- Increase energy efficiency
- Produce renewable energy
- Prevent, reduce, or mitigate environmental degradation
- Clean up and restore the natural environment
- Educate, consult, and provide other services that support the above
Solar PV installers fall into the definition of green jobs because the major focus of the job is installing solar panels that produce renewable energy.
In 2010, research, interviews, and surveys were used to collect information on solar PV installers. Oregon employers participated in individual interviews and surveys. Their feedback was used to create an occupational profile consisting of common licenses, skills, and alternate job titles associated with solar PV installers. The profile will be used on both the WorkSource Oregon Employment Department's job matching tool iMatchSkills« ( www.iMatchSkills.org) and QualityInfo.org.
Solar PV installers were only recently identified in 2010 as an independent occupation by BLS. The WorkSource Oregon Employment Department will not have official employment or wage estimates until 2013. However, a BLS article on the solar PV installer occupation estimates that wages for entry-level solar PV installers are about $12 to $15 an hour and vary by location, with crew leaders making between $20 and $25 an hour (article available at www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2009/fall/yawhat.pdf).
Previously, classification of solar PV installers was fragmented: some workers were classified as electricians; roofers; construction and related workers, all other; heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers; and installation, maintenance, and repair workers, all other.
Some alternate titles for this occupation include solar PV racking installers, solar system installer, solar energy technician, solar panel technician, solar panel installer, solar technician, solar installer, solar PV technician, solar installer roofers, and limited renewable energy technician.
Many Oregon employers indicated that when hiring for solar PV installers, they tend to look for applicants with previous math, construction, roofing, mechanical skills, or electrical experience. Employers also stated that they expect to provide on-the-job training to workers, due to the specialized nature of installing solar PV panels. As far as education level, employers generally cited a high school education as the minimum level needed to perform this job. Finally, employers emphasized the importance of following safety procedures and regulations on the job, as many installations take place on rooftops.
As seen in Table 1, the general skill set of solar PV installers includes some solar PV-specific skills, but also includes skills that can transfer from various construction, installation, and electrical occupations' skill sets.
|Sample Skills of Solar Photovoltaic Installers|
|Solar PV-Specific Skills|
|Apply weather sealing to solar photovoltaic array, building, or support mechanisms|
|Attach solar photovoltaic panels to racking|
|Design layout of solar photovoltaic arrays and equipment|
|Install solar photovoltaic racking|
|Visually inspect solar photovoltaic panels and racking|
|Bend metal or plastic tubing or conduit|
|Cut, fit, and join construction materials|
|Diagnose mechanical problems in equipment|
|Install machinery and equipment|
|Use basic mathematics|
"This article has been funded, either wholly or in part, with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, under grant #GJ-19828. The contents of this article do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of same by the U.S. Government."