Solar Energy Technician

Why choose a career in Solar Energy?

March 07, 2019

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What is a Solar Energy Technician?

Solar Energy Technician is a skilled trades technician who service and maintain renewable products such as solar panels. Although solar energy systems range from many different products and types, the most commonly referred to type of product in the industry are photovoltaic equipment. Solar Energy Technicians are trained to set-up, operate or repair the solar energy systems. Solar Energy Technicians must have a strong level of understanding of electrical fundamentals in addition to solar energy industry specific skills.

 

What Solar Energy Certifications are there?

The Solar Energy Industry has a governing body called the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This organization offers certifications and assessment programs for the expanding Solar Energy industry so that potential Solar Energy Technicians will be tested on current Solar Energy standards. This increases the creditability and standards of Technicians working in the industry.

The current certification is called the NABCEP Associate Program. This program is geared towards people working in the industry or trying to gain employment in the industry as a Technician. The NABCEP Associate Program demonstrates that the Technicians have a demonstrated understanding of the principles of Photovoltaics. The skills that individuals would have to demonstrate include installing, designing and operating Photovoltaic equipment.

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What are some key terms in the Solar Energy industry?

The Solar Energy Industry has a number of key terms. Below are four key terms that you will come across if you are interested in learning about the Solar Energy Industry.

  1. Photovoltaics System (PV) – A system of several components that absorb sunlight and converts it into usable electricity. The most identifiable component of a photovoltaic system is the Solar Panels but it also includes the Solar Inverter in addition to any mounting equipment and cables.
  2. Solar Inverter – A piece of equipment that converts the photovoltaic solar panel output from direct current into a utility frequency alternating current. The energy is then sent to an electrical grid.
  3. Conversion efficiency – This is the ratio in which sunlight is converted from photovoltaics into electricity that can be used.
  4. Solar Cell – A Solar cell (or photovoltaic cell) converts light energy into electricity. Solar cells rely on the photoelectric effect to work.

What is the career outlook for the Solar Energy Industry?

 

The Solar Energy Technician career outlook will parallel the expansion of renewable clean energy in today’s economic state. As the world expands the need to for clean energy, Solar Energy Technicians will be needed to install, maintain, operate and repair Solar Energy Systems and products.

 

Want to attend a Solar Energy training school in Ontario?

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Solar Energy Technician

Solar Thermal vs. Solar Photovoltaic: Understand the Difference with a Solar Energy Technician Diploma

November 06, 2018

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The growing gap between energy supply and demand is placing more and more emphasis on renewable sources such as solar power. Many emerging green technologies rely on solar energy to operate and more people and companies are turning to solar power as an energy source.

Because solar power is still in a period of expansion, it can be complicated for the general public to understand how it works and the different ways it can function, as well as what options are available to consumers and what is still in development.

If you’re considering a solar technician career and want to learn more about solar power and the exciting energy trends you can expect to see, read on for more information.

How is Solar Energy Generated?

The sun emits energy in the form of particles of light known as photons, and these are captured using two different technologies known as solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal systems.

Solar thermal technology produces energy by concentrating light from the sun to create heat. It is most commonly used to heat water or other liquids and doesn’t require much sophisticated technology to generate consumable energy. Flat plate panels are used as low to medium heat collectors, while concentrated solar systems such as a parabolic trough, reflectors and solar towers can be used to reach higher temperatures.

Photovoltaic energy absorbs photons and transforms them into electricity with a silicon-based technology. It is different from solar thermal technology because it generates electricity, while a solar thermal system does not generate additional energy but instead captures incoming heat.

Know the Pros and Cons with Solar Technician Certification

Solar thermal and PV technologies use different methods to achieve the same purpose of harnessing solar energy. Accordingly, both systems have different benefits and detractions, and in general vary in the amount of power they produce as well as the cost of a solar cell unit.

