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How to grasp a career in solar

There are reasons for 'green careers' optimism. In particular, the renewable energy economy sparks high interest and creates numerous opportunities for green jobs and career training paths. The federal government is investing billions into the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors to help get the U.S. economy back on track. Existing and emerging businesses are investing even more. Photo by Swords to PlowsharesPhoto by Swords to Plowshares

Make a difference in the solar world, where training, education, and many jobs are already available!Solar technologies include the following (from California Center for Sustainable Energy):

1. Photovoltaics (PV) means ?means the process of converting sunlight into electricity.2. Solar Water Heating/Solar Thermal describes systems that convert the suns energy to heat that can be used to offset loads typically provided by natural gas and electricity.3. Solar Pool Heating - Low temperature application of Solar Thermal using unglazed polypropylene collectors. Solar Thermal systems come in a variety of types, each is suitable for several uses. For example, heating swimming pools usually use unglazed polypropylene collectors. Heating domestic water tanks, requires higher temperature systems and the use of highly insulated copper collectors. Other uses, such as home space heating and industrial process heat are also possible uses.

How to find solar jobs?

MisconceptionMany people think that green jobs are primarily for researchers, scientists, and the highly educated. However, most of the jobs in the green economy are similar to those in traditional industries. Solar manufacturers need project managers, finance staff, skilled manufacturing workers (like assemblers, electricians, machine operators, etc.), technology professionals, customer service and sales personnel, and marketing professionals

What is your solar niche?Assess what appeals to you and what doesn’t. For example, would you be interested in developing the technology? Perform residential or commercial on-site assessment? Do you want to be an installer/retrofitter? Are you interested in marketing solar technologies? Attend local solar events and other 'green' opportunities to network and get to know people who are already working in the solar industry.

Find a knowledgeable personPeople who are already involved in the solar industry, can help you tremendously. Talk to them, network, and find as much information as you can. You will not only learn about the person’s company, but also learn about the solar industry! Be curious; ask questions; find out what type of training he/she needed to take; learn the industry lingo; gather as much information as you can. This will help you decide what you’d like to do.

TRAINING:There are many training opportunities for various solar careers, some are certificate programs.

Build It Green, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote healthy, energy- and resource-efficient homes in California , offers several certificate options. 

California Building Performance Contractors Association (CBPCA) helps green contractors identify and perform quality Green Home Energy Upgrades and energy efficiency improvements. CBPCA offers several courses in the bay area.

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