The demand for clean energy is higher than ever before, and many industries realize the significance of sustainable and renewable energy sources. One such industry is the solar industry, which is currently undergoing a massive boom as more and more people want to go green and reduce their carbon footprint. The demand for solar engineers is expected to increase by 20% in the coming years.
Forbes has put together a fascinating infographic that explores the growing demand for solar engineers in the U.S. and how the industry is adapting to meet this demand. According to the author of the piece, the solar industry is worth over $16 billion and has an ongoing need for 2,500 new solar engineers each year.
As the demand for green energy projects continues to grow, the opportunities in the field are limitless. Whether you’re an experienced solar engineer or are just getting started, there’s a job waiting for you.
Top Jobs in the Field
The infographic explores the various jobs available in the solar field and how to become qualified for them. If you’re passionate about sustainable energy and would like to spend your career working on projects that contribute to the green movement, here’s a rundown of the top jobs in the field and the qualification requirements for each one.
- Solar Project Delivery
- Solar Project Management
- Inspection / QA Analyst
- Systems Engineer / Designer
- Project Accounting Manager
Delivery is the process of getting a product from the point of production to the user. In the case of solar power, this generally means getting the equipment from the manufacturer to the installation site, where the power is generated and delivered to the consumer. It involves planning and managing the flow of materials from the supply chain to the manufacturing process and then to the end user. Most large-scale facilities have in-house delivery teams that are responsible for getting all of the equipment inside the building on time and in the right condition. In smaller facilities, delivery may be contracted out, meaning that the project manager or owner of the installation will have to coordinate all aspects of the project, including delivery.
Management is the process of directing people in order to get a purpose accomplished. In the case of solar power, this generally means organizing employees and contractors to get the job done, setting goals and objectives, and monitoring and evaluating progress. It’s often performed through supervision and training, along with some people management. In larger facilities, management may be a full-time position, and in smaller ones, it may be a part-time or ad-hoc role.
Inspection / QA Analyst
Inspection is the process of examining something closely or thoroughly, while quality assurance (QA) is the process of ensuring the reliability of a product or service by testing it and finding errors before it’s put into use (or sold). In the case of solar power, this means making sure that the equipment and materials are of good quality and working in compliance with specifications, ensuring proper installation and safe operation, and monitoring performance throughout the lifetime of the project.
Systems Engineer / Designer
A systems engineer or designer is someone who creates and designs electronic systems, such as telecommunications equipment and computer systems, and builds them to meet specific needs and objectives. They may also create and design the systems in accordance with a project’s requirements, taking into consideration the constraints imposed by time and budget. A systems engineer’s role is to envision how the pieces of a project fit together and verify that they function as intended. They’ll need to have knowledge of electronics, programming, and math along with a thorough understanding of the project’s objectives and the available resources. In the solar field, a systems engineer will design the infrastructure, including the generation and distribution of power, as well as the software that controls the system.
Project Accounting Manager
This is an administrative position that handles the financial side of a project. Specifically, they’ll need to know how to handle cost-plus contracts and be able to work with accountants and lawyers to ensure that all of the financial aspects of a project are recorded accurately and in compliance with regulations and contracts. These individuals will also need to be able to multitask effectively, as they’ll be responsible for overseeing various aspects of the project, from the acquisition of raw materials to the invoicing and collection of payments.
Many large solar facilities have in-house accounting teams that are responsible for managing all of the finances of a project, from the acquisition of equipment and material through to the final payment. In smaller facilities, this role may be contracted out to specialists who will be responsible for keeping track of all expenditures and generating necessary reports.
Becoming A Top-Notch Engineer
If you’re looking to enter the field and are wondering how to get started, here are some tips from the pros on how to land a job in this exciting and fast-growing industry. Whether you’re an experienced engineer or are just getting started, there’s a job waiting for you.
1. Find A Mentor
Mentors are professionals who offer advice and guidance to help you grow as a professional. They can help you get your feet wet and learn the basics of the trade. Once you’ve established yourself as a competent professional, you can look for a more senior mentor who can help you climb the ladder. You should seek out a reputable mentor who is well-acquainted with the industry and can offer advice on getting started. You can also look for organizations that provide mentoring opportunities, seminars, and conferences in your area.
2. Create A Resume
A resume is a summary of your professional experience, containing your education, training, and work history. It’s usually used to apply for jobs in person, so make sure that all of the information is accurate and comprehensive. Keep in mind that recruiters will be reviewing your resume for keywords as part of the application process, so make sure that all the information is relevant to the position you’re applying for.
While you’re applying for jobs, it’s important to continue networking. Visit networking events and conferences in your area, join industry organizations, and connect with people who can help you land your dream job. You never know who might help you out along the way.
4. Study Up On The Basics
If you’re entering the field for the first time, it’s essential to study the basics. Learn about the trade, the equipment and materials used, and the various forms of sustainable energy. Familiarize yourself with accounting procedures and recordkeeping laws. This will help you become competent and confident in your role as a systems engineer or project manager. Make sure you have the necessary qualifications for the position you’re applying for. Be sure to obtain a degree or certification in the field.
5. Be Ready To Take On Multi-Tasking
Once you’re employed in the field, you’ll quickly learn that there’s more than one person working on a project, and that you’re going to be expected to multitask. You’ll need to be able to quickly switch between tasks, taking on new responsibilities as they come up. Being ready to take on multi-tasking is an essential skill for any systems engineer or project manager. Being organized and following-through are also important qualities that will help you succeed in this field.
6. Follow The Rules
As a systems engineer, you’ll be working with other professionals and contractors who may not be as experienced as you are. You’ll have to help them by following safety procedures, ensuring the quality of their work, and helping them achieve the project goals.
7. Be Flexible
Since this is a field that tends to be dynamic and ever-changing, you’ll need to be flexible and willing to learn. Some of the things that you’ll learn along the way may even be undocumented. While you’re not expected to know everything, you should be able to look at any issue and understand why it’s being approached in a certain way. Being open-minded will also get you far in your professional life.
8. Stay Hydrated
Being hydrated is important in order to function at your peak capacity, which means you’ll be in good shape to take on more responsibilities and work harder. There are several reasons why you should stay hydrated, including reducing your stress levels and improving your focus. Staying hydrated is also crucial for your health, so make sure to drink plenty of water daily.