For those worried about space efficiency, solar thermal panels are smaller and less complex than photovoltaic systems, which means they are less expensive and more affordable for use by the general population. The panels, however, are not as effective in winter months due to the seasonal decrease in sunlight, and have a shorter lifespan than photovoltaic panels.

solar energy technician collegeSolar power offers an exciting future of solar energy technicians

Photovoltaic systems are more versatile, and can generate enough energy to heat water and power appliances such as refrigerators and HVAC systems. Although only effective during daylight hours, PV panels have a long life span, and unlike a solar thermal system, can be installed anywhere and maintained by anyone with the proper solar technician certification. PV panels also do not freeze or lose functionality in winter, but they are more expensive and require more space than solar thermal cells.

What Does the Future of Solar Power Look Like?

Whether thermal or photovoltaic, solar energy is a promising technology that can ease the burden of energy demand and serve as a viable alternative to natural resources. Solar power is becoming increasingly prevalent across Canada, with a corresponding rise in PV cell installation for both residential and commercial use as solar technology becomes more affordable for the general public.

solar technician certificationNo matter the technology, the future of solar energy is promising for students at NATS

The price of solar power has decreased nearly seven-fold in the last decade, from $6.18 per watt to $0.85 per watt. As more solar systems are adopted throughout Canada and North America, there will be more demand for trained professionals who have earned their solar technician certification  to install and maintain generators and systems, making for a promising job outlook and a greener future.

Are you interested in a bright future with solar energy technician college?

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Solar Energy Technician

Canada: An Untapped Market Crying out for Solar Technician Training Graduates

September 18, 2018

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On some level, the majority of the population is aware of what solar energy is, but not quite aware of its potential. A dynamic and completely sustainable power source, the use solar energy has been growing over the past number of years as an alternative to non-renewable fuels.

Its simplistic equipment make its installation process simple and efficient and it’s renewable, environment-friendly capability has made Canada intrigued about implementing solar energy technology on a wider scale in the future.

Are you intrigued by the solar energy industry? Keep reading to find out how it could open up new career possibilities for you.

How Does Solar Energy Work and What are Some of its Benefits?

Solar power is generated from the energy that radiates from the sun in the form of both heat and light. This can be done in two ways. The first is through solar thermal panels, which use the sun’s rays to heat water or air. This system is commonly used to generate heat for swimming pools and ventilation systems in buildings, among other things.

solar technician training-1Solar panels are relatively simple to install

Alternatively, solar power can be generated by using solar photovoltaic technology, which allows the panel to convert sunlight directly into electricity with the use of solar cells. Students in solar technician training acquire basic knowledge of both of these technologies and how common systems are designed, installed, and maintained.

Renewable Sources May Overtake Coal in the Future

As outlined by The National Energy Board in December 2017, sources of non-hydroelectric renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biomass jumped from 1.5 percent to 7.2 percent from 2005 to 2016 in terms of total electricity generation in Canada.

During this same period, coal suffered a drop in usage as it fell from 16 percent to 9.3 percent. Perhaps even more importantly, the Canadian government has announced that it is seeking to phase out the use of traditional coal-fired electricity by the year 2030. With solar energy likely play a huge part in achieving this goal, professionals trained in the area can expect to see exponential growth in the industry in the coming years.

Solar Energy Technician Diploma Graduates Will be in High Demand

Graduates who have earned a solar energy technician diplomacan immediately enter the field working with solar energy companies on both domestic and industrial projects. They will have gained an aptitude in common tasks and responsibilities ranging from assemblage, to maintenance, to design, to sales, and will have the necessary knowledge to establish long-term success within these environments.

solar energy technician diplomaAn increase in solar panel installation means an increase in the labour force

Even as it continues to grow, it is important to note that the prevalence of solar technology is likely to differ across different parts of the country. Ontario, for instance, is ideally located for solar power generation, and accounts for the majority of Canada’s current production.

However, coastal areas which experience high levels of cloud cover have less potential for solar energy generation than more central locations.  Nonetheless, even with these limitations, the government estimates that nearly 50% of the country’s residential electricity needs could be met by solar power alone in the future.

Work towards a brighter future in solar energy technician college.

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Solar Energy Technician

Solar Roads: Why Students at Solar Energy Technician College are Intrigued by this Modern Concept

June 05, 2018

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Solar energy can revolutionize the way we handle global power needs, but there are some inefficiencies which hold it back. It’s an energy source that relies heavily on space, and landowners may be skeptical about using their property for the construction of vast amounts of solar panels. That has prompted a rethink in the renewable energy sector, and one particular suggestion has gathered momentum in recent years. Why not give roads a dual purpose? Transportation and energy production.

