Solar Panel Installation Courses – Where to Get Solar Energy Training or Certification

Jobs in solar energy

Photo by N A I T, Flickr

Although interest in using renewable energy for businesses and homes has been gaining for many years, the solar industry only starting to gain ground when both state and federal governments started offering tax incentives and rebates to use green energy. This has made the cost of installing solar panels on business buildings and homes cost effective. This has ultimately led to increased green job opportunities for those skilled in the installation, maintenance, and design of photovoltaic panels and systems for homes, businesses, and solar panel fields. Many construction workers and electricians have found their skills highly valued in this field with additional solar panel installation courses.

Utility Companies Solar Installer Training

Some local utility companies throughout the U.S. have started to designed and implemented programs to train and educate people about renewable energy. These often include job training courses that will give you skills needed as a photovoltaic installer or maintenance worker.  Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in California holds classes in PV system code compliance, career opportunities, system sizing, and installation safety. Some of these courses are taught at a training facility, while others are available online.

ISPQ International Standard Courses

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) oversees the Institute for Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) training and accreditation of programs that teach job training skills related to renewable energy.  These tend to be shorter but intense courses. With these programs students can not only  gain skills needed for employment but also prepare to take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners exams.  Some solar training companies with ISPQ accredited instructors include Solar Energy International based in Colorado, but with online and hands-on training offered in several western states, Boots on the Roof in California, which offers a six day Solar Training PV Boot Camp, and Austin Community College which has several continuing education courses related to solar systems.

College Solar Energy Technology Courses and Degree Programs

Many community, technical, and 4-year-colleges around the country now offer renewable energy classes and trainings designed for construction and maintenance workers and engineers. In fact, in most major metropolitan areas you can now find solar energy courses through the local community college. At a community college you can take just a class or two to improve your skills or earn an associate’s degree in solar technology. For a 4-year-degree look to universities with engineering and technology degree programs in alternative energy, renewable energy, and environmental resources engineering. Arizona State University, Humboldt State University, and Illinois State University are just a few of the colleges that offer undergraduate degrees related to solar technologies.

On the Job Training

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers includes solar installation training as part of every apprenticeship. Members have the option to participate in one of several photovoltaic training programs. These include training specific to PV installation and a general apprenticeship that includes the Green Jobs curriculum. You can also apply for entry level positions with any local company that installs photovoltaic panels to learn the skills needed for higher level green jobs.  While working and getting paid for solar installation training you can learn about solar energy technology first hand.

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