Bryan University Solar-Sustainable Energy Specialist Associate Degree Duties

Solar Energy Technician FAQs

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Solar energy technicians provide essential jobs that keep this growing industry moving forward. Bryan University’s School of Trades offers a Solar Energy Technician Diploma for those interested in joining this rapidly growing field.

Today, we answer several FAQs regarding solar energy technicians and our program.

What is a solar energy technician?

Also known as a solar installer, this is a professional who installs and maintains solar panels for businesses and residences.

What does a solar energy technician do?

You will assemble, install, and maintain solar panels on the tops of homes, businesses, or on open land that receives enough sunlight to generate electricity via photovoltaic cells.

What kind of degree should a solar energy technician have?

Bryan University offers a solar energy technician diploma program to give you a good educational base to start your career in this vibrant field.

How long does it take to become a solar energy technician?

Bryan University’s program lasts for 40 weeks or four quarters. You can start your career in solar energy in less than a year. You’ll also have an externship to gain on-the-job training.

What certification does a solar energy technician require before obtaining a job? 

The program at Bryan University prepares you to take the certification exam for a Photovoltaic Associate through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

Male team of solar energy technicians holding a solar panel on a roof

How does a solar energy technician diploma prepare you for the workplace?

Bryan University’s solar energy technician diploma prepares you for the workplace by giving you the knowledge you need, including electrical systems, construction, electrical safety and concepts, solar installation, solar maintenance, sales and economics of the industry, and an externship at a facility involved in the solar photovoltaic industry. 

What skills do you need to become a solar energy technician?

You need physical skills because you will likely be at a job site for most of your workday. Prepare to be on your feet for several hours, lift at least 40 pounds, maneuver on the roofs of buildings, climb ladders or scaffolding, and be in the elements for extended periods.

Mental skills include being able to perform mathematical calculations, following instructions and safety protocols, effective oral communication, the ability to think clearly, working independently, customer service, and problem-solving when troubleshooting issues.

What will I learn while pursuing a solar energy technician diploma?

Courses in Bryan University’s School of Trades teach you basic and advanced knowledge related to photovoltaic installation.

Photovoltaic applications. You’ll learn about PV systems and their basic operation.

Construction. You’ll discover the fundamentals of construction on residential and commercial properties.

Electrical trade. This aspect of photovoltaic installation is very important when you need to understand codes, processes, and requirements for solar panels.

Installing and maintaining solar panels. Your basic job will be to install solar panels, so you’ll receive a lot of knowledge related to the process of installing solar panels and then maintaining them.

Sales and economics. Another important aspect of the solar energy industry is the economics and sales behind the financing, costs, and cost-effectiveness of solar panels.

What courses are required for a solar energy technician diploma?

Bryan University offers nine courses in the School of Trades, all 4.5 quarter-credit hours, throughout your 40-week diploma. 

You need to finish 54 quarter-credit hours over 740 contact hours (number of hours of classroom instruction) to finish your diploma.

The required courses you’ll take are:

CA 100 and CA100, where you receive knowledge about computer software management and applications. CA120 offers strategies for success as you move through your diploma program.

Core courses at the beginning of your diploma are as follows:

SOL100 Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics

This course focuses on the different types of photovoltaic (PV) system applications, key features and benefits, components, safety concerns, and the advantages and disadvantages of PV systems compared to other electricity generation sources such as fossil fuel and nuclear.

SOL120 Introduction to Construction

This course offers an opportunity to learn basic construction concepts, including site safety, construction math, types and usage of hand and power tools, construction drawings, communication, employability, and hazards and proper techniques of material handling. 

All of these skills you will need to employ daily while working as a solar energy technician.

SOL125 Introduction to Electrical

This course aims to familiarize you with the electrical trade. You’ll learn about several important concepts, such as electrical safety, circuit concepts, electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, device boxes, conduit installation, types and applications of raceways and fittings, conductors and wiring, basic electrical drawing, testing equipment and residential electrical services. 

Once you understand the basics of electrical theory, you can move to more advanced courses in your diploma track.

Solar Energy Technician Standing between two solar panels holding a tablet computer

What are some advanced courses I will take for a solar energy technician diploma?

At Bryan University, some advanced courses for a solar energy technician diploma include the following:

SOL200 Solar Design 

You’ll receive an introduction to solar design concepts. You will learn how to ensure equipment is appropriate for an intended use while understanding location conditions and manufacturer restrictions. You’ll also know how to identify relevant codes and requirements that impact PV design and installation, electrical concepts and terminology as well as factors impacting solar resource design such as performance, components, sizing, diagrams and structural requirements of PV systems. 

