As the application of alternative energy becomes more popular, those
with training in solar technology can look forward to a bright and
promising career in this growing job market.
pathways are available to those interested in solar technology,
including short-term certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s and
master’s degrees. Training in solar technology can also be paired with
other degrees and experiences to expand career possibilities.
Solar technology typical refers to the application of photovoltaic
technology, which uses a device to produces free electrons when exposed
to light. The free electrons then create an electrical current. Many
training programs also include solar thermal training. A solar thermal
system is one that captures solar energy and converts it into heat that
could be used to power a furnace or other heating device.
With a short-term certificate in solar technology, a student can find
employment installing solar panels on homes and other buildings. He or
she may also do work in solar design, testing solar products, research
and development of solar products, service, maintenance and installation
With an associate’s degree in solar technology, the student may
attain employment similar to those with a short-term certificate, but
will generally have more responsibility and earn a higher wage. Those
working in the field with a short-term certificate or an associate’s
degree typically earn about $12-20 per hour.
Core courses for an
associate’s degree in include technical mathematics, electrical
circuits, green building systems and courses in solar thermal and solar
voltaic systems. Additional courses include composition, problem solving
and electronic devices. Solar technicians must also be well versed in
the National Electric Code.
Those who wish to continue their education in solar technology may
pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in solar technology or in
sustainability or another business related field. Solar technology also
pairs well with degrees in electrical engineering or power engineering.
Students who earn a bachelor’s degree may work as a sustainability
officer for a municipality or as a solar operations engineer, designing
new solar power systems.
The growth of careers in the solar sector also presents a unique
opportunity for professionals who are prepared to transition from
careers in more mature or declining areas of energy technology. By
building on their existing knowledge, these professionals can expand
their skill set to include solar technology by adding a short-term
certificate or an associate’s degree in solar technology. Men and women
who currently work as electricians or for electric companies may be
interested in adding solar power training to their resume in order to
expand their job opportunities.
Careers related to solar power are springing up around the world. The
highest demand is in warmer climates, such as the southern and western
parts of the United States, which received direct sunlight year round.
In regions with fewer direct sunlight hours throughout the year, a
student may be wise to combine solar technology training with another
alternative energy subject. In Northeast Ohio, students can benefit from
training in both solar technology and wind turbine technology. With a
dual specialization, students may be able to find employment working on
solar systems during the summer months and work installing and repairing
wind turbines during the colder, cloudier months of the year.
For students interested in alternative energy or seasoned
professionals in a related field, training in solar technology can lay
the groundwork for a promising career.
Lorain County Community College offers a one-year technical
certificate and an associate of applied science degree in Alternative
Energy – Solar Technology. Courses include photo voltaic systems,
technical mathematics, National Electric Code, instrumentation and
control, and more. For more information on solar technology programs at
LCCC, visit www.lorainccc.edu or call (440) 366-7016.