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Emerging Occupations

Alternative Energy Technologist

Alternative energy technologists work with engineers, designers, and installers to design, plan, and manage the installation of alternative energy systems. These could include solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geoexchange, wind, microhydro, co-generation, energy storage, or bioenergy systems.

This is an emerging occupation. It may have evolved from an existing occupation or emerged in response to consumer needs or technological advances.

Also Known As

Renewable Energy Technologist, Sustainable Energy Technologist

Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alternative energy is sometimes called renewable or sustainable energy. It is derived from natural sources, such as the earth, sun, wind, biomass, and water.

Alternative energy technologists assess proposed sites for alternative energy systems. They consider economic and environmental factors, and social responsibility. They:

  • Calculate system needs based on energy demand
  • Design alternative energy systems
  • Conduct economic analyses and feasibility studies to determine ROI (return on investment)
  • Develop project charters and manage project plans
  • Perform quality assurance and quality control tests
  • Work with technicians, installers, and tradespeople
  • Troubleshoot technical problems related to energy generation, distribution, and storage
  • Develop and deliver presentations to potential clients and industry partners
  • Design energy management plans for corporations and municipalities
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Depending on the type or phase of a project, alternative energy technologists may work indoors or out on location. Indoors, they work on sales, design, project management, or energy planning. Outdoors, they do installation, site management, site assessment, and energy auditing. During site assessment, installation, or auditing, technologists may work in trenches, climb ladders, and work on roofs. They may lift or move heavy equipment.

Hours of work vary because some tasks must continue non-stop until completed. Travel to work sites is often a big part of the job.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alternative energy technologists need:

  • An interest in the environment, climate change, and renewable energy
  • Strong mathematical and science skills
  • Time-management skills
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • The ability to work independently
  • The ability to co-ordinate the work of others

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, finding innovative solutions to problems, and working with interdisciplinary teams.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education Varies

Most emerging occupations develop from more than one occupation. People working in this occupation may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should contact associations and employers in this field to investigate education options and employment possibilities.

Alternative energy technologists need to know how solar arrays, biomass, hydro, and other renewable systems generate electricity. They need a working understanding of national and provincial standards, regulations, and codes that apply to the development and use of alternate energy, such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and electrical code. They also need to know about:

  • Environmental, regulatory, and economic feasibility of various alternative energy systems
  • Energy modelling and the interplay between geoexchange (energy efficiency) systems and building construction
  • The integration of electrical and thermal energy storage systems
  • Technical and behavioural elements of an energy management plan
  • The carbon footprint created by various types of energy production

Those who work on wind systems may need additional training. For more details, see the Wind Turbine Technician occupational profile.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • An increased human need
  • Technological advances
  • Greater specialization within an occupation

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation, but future demand for it is unknown.

Alternative energy technologists may work for:

  • Residential construction companies (such as mechanical and electrical contractors and green home builders)
  • Commercial or industrial green energy projects (such as biofuel plants and storage facilities)
  • Companies that distribute alternative energy systems (such as geoexchange systems, wind turbines, and solar panels)
  • Industry associations promoting the use of alternative, renewable, and sustainable energy sources
  • Municipal planning, municipal stewardship, energy management, and permitting agencies
  • Energy auditing and energy management companies

Self-employed alternative energy technologists may act as consultants for clients engaged in new building or retrofitting projects.

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment

Explore emerging workplace trends in Alberta that could affect this occupation.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, no current provincial salary data is available for this occupation.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Sciences
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Biofuelnet Canada website:

Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) website:

Canadian Institute for Energy Training (CIET) website:

Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) website:

Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA) website:

ECO Canada website:

Green Energy Alliance of Alberta website:

International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSPHA) website:

Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA) website:

ThinkGeoEnergy website:

Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICan) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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