Unique Careers - Solar Photovoltaic Technician (Solar Panel Technician)
What Are Photovoltaic Panels? (What are Solar Panels?)
Photovoltaic panels are more widely known by the general public as solar panels.
They are made up of solar cells, or "photovoltaic (pv) cells." These panels are the translucent, flexible, plastic wafers that you might see angled atop some buildings and homes.
Solar electric systems can also be installed on the ground, on poles, or sides of buildings.
The panels are also manufactured as roof tiles and shingles or incorporated into siding or windows.
The main purpose of photovoltaic panels is to harvest sunlight and convert it into electricity. PV panels produce renewable energy, and a career as a photovoltaic technician is indeed a green career.
What is a Solar Photovoltaic Technician?
A solar photovoltaic technician is either an employee who installs the solar panels or tests and assembles solar cells into solar panels.
Installation technicians perform the rather straight-forward job of installing the finished panels. The job of a tester is to test the panel to insure that it is able to generate electricity from the sun.
The job of a PV technician can be physically demanding because it may require scaling roofs, handling fairly heavy equipment, and working with electrical components.
Because photovoltaic panels are a source of renewable energy, this job field should grow as the country - and indeed the world, becomes more eco friendly.
Career Training & Certification
Photovoltaic Technician programs are currently sprouting up all across the country in community colleges and technical schools.
As the field continues to grow, there are increasing opportunities for installers, sales, engineers, fabrication, testers, lab technicians, etc.
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers Technical Sales Certification, and PV Installer Certification, in addition to the other energy certification programs they offer.
Certification is voluntary, but it provides employers with proof that an applicant fully understands how to perform their duties.
Certification can give job seekers an advantage over the competition.
When seeking career training for the solar energy field, it is a good idea to find out whether or not the program teaches to the competencies of NABCEP certification.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, industry analysts estimate that wages for entry-level solar PV installers are about $12 to $15 an hour and vary by location.
Experience can allow installers to earn $20 and $25 an hour. Job seekers with an electrician license, or experience in another electrical field usually earn more money.
Sales representatives can earn salaries that exceed $100,000.
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