Skip to main content

Careers in Solar Energy

Solar energy has received a lot of attention over the past several years. As solar energy systems become more cost effective, they will make up a larger share of the growing energy needs of the United States. It is estimated that in August of 2010, there were 93,000 people spending more than half of their work time on projects related to solar power. By August of 2011, this number reached over 100,000 workers. The following profiles describe commonly held position in the solar energy industry including those involved in the planning, development, manufacturing, operation, and maintenance of solar energy systems.

Mechanical Assembler - Mechanical Assemblers assemble or modify the equipment used in solar energy systems. They install and assemble parts and components as well as make adjustments and repair.

Solar Site Assessor - Solar Site Assessors conduct site assessments for solar energy projects. They determine how much energy can be produced from the solar radiation received at a given location.

PV System Designer - PV System Designers design photovoltaic systems for buildings and homes. Their work includes developing detailed drawings of the parts and components to be installed in these systems.

Solar Sales Representative - Solar Sales Representatives work with customers to determine their solar energy and equipment needs. They recommend solar energy systems and provide cost estimates to potential customers.

Solar Thermal Installer - Solar Thermal Installers install or repair active solar heating systems. Their work includes determining the optimal placement of tanks, pumps, and solar collectors. They mount these parts as well as connect water heaters and storage tanks to power and water sources.

Solar PV Technician - Solar PV Technicians work on residential as well as large scale photovoltaic systems. They inspect, evaluate, test, clean, calibrate, and maintain the parts and equipment that comprise PV systems, including photovoltaic cells, fuse boxes, inverters, circuit breakers, transformers, batteries, and relays.

Mechanical Engineer - Mechanical Engineers design, test, and develop new solar products, components, and equipment. Their work includes planning and managing projects to ensure all work is accurate, on schedule, and at or below cost.

Materials Scientist - Materials Scientists design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of materials for solar products. Materials considered by Materials Scientists for solar applications includes metals, alloys, rugger, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass.

Instrumentation and Electronics Technician - Instrumentation and Electronics Technicians help develop, test, calibrate, and manufacture electrical and electronic equipment for solar applications.

Plumber - Plumbers install, maintain, and repair pipes and tanks for active solar heating systems and concentrated solar power systems. They also ensure that these systems comply with plumbing and building codes.