Have you found yourself in the market for a new career opportunity? Do you want to be part of a growing industry where you can positively contribute to a greener world? I have worked extensively in the renewable energy sector for about three years now, and I can tell you it is a constantly expanding and evolving industry with enormous room for growth.
The business model for solar requires a pantheon of highly-skilled professionals covering the gamut of educational backgrounds and abilities. Everything from marketing to sales to project management—even manufacturers and truck drivers—make up the solar industry landscape. No matter what your skill set or interest is, it is likely that with a little heart and sweat equity, you can in some way enter into this field and make a positive contribution.
Smaller vs Larger Solar Companies
The solar photovoltaics industry is made up of a diversified network of people all working together for a common goal—to harness the energy of the sun in order to provide property owners energy independence while helping to work toward an environmentally sustainable earth. Smaller companies will often provide one function of this process very well while forming partnerships with other companies to better serve the customer. Larger companies tend to involve additional departments to independently offer those services for the complete customer experience.
The Roles of the Solar Photovoltaics Industry
As mentioned previously, there are many moving parts to the solar PV industry. It takes a team of carefully trained machine operators to create the solar panels and inverters with immaculate precision, and truck drivers to haul the materials from the factory to the homeowner’s property. There are also many other roles both in the private and public sector to pass laws as well as to popularize solar as a viable renewable energy alternative to fossil fuels. This blog however will cover the roles of a traditional solar contractor providing full installation services to the homeowner.
As you review this list, think of what your talents are and where you might be able to best apply yourself.
Founder, President, CEO, COO: These are essentially the bigwigs who start up the company, own the company, and make the executive decisions that will affect the company’s future as a whole. Sometimes the Founder(s) will hold additional roles.
The Legal Depart: The legal department is responsible for keeping the company in compliance with the law and managing relationships with the city and state with which the company operates.
The Accounting Dept: The folks in accounting manage the company’s financial affairs and make sure it is keeping score of the company’s budget to remain in operation at profit.
Human Resources: This department puts out job postings and handles employment status, scheduling, and the payroll for the company.
The Marketing Dept: It is marketing who is tasked with advertising the company’s products and services, promoting its culture, identifying and targeting its customer base, and building the company’s image. In the case of Green Solar Technologies, it would be homeowners looking to go solar and free themselves from utility company dependency.
The Sales Dept: These are the go-getters responsible for contacting prospective homeowners and providing them the best possible options going solar. At GST, there are different stages of sales positions. It consists of various levels of Sales Management and the following Sales positions.
Account Manager (Opener): These are often the people who make the first impression on an interested homeowner. They introduce the company and qualify the homeowner to go solar.
Engineer (SSR): The engineers analyze the utility bill of the homeowner and design a solar energy system that could cover the exact kW requirements needed annually.
Solar Advisor (Closer): These are the hot-shots who provide the finished proposal to the homeowner and work out the final plans to move them onto financing their project.
Silver Closer: Sort of an Opener-Closer hybrid, these folks introduce the company and provide the complete sales experience.
Rehash: When a homeowner is interested in going solar, but at a future date, the Rehash Team will follow up and get them back on track to energy independence.
The Finance Dept: The finance department helps homeowners interested in going solar by getting them approved for a loan that will make the decision feasible in the short and long-term.
Project Management: The project managers walk the homeowner through the installation process, collect all necessary permits, and get permission to operate for the homeowner.
Installation Team: The installers are the people who inspect the property, supply the solar equipment to the homeowner, and install everything to be in working order.
Customer Service: After installation, this service-oriented department is here to assist the homeowner with any issues they may have and get them back on track to producing their own electricity and saving money.
Exponential Growth with Solar Power
The solar photovoltaics industry has grown consistently over the past few decades and has begun to boom over the last several years. It’s a great time to consider how you could make a difference with a lucrative career. In 2019 alone the U.S. installed nearly 4 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV capacity, surpassing 70 GW of total installed capacity, enough to power nearly 14 million American homes. If that’s not impressive enough, the lifetime success of solar is expected to more than double over the next five years, eventually generating an excess of 15 GW of PV capacity annually. Within the next decade, solar PV has the highest probability to become the most common source of energy generated in the United States. If that’s not motivation to jump on board, what else is?
by Ged Friedman