How to Become a Solar Panel Installer? Full Details

The solar energy industry is one of the fastest-growing industries. This is because the world is concerned about taping into all its renewable energy alternatives. Hence, solar installers and technicians are constantly in high demand. If you are wondering how to become a solar panel installer, find below some of the most recognized ways to become one.

Table of Contents

First Thing First

In an uncertain economy, where most of the world’s most renowned professions are facing various economic crises, it becomes imperative to seek other fields to go into. The solar energy industry is offering a new beginning for so many people seeking alternative means of earning or trying to delve into a new profession. Being a solar panel installer is a more specific way of being a general technician. Hence, instead of having to deal with many aspects of so many things, you are limited to just installing solar panels.

The important question now is; how much do you know about the solar panel? This question is important because before you become a professional in installing solar panels, you need to know to understand what solar panel is and how it works. Generally, the concept behind solar panels is about putting the sun to good use.

The sun offers great solar energy that could replace other traditional consumable energy forms that the world is used to. Solar panels are then designed to help draw this energy from the sun. This is done using photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaic cells on the solar panels are left exposed to the sun and the negative cell of these photovoltaic cells draws photons. In this process, electrons are released and absorbed by the positive layer of the photovoltaic cells and thereby causing a voltage differential.

Hence, to maximize the level of output, these cells are arranged into an electrical module known as solar panels. However, it is not enough to just have solar panels. Also, you need the inverter which is the nervous system of the solar system. It is the inverter that converts the electricity generated, through the solar panels, into usable Direct current which can then be further converted into alternative currents for appliance use.

Because each cell has a certain watt of energy it is capable of producing, manufacturers of solar panels make these panels in different sizes, and each is capable of supplying certain watts of energy. Individual or commercial users then have the choice to install as many of their desired size of solar panels as would supply the amount of energy they have anticipated to consume. This is where a solar panel installer comes in.

Becoming a Solar Panel Installer

Becoming a Solar Panel Installer

The solar industry is so new that there is hardly a uniform certification designed for it in the university. Hence, most solar panel installers either undergo vocational training in vocational schools or community colleges. There are some sorts of training certifications designed to add merit to the abilities of a professional solar panel installer but this shouldn’t be mistaken for a university certification.

However, it is always an added advantage for people who have a background in mechanical engineering or other aspects of engineering although, not having a post-secondary degree will not hinder you from being a solar panel installer. Certification, however, gives consumers a level of satisfaction that the installer has been trained about the standard of safety and precautions that must be followed while installing solar panels. While seeking a permanent job having a certificate, that proves you’ve gone through formal training, can give you an edge over others. Furthermore, having a certificate may be a way of being judged as highly competent.

Different states have their standard requirement when it comes to getting certified as a professional solar panel installer. The licensing requirement may vary from being under apprenticeship for a fixed period or undergoing mandatory training for a specific time. For example, there is an eighteen-hour training program conducted by NABCEP for interested solar panel installers. The training also entails a flexible forty-hour advance training and passing PV installation professional certification exam. Hence, you have to research which licensing requirement is enforced in your state.

There is also the Electronic Technicians Association, International Program which is also known as the ETA. It offers quite a vast training for prospective solar panel installers. Although, the training is only available at ETA Approved schools only. Their training covers certification for renewable energy systems for residential and commercial purposes.

Furthermore, the Certified Solar Roofing Professionals is a national certification program that is quite reputable. The training is offered by The Roof Integrated Solar Energy Incorporation. They offer forty-hour training on essential safety standards and professional ethics. To qualify for the training, the candidate is expected to have a minimum of three years of PV and solar panel installation experience which must include the completion of, at least, five PV installations. This certification is not for a novice but for someone who seeks a recognized certification.

This is just to reiterate the fact that there is no single standard or uniform certification system for solar panel installation. Everything is just in a bid to position yourself as competent, reliable, and professional.

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Online Training

One of the best things that the internet has afforded us is the ability to do anything. There are enough online resources to help you learn and perfect your skill as a solar panel installer. There are enough tutorial videos online and across several platforms. There are also specifically designed online training, by recognized firms and experts, to teach you about the professional rudiments of solar panel installations. Some of these training may even make you eligible for the NABCEP exam.

While others may not make you eligible, you may as well use them to perfect your skills. You may then seek further training, as an apprentice, under a top-notch installation firm or professionals before seeking to obtain the certain professional certification you may find attractive.

What’s Next?

It isn’t enough to go through the trouble of acquiring certification as an expert solar panel installer. This might do you no good until you move to states that are more solar-energy friendly. There are places where solar energy isn’t so popular.

These areas are bad for business and except you are a freelance installer that goes around, or you work for a firm that sends you anywhere around the world to work, these areas would ruin the financial prospects of being an installer. Therefore, move to areas where your skill is very appreciated and not undervalued.


How to become a solar panel installer seems quite easy but there is nothing financially rewarding that doesn’t require some form of specialized training. While there is no unified standard training for solar panel installation, there is another professional training to help you in applying the best practices and standard safety precautions when doing your job.

You may choose to ditch the physical training and certification by using online training and video tutorials to be a self-taught freelance solar panel installer. Also, you may consider being under the apprenticeship of a recognized firm or expert. However, in any way you choose in becoming an installer, remember to always exhibit the best installation practices for the safety of yourself and your consumer-client.

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