The growth of the solar industry cannot continue without cultivating current students and rising college graduates. Residential solar capacity has increased dramatically in the past few years and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) forecasts that 75 percent of the U.S. solar market will attain grid-parity by 2015. This means that more homeowners and small businesses will be looking to solar to provide their electricity. Solar installation companies are hiring but the opportunities are getting tighter.
Brogan Kusske, the Vice President at Energy Monster, a Massachusetts Energy Services Company explains that “…a candidate who has prior experience in the field, especially communicating with homeowners and demonstrating an understanding of the tools we use every day, is simply invaluable.” Furthermore, as the industry matures, the expectations of those looking to get their foot in the door will continue to increase.
Fortunately, companies such as SolarList are giving students an opportunity to be trained to provide free solar quotes for homeowners.
Early Involvement is Necessary for Continued Development
Armed with SolarList’s software, which can generate real-time economic assessments of a homeowner’s ability to go solar, their Solarists (solar activists) canvass their communities offering free instant solar assessments via a mobile app and leveraging existing relationships to generate interest and qualified leads for installation companies.
The company also gives students the tools and training necessary to manage their own solar lead generation and qualification enterprise. The idea is that when it comes time to hit the job market, they’ll have gained invaluable experience that will give you a leg up on the competition.
“We are consistently finding that students and young people are desperate for a way to take real action to help transform our energy use and fight climate change.,” says SolarList founder, Tyler Tringas. “As a Solarist, they can gain valuable experience for the clean energy economy and actually see real homes in their community switch to solar.”
Continuing the Path
In the absence of significant college curriculum for those looking to enter the clean energy industry, innovative solutions such as SolarList’s are helping those just starting to think about their career path get their foot in the door. Fortunately, other companies are working to maintain a healthy level of skilled labor beyond this point.
CleanEdison has designed an online Solar Design and Technical Sales Training course for those looking to turn this job into a full career. The course relies heavily on the standardized curriculum and certification process developed by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) to ensure a certain level of quality for hiring companies. It takes participants from simply providing an analysis of a home’s solar capabilities to being able to properly and effectively design and system and communicate the solution to a homeowner.
Not only are these positions in high demand in solar companies, but the design and sales positions have historically been more appealing to a younger generation that is less interested in the hands-on installation positions. This path is not meant to be prescriptive, but it is clear that starting students early with easy-to-use technology will help support the sustained growth of the solar industry.
This post originally appeared on the CleanEdison Blog
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