Solar panels are an increasingly popular way of creating energy for homes and even commercial buildings as the world turns to alternative sources of energy. While standard engineering and electrical schools and comprehensive electrical engineering degrees are very common, solar education is still in the development stages. However, industry organizations and nonprofit groups have created options for getting solar panel installation training. Individuals interested in getting into the solar power industry or expanding an existing electrician practice should find sources to obtain a solar education.
Solar Energy International is a trade organization that exists to promote solar energy and describes itself as a nonprofit educational organization. As part of the effort to promote solar energy as an alternative to traditional sources, Solar Energy International sponsors several solar installation training courses and hands-on workshops. Technicians interested in getting a solar education and solar panel installation training can explore SEI’s opportunities.
Before paying tuition to an SEI solar installation program, applicants should be aware that there are some tuition assistance opportunities for solar technician students. Aspiring students should first apply for a scholarship through Solar Energy International at Solarenergy.org/scholarships. As of November 2010, those who receive solar education scholarships receive 50% of the tuition on SEI solar installation and related training programs.
Note: Many states and even counties or cities may have specific license requirements for solar panel installation. You should always check your state and local laws first before making a final decision on solar education and training. Typically, states do not specifically approve or require solar power training. But some states or locales may lay out specific educational requirements or even approval of training programs. Many states also have a test to get an electrician license, so this would be your first concern when deciding how and where to get solar installation training.
After applying for an SEI scholarship, you can then check out the solar training options. For those who are too busy to attend live solar power training, you can check out SEI online courses at Solarenergy.org/workshop-schedule?date=&location=24&category=. This may be the preferred method for those who already have lots of experience, such as existing electricians. Experienced professionals may need less hands-on training and could choose an online course if they are simply too busy with their careers to get live solar power installation training.
Of course, a better way to get a solar education for most people is probably a hands-on workshop. As with all electrical engineering, solar installation is a fairly complicated job that needs hands-on experience. This is the benefit of hands-on solar panel and related installation training and education. You can check out Solar Power International’s array of hands-on workshops at Solarenergy.org/workshop-schedule. Note that the solar training workshops take place in multiple locations around the United States and even countries like Costa Rica from time to time.
While SEI may be the leader in worldwide solar installation training, several employers may offer the opportunity for OJT or similar solar education and training. Check recruitment websites and employment agencies for possible opportunities in your area. In addition, it is also wise to consider getting a degree in electrical engineering, as the field of solar energy is essentially a subset of the electrical power industry. Some colleges and universities may also offer specific training and education programs in solar power and solar panel installation.
Solar Energy International Workshop Training Schedule