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Occupational Profile
Emerging Occupations

Solar Installer

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

In general, solar installers install, service and maintain solar thermal (heat) and solar photovoltaic (light) power generation equipment.

 

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 7,500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Alternative Energy Technologist, Solar Contractor, Solar Technician, Solar Technologist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Solar Installer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Residential and Commercial Installers and Servicers
NOC code: 7441
OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating equipment and tools to install and service interior and exterior prefabricated products

METHODICAL

Interest in comparing information to measure and mark guidelines for installations

innovative

Interest in repairing and servicing interior and exterior prefabricated products

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 12, 2017

Solar installers work with clients and customers to determine what solar generation technology options will best suit their needs. They then sell and deliver the chosen solar thermal or solar photovoltaic power generation equipment to customers and clients at their homes, businesses or construction sites, where they install, service and maintain the equipment.

For larger projects, especially those involving new construction, solar installers work with or supervise project teams and coordinate with tradespersons and contractors to ensure the safe, effective and efficient installation of equipment.

A solar installer's duties typically include:

  • performing site assessments, which include load appraisals, shade analysis, hazard assessments and energy generation estimates
  • securing necessary permits and working with inspectors
  • conducting or supervising the installation, operation and maintenance of solar power generation equipment
  • setting up and operating specialized and standard test equipment to diagnose, test and analyse the performance of solar power generation equipment
  • inspecting, testing, calibrating, adjusting and evaluating electrical components
  • co-ordinating with electricians, plumbers, engineers, roofers and so on to complete installation of solar generation equipment and connect equipment to the rest of the building's systems
  • creating work schedules, technical reports, estimates, and invoices.

Note - Any work related to installing, interconnecting and terminating electrical components or equipment (such as solar panels) can fall under several trade regulations. This means that a solar installer must be certified as an electrician, a power system electrician, or a powerline technician or be registered as an apprentice and supervised by a certified tradesperson in one of these areas.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 12, 2017

Solar installers travel between warehouses or storehouses, construction sites, homes and businesses, where they install, maintain and service solar generation equipment. They work with their hands and with various tools and equipment. As they spend time on rooftops and in other high-up places, solar installers must use appropriate safety equipment.

Most of a solar installer's time is spent working out of doors, with some time spent in attics, basements or garages.

Because of the physical aspects of the work, solar installers may have to lift, push or pull objects weighing more than 30 kg.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 12, 2017

Solar installers need to:

  • be comfortable with heights
  • have good hand-eye coordination and dexterity
  • pay attention to detail
  • have strong communication skills
  • understand basic mathematical and electrical principles
  • follow verbal and written instructions closely
  • work well as part of a team.

Because they will often interact with clients and customers, solar installers should enjoy working with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 12, 2017

Most emerging occupations develop from more than 1 occupation, so solar installers 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.

Solar installers typically require completion of a 2-year technical diploma or similar program, or an equivalent amount of trades training and experience.

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary offers upgrading courses for certified journeyman electricians, including Solar PV: Installation for Electricians.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 12, 2017

Solar installers working directly with electrical equipment are subject to regulations for electricians, power system electricians and powerline technicians.

The CSA Group offers Solar Photovoltaic Systems Certified (SPVC) electrician personnel certification in solar photovoltaic installation and maintenance. For certification prerequisites and certification process contact the CSA Group website.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) also offers PV Installation Professional and Solar Heating Installer certifications. Some formal education and work experience in the industry is required before the technical exam can be written.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 12, 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 solar installers is unknown.

Solar installers are employed by solar technology retail and installation firms. Employment is sometimes seasonal, and there may be no guarantee of permanent work. Most solar installation businesses employ fewer than employees.

Experienced solar installers may advance to supervisory, estimator or electrical inspector positions, or start their own contracting businesses.

Membership in a trade union is voluntary but some contractors employ only union people.

Solar installers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7441: Residential and commercial installers and servicers. In Alberta, 85% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

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

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 12, 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.

Salary data is available for the larger National Occupational Classification 7441: Residential and commercial installers and servicers as part of the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey.

Residential and commercial installers and servicers
NOC code: 7441

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $14.00 $26.80 $19.93 $19.00
Overall $16.00 $32.22 $24.01 $24.00
Top $22.00 $40.00 $29.11 $27.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Construction
Manufacturing
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade
Wholesale Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

69%
69%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

17%
17%

2015 Vacancy Rate

4%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Education
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Construction
    • Electro-Technologies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 12, 2017

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

Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA) website: solaralberta.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 Jan 31, 2017. 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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