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How to Become a Solar Panel Installer: Career Description, Training & Certification, and Salary

How to Become a Solar Panel Installer: Career Description, Training & Certification, and Salary

The solar panel installation industry is quickly expanding. In the past 30 years, in just two decades alone, over 60% of households have shifted to energy-efficient light bulbs and nearly 10% are using rooftop solar panels.

How to Become a Solar Panel Installer: Career Description, Training & Certification, and Salary

And now that the cost of a roof-mounted system has dropped significantly below $4 per watt for some systems on average in sunny states like Nevada or Arizona; any homeowner can make it happen with little effort and lower maintenance costs than traditional heating and cooling systems.

This is why the solar installation industry has been growing at a rapid pace. The growth of this industry means that more and more people are looking for ways to enter the field, especially those with little or no experience in construction trades and beyond.

But what does it take to get started? What should you know before becoming an installer? And just how much do these positions pay? Find out by clicking on “Introduction” below:

Step 1 – Meet the Requirements

In order to become a solar panel installer, you must be 18 years or older and pass a certification exam. You must also possess an A-level certificate or a high school diploma in order to qualify for certification as a solar panel installer. In addition, you must pass your North American Board of Certification Energy Practitioners exam.

Step 2 – Earn a Degree

There is no legal requirement to earn a degree to become a Solar Panel Installer. However, many employers now require formal education. An Associate’s degree in renewable energy can take around two years.

To become a solar panel installer, you will likely take classes in Energy Management, Energy Physics, Data Analytics, Construction Project Management, Electric Circuits, and Photovoltaic Systems. You should gain work experience while studying to have on-the-job knowledge when starting your career.

There are a variety of certificate programs that will provide the necessary training to become a solar panel installer. It can take up to a year to complete a program to become a solar panel installer. Classes you likely will take include PV Fundamentals, PV Design, PV Grid-Tie Systems, PV Stand-Alone Systems, and PV Construction Management. You will likely need to complete an internship or externship to gain real-world experience.

Step 3 – Gain Experience

There are a few ways to gain experience in the solar panel installation industry without going out and physically installing panels. You can use online learning platforms to learn how to install panels virtually. This is useful because it can give you a good idea of how the process works without having to put in the actual physical work. Training and certification are essential, but if you’re starting, this is an excellent way to get your feet wet.

You can also volunteer with nonprofit organizations that deal with solar panel installation. This is a great way to get real-world experience and learn more about the industry. Finally, there are online training programs that can help you learn more about solar panel installation from the comfort of your own home.

Step 4 – Become Licensed and Certified

In order to become licensed and certified as a solar panel installer, you must have four years of construction-related experience, one year of experience as a foreman, and two years of college-level courses. Alternatively, you can be licensed with two years of experience as a worker and one year of experience as a foreman.

If you have military service that is applicable to the category for which you are applying, you may also be eligible for licensure. Finally, if you have at least three years of experience installing solar panels, you may be eligible for licensure.

Licensing and Certification

Certification Example:

A certification in content creation can help you get better job opportunities and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. There are many certification options available, and the certifications you choose will depend on your skills and interests. Passing a certification conveys that you are qualified to provide content creation services.

Average Training Program Duration: 1-2 Years

It can take up to six weeks to get licensed and certified. Companies that offer their own training programs will likely have shorter training times, but you’ll need to spend time reading and doing courses. Training can be more intensive when companies offer their own in-house training programs.

Where to Get the Training to Become a Licensed or Certified Solar Installer


The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the gold standard for solar installer certification. NABCEP certification proves that an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to install solar panels. NABCEP certification enables individuals to work anywhere in the world as solar installers.

Training Centers

Certification programs are available to train individuals to become solar installers. It is important to check the certification requirements for the state in which you plan to work. Some training centers that offer certification for solar installers are:

Solar Energy International: Offers an online Solar Professional Certificate Program as well as hands-on training.

The Solar Training Network: A non-profit organization that provides training and education in solar energy technologies.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): Offers a variety of training courses in renewable energy, including solar installation.

Certification Programs

Certification programs for solar installers are available from a variety of sources. Some states have certification programs specific to solar installation, while others have general contractor licensure requirements, including solar installation.

Certification programs may also be available from private training companies or online. It is important to verify that your chosen certification program is appropriate for your state’s requirements before enrolling.

Trade Schools

Trade schools are a great way to get the training you need to become a licensed or certified solar installer. Trade schools will be up to date on state regulations and licensing requirements, making them a better option than other sources of information.