Prerequisites: SOL100, SOL120, SOL125

SOL210 Solar Installation 

This course provides an opportunity to understand site-specific safety plans along with elements of layout, electrical, and equipment plan sets. You will also identify elements of racking, component, and storage installation as well as system commissioning procedures. 

Prerequisites: SOL100, SOL120, SOL125

SOL220 Solar Maintenance and Operation

This course introduces you to commonly used test equipment,  the analysis of simple electrical circuits, performance parameters commonly monitored for PV systems and system performance monitoring equipment. 

Prerequisites: SOL100, SOL120, SOL125

SOL250 Solar Sales and Economics 

You will receive an introductory understanding of the sales and economic environment of photovoltaic system installation. You’ll learn what customer information to collect, customer motivations for installing solar, estimating size to meet a customer’s requirements, analyzing client utility usage as it relates to grid-interactive solar, identifying electric usage as it relates to stand-alone solar, key factors that impact the economics of solar, recognizing how policies and available financial benefits affect different markets and locales, risks associated with PV systems, financing options, and predictable maintenance costs of such systems. The overall goal is to become accurate with financial numbers so you can present these figures to prospects and customers.

Prerequisite: SOL100

SOL255 Sustainable Building Principles

You will learn about sustainable building techniques, equipment, systems, utilities, and building features that improve residential, commercial and industrial energy-efficient operations. You’ll need this knowledge because solar panels represent one facet of sustainable and green infrastructure for residences and businesses.

SOL299 Solar Externship

You will be assigned to a facility involved in the solar photovoltaic industry. You will receive training on the duties vital within the solar field to develop fundamental skills in tasks such as solar sales, installation, maintenance and operations related to PV systems. 

Prerequisites: Must have a 2.0 CGPA in all completed core courses.

This knowledge base prepares you for the certification exam for a Photovoltaic Associate through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) following 40 weeks of study.

The program is designed to provide educational opportunities for students seeking to enter the photovoltaic and renewable energy field. The program combines technical and skills training in the areas of photovoltaic markets and installations, safety protocols, electrical knowledge, system components, photovoltaic sizing, electrical/mechanical design, photovoltaic performance analysis, maintenance and troubleshooting techniques. The program prepares students for entry-level employment opportunities in solar installation, sales, and operations.

What daily duties do solar energy technicians perform?

Solar energy technicians perform many essential tasks during the course of a day.

Prepare the job site. Once you get to a job site, you need to prep the site for the solar panels first. You might have to move some items around, get ladders ready, and lay out tools.

Maneuver and move solar panels. After your crew preps the site, it’s time to offload the solar panels from the truck. You will need help carrying these panels before coordinating the layout and raising the panels to the roof.

Utilize tools to install solar panels on the roof or on the ground. Items to take up on the roof include cordless power tools, screws and nails, and the necessary struts and infrastructure on which the solar panels rest.

You must ascend and descend ladders constantly while on the job site. 

When a customer has questions, you’ll need to answer them politely and cordially when on the job site.

The entire time you’re on the job site, you must follow all safety protocols and processes. Safety is the utmost priority for you and your team because no one should get hurt.

Two men walking between rows of solar panels 

Where do solar energy technicians work?

You will likely work on a job site all day long in the weather, cold or warm. This is true for residential and commercial properties. 

What jobs do solar energy technicians get after obtaining a diploma and certification?

You might work on a team that installs the photovoltaic system at residential and commercial properties. You might also install these on bare land for utility-size installations.

You might also work in a manufacturing facility, with a sales team, or within an administrative department.

How do I apply for acceptance into a solar energy technician program?

You can apply online through Bryan University’s enrollment portal.

To qualify for admission to any program at Bryan University, you must meet seven basic requirements.

  1. Provide evidence of one of the following: a high school diploma, completion of a homeschooling program, or a GED certificate or equivalent.
  2. Be 18 years of age or beyond the age of compulsory school attendance for public school or homeschool.
  3. Complete an interactive interview with Bryan University’s admissions staff, either face-to-face or web-based.
  4. Complete and submit an application for admission to Bryan University.
  5. Complete the Assessment for Distance Education Programs/Courses and Online Student Orientation (if required).
  6. Submit your application fee (if required).
  7. Acknowledge that the presence of any adverse background activity or an adverse drug screen may prevent you from participating in externships, career services activities, and/or license and certification eligibility for Bryan University.

What help can I get when applying for a solar energy technician job?

Bryan University’s career services staff helps you with several aspects of trying to find a solar energy technician position following graduation. Having an externship with a photovoltaic company helps develop connections with an employer. 

We will help you with updating resumes, job referrals, job search strategies, and interviewing skills. 

Earn a Solar Energy Technician Diploma at Bryan University

Are you interested in jumpstarting a career as a solar energy technician? Contact us or call 1-855-862-9755 for more information or enroll now for our 100% online classes.

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