With the new year just begun, many businesses are gearing up for a brighter future. One place to look for employment is within the renewable energy industry, where demand for experienced consultants is predicted to increase by 20% in the coming months.
The demand for practical experience in the solar energy industry is high, with many customers turning to independent contractors to help them design their systems, provide maintenance or conduct project reviews. As the industry becomes more sustainable and less reliant on fossil fuels, the need for specialized knowledge and expert opinion grows.
If you’re looking to gain experience and begin a new career in solar energy, here’s how you can go about doing so.
Education And Training
To begin your career in the solar energy industry, you’ll need to gain some professional qualifications. For solar installation contractors, you’ll need to become a certified solar installer or designer. As a general rule of thumb, the more experience you have, the more sophisticated your design skills will become. So, it’s a good idea to start your education as an apprentice. During this time, you’ll be gaining on-the-job experience and also earning a wage.
To become a solar energy consultant, you’ll need either a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering, science, economics or finance. With a solid understanding of the fundamental principles behind renewable energy, you’ll be in a good position to advise customers on their optimal system designs. Consulting customers on the planning, finance and legal aspects of a solar project can also help you pad your resume.
Once you’ve gained some experience and established yourself as an expert in the field, it’s time to start thinking about your career path. The demand for skilled contractors in the solar energy industry ensures there’s plenty of opportunity for those looking for employment, but perhaps looking for a change of pace. If, however, you’re already experienced in other fields and looking for a new challenge, there are also plenty of opportunities within the renewable energy industry.
One of the most in-demand positions in the solar energy industry is as a project manager. As the name suggests, a project manager is generally in charge of the entire solar process, from design and development through to commissioning and ongoing maintenance. This can be a highly responsible and demanding role, especially if you’re taking on a large project.
Another option is to go the indie route and set up your own business. Being your own boss and having absolute control over your working conditions is appealing, especially as you get to design your own role. If you’re looking to set up on your own, make sure you do your research into the legal and financial aspects of doing so. The choice is completely up to you.
Become A Member Of Professionals
If you’re looking for a new challenge and want to take your career into your own hands, becoming a member of a professional body is a great idea. Joining a consortium of businesses that provide education, training and certification for this particular field ensures you’ll always have a steady stream of work, no matter what stage you’re at in your career. You can also look into joining one of the many trade unions that represent contractors, designers and project managers in the industry. Being a member of a union will also help establish you as an expert in the field and give you the option to network with experienced professionals.
Get In Touch With The Industry
There are many ways you can get in touch with the industry and begin carving out a niche for yourself. Designing and installing solar energy systems is only part of the story, as many companies are also in the business of buying and selling components for solar power generation. To understand the entire market, you’ll need to get in touch with industry bodies like the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) or consult reputable business websites like Solar Power World. By getting in touch with the industry, not only will you learn more about the business, but you’ll also have the opportunity to network and even establish contacts that can prove invaluable in furthering your career.
Take Advantage Of Online Resources
With the world of online resources growing every day, it’s essential to make the most of the information readily available. The internet is a goldmine of information when it comes to this particular industry, with many resources available to those looking for advice and guidance. One of the best places to start is the Solar Energy Research Center’s website. Here, you’ll find everything from news articles to white papers and technical guides. Simply enter your query into the search bar and you’ll be presented with a variety of results that can help guide your training and career decisions.
If you already have experience in the field and are looking to further your knowledge, consider taking a closer look at the resources available online. With many course providers offering in-demand degrees and vocational certifications, you can gain in-demand skills and gain valuable knowledge that will undoubtedly make you stand out above the rest.