years, the cost of solar panels has decreased, so many property owners have chosen to adopt solar energy to provide electricity and reduce energy costs. Solar panel technicians enable this decision by installing solar power equipment.
When a job begins, a solar panel technician visits the job site to determine where panels should be installed. He/she forms an installation plan, and then transports the solar panels and other installation materials and equipment to the job site. Next, the solar panel technician begins installing solar panels. A frame may need to be required for installation, and the solar panel technician uses a variety of hand and power tools to construct frames and install solar panels on frames.
After the installation is complete, the solar panel technician must either connect the installation to the power grid—allowing the harvested solar energy to be converted into useable energy—or must work with an electrician to complete this task. After the panels are connected to the power grid, the solar panel technician performs thorough testing to ensure that the installation is working as designed. Additionally, solar panel technicians work to maintain and repair installations over the usage lifetime.
Typical Work Schedule
Most solar panel technicians work full-time schedules. They may be required to work overtime, nights, or weekends to complete installations by deadlines, or to make up for weather-related delays. They may also need to be on call for emergency repairs when issues arise with completed installations.
Projected Job Growth
A significant increase in demand for solar panel technicians is expected in the coming decade due to lower costs of solar panels. The decrease in cost for the technology has made solar energy systems more affordable to the general public, increasing demand for the system—and the individuals who install them.
Most solar panel technicians work for companies within the construction and contracting industries. They may work for real estate developers, electricians, HVAC companies, or contractors who specialize in renewable energy installations.
How To Become a Solar Panel Technician
There are two paths to becoming a solar panel technician. The first requires only a high school diploma. With a high school diploma and desire to work as a solar panel technician, you may be able to find work with a company that’s willing to train you on the job. This is similar to an apprenticeship where you learn the techniques and tools of the trade by observing and assisting an experienced solar panel technician for a year or more before performing installations on your own without supervision.
However, with little experience in the field, finding a company that’s willing to train you may prove to be difficult. For this reason, many aspiring solar panel technicians opt to take courses in solar photovoltaic (PV) installation at community and vocational colleges. These courses substitute on-the-job training by teaching students the techniques and tools of the trade. Completing coursework related to the career may make you more competitive for open roles because you’ll need less training than unexperienced candidates.
To perform the work of connecting solar panels to power grids, you’ll need to be licensed as an electrician. Becoming an electrician is a much more time-consuming process that requires 4-5 years working as an apprentice, passing a written exam, and becoming licensed in your state or locality. For this reason, many solar panel technicians choose to subcontract electricians to perform that part of the role.
Solar Panel Technician Salary Data
We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Anual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Solar Panel Technician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Solar Panel Technician's can make an average annual salary of $39,500, or $19 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $28,460 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#537 Nationally for All Careers
Highest Education Among Solar Panel Technicians
- 0% Doctorate
- 1.4% Masters
- 5.2% Bachelors
- 6% Associates
- 22% College
- 44.4% High School
- 21% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs35,400
2024 Est. Jobs37,800
Job Growth Rate6.8%
Est. New Jobs2,400
How does Solar Panel Technician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 2,400 jobs for a total of 37,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 6.8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#325 Nationally for All Careers
What Companies Employ The Most Solar Panel Technicians
|Industry||Current Jobs||New Jobs Needed||% Increase|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||5,300||300||0%|
|Other specialty trade contractors||3,400||300||0%|