Demonstrate start-up, shut-down, maintenance, diagnostic, and safety procedures to thermal system owners
Solar thermal technicians specifically perform routine maintenance or repairs to restore solar thermal systems to baseline operating conditions.
Entry-level solar thermal installers begin work under the supervision of more experienced workers. Over time, they are given more complex work and more independence in accomplishing it. After several years of experience installing thermal systems, the installer may become a technician. Installers and technicians with more experience may become supervisors. Others start their own businesses as consultants or as solar panel installation and service contractors.
The statistics are based on the Bureau of Labor’s category of “Construction and Related Workers, All Other,” which projects an average growth rate of 7 to 13 percent for this category between 2008 and monitoring system components; and 2018.
Median hourly wage (2009): $16.34
Median annual wage (2009): $33,980
Entry-level jobs in construction typically require a high school diploma or equivalent and generally start workers as laborers, helpers, or apprentices.
Skilled occupations such as solar thermal installer and technician require classroom instruction and on-the-job training that may be acquired by attending a community college or technical or trade school, participating in an apprenticeship, or taking part in an employer-provided training program. Some community colleges, technical schools and institutes, and trade associations offer short-term online training programs.
Apprenticeships are administered by local employers, trade associations, and trade unions and provide the most thorough training. Typically, they last between three and five years and combine on-the-job training and 144 hours or more of related classroom instruction for each year of the program. The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) operates apprenticeship framing programs for individuals wishing to become electricians, as does the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Most states require licensing for plumbers and electricians.
Solar power training certification is currently voluntary, but some states are looking into requiring it. The North American Board of Certified Energy
Practitioners (NABCEP) provides the Solar Thermal Installer Certification program.