In-House Training

In-house training is a type of training that is typically more advanced than what is offered in traditional courses. It is usually shorter and more condensed. In-house training typically involves reading, courses, an exam, and preparation time. Training can take place in-house or with a trained instructor at a third-party provider.

Licensing requirements in different states

image represents Licensing requirements in different states

There are no state-by-state licensing requirements for solar panel installers, but some counties do have specific requirements. In California, for example, a solar contractor license or A/B general building contractors’ license and education requirements are required. Certification from the National Association of Building Contractors (NABCEP) is preferred but is not required.

In Hawaii, solar panel installers are automatically granted a systems contractor license. A NABCEP or similar license is required in Idaho, and a solar photovoltaic license is also required. No requirements are listed in Illinois, but a licensed electrician must be part of the team.

Indiana and Iowa have no specific requirements listed but require a licensed electrician to be part of the installation team. Louisiana requires that licensed electricians hold a license from an approved body.

There are no state-specific licensing requirements for solar panel installers in Ohio, but the state does require a state contractor electrician or HVAC license. Oklahoma also has no state-specific licensing requirements but does require the state contractor electrician or HVAC license.

The duties of a solar panel installer

Solar installers are accountable for installing photo-voltaic photovoltaic (PV) systems. They must have updated knowledge of protection concerns, installation practices, high-quality techniques, and current tools and products available. Solar installers ought to be licensed and certified with the aid of the state of the place they work. To become licensed, photo voltaic installers must meet all national requirements for certification and license.

Solar installers are responsible for many tasks on a photo voltaic PV system. These tasks encompass but are no longer limited to mounting the PV modules, putting in the racking systems, connecting modules and to the balance of device components, installing conduit and electrical wiring, trying out the system, and measuring the grounding systems.

Solar installers should adhere to all safety codes and producer specifications while installing the system. After installation, photo voltaic installers test the machine to ensure it features appropriately.

Training options for becoming a solar installer

There are many training options available to become a solar panel installer. A certified solar installer has undergone extensive training and is able to perform installations and maintenance tasks with ease. Becoming a solar installer is a long and arduous process, but the rewards are worth it.

Solar panel installation training typically includes safety precautions and installation steps. It is always better to get some experience before beginning to work as a solar panel installer. Two years of training is required before you can begin practicing professionally.

Solar Installer Career Paths

Recent Job Searches

There are a few recent job searches for solar installer career paths. Indeed has a few available solar installer roles. The number of available solar installer roles will vary depending on the website you’re looking at.

How Long Does Solar Energy Technician Training Take?

General Courses

There are many types of courses you can take to become a solar energy technician, but the most important thing is to find one that is right for you. Solar energy technician training can be completed in a hurry. The course requirements may vary depending on the urgency of the situation.

Advanced Courses

Solar energy technicians need to take advanced courses in order to learn about the latest technologies and methods used in solar energy systems. These courses generally last around 40 hours and include both classroom instruction and hands-on training. There may also be additional time required for exam preparation and taking the actual exams.

In-House Training Programs

In-house training programs are designed to train employees on specific topics related to their job. These programs can vary in length but typically last around two to six weeks. The training is typically more in-depth than other types of training and may require reading materials, courses, and a final exam.

Average Salary for a Solar Installer

The average solar installer in America makes $37,239 per year. The top 10 percent of installers make over $47,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent make under $29,000 per year. Solar installers in America work an average of 18 hours per week and make $17.90 per hour on average.

How Long is a License Valid?

A solar panel installer’s license is valid for a varying amount of time, depending on the state they are licensed in. It is recommended that solar panel installers recertify every three to four years. The validity period will also depend on the programs in place.

Solar Installer Demographics

Solar Installer Gender Distribution

In the United States, the solar installer workforce is predominantly male. According to the most recent data, 95% of solar installers are male, and only 6% are female. This skewed gender distribution is likely due to several factors, including the fact that men have historically dominated the solar industry.

The most common race/ethnicity among solar installers is White. However, it’s important to note that the data on installer demographics is somewhat limited. Nevertheless, we can say with some confidence that a significant majority of installers are White.

Interestingly, the most common foreign language among solar installers is Spanish. This suggests that there is a significant Hispanic presence in the industry. This may reflect the growing popularity of solar power in Hispanic communities nationwide.


A career as a solar panel installer can be a great way to make a difference and earn a good living. With the right training and certification, you can be on your way to a successful career in this growing field. For more information, visit



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