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Occupational Profile
Emerging Occupations

Alternative Energy Technologist

In general, alternative energy technologists work with engineers, designers and installers to design, plan and manage the installation of alternative energy systems (for example, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geoexchange, wind, micro-hydro, carbon capture and storage, bio fuel or fuel cell).

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

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
Also Known As

Renewable Energy Technologist, Sustainable Energy Technologist

Duties
Updated Jan 23, 2017

Alternative energy is sometimes called renewable or sustainable energy. It is energy derived from natural sources (for example, the earth, sun, wind, water). For simplicity in this profile, the term alternative is used for energy that also is renewable and sustainable.

Alternative energy technologists:

  • assess the potential for various alternative energy systems at design sites
  • recommend appropriate systems based on available sun and wind and other considerations (for example, footprint area of land for a geothermal system)
  • calculate system requirements based on demand loads
  • design alternative energy systems (for example geothermal systems, wind turbines, solar systems)  
  • conduct economic analyses and feasibility studies to determine the return on investment
  • develop project charters, manage project plans and conduct quality assurance tests
  • work with technicians, installers and tradespeople who are responsible for system installation
  • trouble shoot technical problems related to energy generation, distribution and storage
  • develop and deliver presentations to potential clients and industry partners
  • create energy management plans for corporations and municipalities
  • attend trade shows to promote the alternative energy industry.
Working Conditions
Updated Jan 23, 2017

Alternative energy technologists may work indoors (sales, design, project management, energy planning) or outdoors (installation, site management, site assessment, energy auditing) depending on the type or phase of a project. During site assessment, installation, or auditing stages of projects, technologists may be required to work in trenches, climb ladders, work on roofs of varying heights and lift or move equipment that weighs over 20 kilograms. 

Travel to various work sites often is required. Hours of work vary because some tasks must continue non-stop until completed.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jan 23, 2017

Alternative energy technologists need the following characteristics:

  • an interest in the environment, climate change and renewable sources of energy
  • strong mathematical and science skills
  • time management skills
  • excellent analytical and problem solving skills
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • the ability to work independently
  • the ability to coordinate the work of others.

They should enjoy doing work that requires taking a methodical approach, finding innovative solutions to problems, and working in interdisciplinary teams.

Educational Requirements
Updated Jan 23, 2017

Most emerging occupations develop from more than one occupation so alternative energy technologists may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Prior to 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 be knowledgeable about:

  • how solar rays, bio mass, hydro and other renewable systems generate electricity
  • the environmental, regulatory and economic feasibility of various types of alternative energy systems
  • energy modeling and the interplay between energy efficiency systems (known as geoexchange) 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
  • national and provincial standards, regulations and codes that apply to the development and use of alternate energy (for example, Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards, electrical code).

 

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Jan 23, 2017

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • an increased human need (for example, alternate sources of energy)
  • 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 alternative energy technologists is unknown. 

Alternative energy technologists may be employed by:

  • residential construction companies (for example, mechanical and electrical contractors and green home builders)
  • commercial or industrial green energy projects (for example, biofuel plants and storage facilities)
  • distributors of alternative energy systems (for example, geoexchange systems, wind turbines, solar panels)
  • industry associations promoting the use of alternative, renewable, sustainable energy sources
  • municipal planning, municipal stewardship, energy management and permitting.

Some alternative energy technologists are self-employed and act as consultants for clients engaged in new building or retrofitting projects.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.
Wage & Salary
Updated Jan 23, 2017

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

Related High School Subjects
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Natural Resources
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 Jan 23, 2017

Alberta Energy - Alternative and Renewable Energy website: www.energy.alberta.ca/BioEnergy/bioenergy.asp

Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC) website: www.geo-exchange.ca

Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) website: www.cangea.ca

Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) website: cansia.ca

Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA) website: www.canwea.ca

Green Energy Alliance of Alberta website: www.greenenergyalliance.ca

International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSPHA) website: www.igshpa.okstate.edu

Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA) website: solaralberta.ca 

ThinkGeoEnergy website: www.thinkgeoenergy.com

Western Canada Biodiesel Association: westerncanadabiodiesel.org

Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICan) website: www.weican.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 04, 2016. 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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