Spotlight: Solar Technician Jobs in California

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California has been in the news lately for its diminishing water resources, increasing energy issues and investments in solar energy. As a matter of fact, all these issues are intertwined. Bloomberg reports that California will become the world’s seventh-largest economy in the next few years, making energy and water concerns even more pressing.

As a result, California has been rewarding clean energy investors at an impressive pace: Shares of California companies in the NYSE Bloomberg Americas Clean Energy Index are expected to rise 96% within the next year, compared to 47% for all U.S. states. This is great news for those who choose a career in clean energy, particularly in solar technology. The demand for solar technicians is high, especially in industry-leading California.

Solar Techs in California: Duties and Salaries

Solar technicians are responsible for the maintenance of existing solar farms, the installation of new solar panels and the confirmation that solar farms operate at maximum capacity. Since solar energy does not harm the environment and is abundantly available, California has looked to solar power as a way of addressing a growing population’s energy needs.

Solar photovoltaic installers, or solar panel installers, make an average of $37,000 per year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In California, solar energy technicians in California made approximately $44,350 annually, while those working in the greater Los Angeles Metro area can earn an average of $64,990 per year.

Entering the Field of Solar Technology

If you wish to enter the job market as a solar photovoltaic installer in California, you should get a contractor’s license from the California State Licensing Board (CSLB). If you work for a contractor, you are not required to acquire a license in California. However, the California Employment Development Department mentions that many employers may prefer solar photovoltaic installers with a CSLB license. Also, your opportunities are very limited if you aren’t licensed through the CSLB.

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As solar technology is considerably complex and rapidly evolving, people can learn more by enrolling at a vocational training school. RSI’s electro mechanical training program, for example, covers the fundamentals of solar technology.

Solar Technology Outlook in California

California’s decision to invest in solar energy to combat diminishing resources has resulted in the creation of more solar tech jobs in the state. Governor Jerry Brown wants to use solar energy to completely eliminate California’s dependence on fossil fuels. California companies have spent $141 million within the past year to advance the state’s clean energy agenda.

California’s role as an industry leader is not new. In the 1980s, California became the first state to create a large-scale solar power plant. Now, the state’s progress in solar energy appears to show no signs of stopping. In 2010, the state’s legislature approved plans for new, “dish system” solar power plants. The plants will use parabolic-styled mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy to heat a central tube of water, which will then power steam generators to produce electricity. In fact, over the next seven years, employment for solar photovoltaic installers is expected to grow at least 24%, which is more than twice as fast than the national average of all other occupations, according to the BLS which is why choosing to work in solar energy in California can be a rewarding choice.

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