Entrepreneurs are attempting to integrate solar panels into the road surface, thus producing power for homes, businesses or public infrastructure. This requires a complete rethink in road building processes, and there are many concerns which must be addressed before it’s likely to become a common sight in everyday life. Here’s a quick guide to what this innovative technology is all about.

The Three Layer Process Behind Solar Road Technology

The engineering associated with solar road construction involves much more than just placing solar panels on existing road surfaces. Such panels don’t have the necessary properties to make them a safe driving surface. Instead, designers create special panels that combine three layers of technology. The top layer is made of robust, transparent glass so it can deal with road traffic. Sunlight travels through the glass, and can then be gathered by a layer of solar panels underneath. The base layer then contains the technology to collect and distribute the power through an electricity system.

 NATS2-1Solar panels are installed under a tough glass road surface

As well as the obvious long-term potential for cost savings, students at solar energy technician college should note the additional benefits. Lighting could be integrated into the technology to improve safety on the roads, while heat generation can also help to keep surfaces snow and ice free throughout the year.

The Drawbacks Which Concern Professionals with Solar Energy Technician Training

Consider the last solar panel which you have seen, and it’s very likely that it was installed at an angle. This is done to capture as much sunlight as possible, and it’s a feature which encourages skepticism about this new technology. Roads are designed to be flat, so it may not be the optimum means of collecting energy from the sun. Safety is also a major concern, because this glassy surface is unlikely to offer the same level of grip as stone. The possibility of increased road collisions creates nervousness about this new concept.

The cost of installation and repairs are also much higher compared to conventional road surfaces. Long-term savings are possible, but it remains an expensive technology while it is in its infancy. However, the necessity for professionals with solar energy technician training during construction does mean that it will open up exciting job opportunities.

Solar Roads Could Play a Key Role in Overcoming the Energy Crisis

Despite these drawbacks, there is no doubt that fresh thinking is needed to create a renewably powered world. Experimentation with solar road projects has eventually led to the creation of a one-kilometre stretch of highway in China which opened late last year, while other solar roads have also been tested in France and the USA.

Even if this concept doesn’t work out, there are alternatives which may offer more hope. Solar walkways don’t carry the same safety risk, and are easier to install. Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia introduced such technology on its campus last year to ease power costs. These baby steps in solar technology could eventually turn into great strides as the world attempts to turn away from fossil fuels.

Open up fascinating job opportunities at solar energy technician school.

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Solar Energy Technician

Key Trends That Solar Energy Technician College Students Must Know About

March 06, 2018

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For decades, solar energy was something of an elusive holy grail of renewable power. The dawn of affordable solar energy would negate the need for burning fossil fuels or splitting atoms necessary to generate the power society needs. Instead, the world would be able to use the abundance of sunshine to charge its batteries and power its homes and businesses.

This is an elusive dream no longer. Intense competition across the globe has led to the creation of incredible solar installations, and immense opportunities for those who gain the skills necessary for working in the solar energy industry.

For aspiring solar technicians, understanding some of the key trends behind this growth can be a valuable asset. Interested in making your way in the solar industry? Read on to learn more.

The Price of Solar Has Fallen And Should Continue to Fall Dramatically

Solar energy has become not only affordable, but often the best deal in energy in many places around the world. Partly thanks to Chinese government subsidies driving down the costs of R&D and production for the world’s largest exporter of solar panels, and partly because of competition from European, American, and other manufacturers, solar energy has dropped in price remarkably quickly. In fact, a US government target price of $1 per watt of solar energy was reportedly achieved three years early.

As more companies get in on the action, and complementary technologies like utility-scale battery plants become more common as well, solar is only going to become more appealing, accessible, and cheaper still. If you’re considering entering the solar industry soon, you will likely be perfectly positioned to take advantage of one of the biggest and most exciting technological and energy revolutions ever.

Students in Solar Technician Training Should Know About Utility-Scale Solar Projects

The iconic image of solar panels on the roofs of houses, as well as high profile announcements like the Tesla solar roof, are great for promoting at-home solar energy, but don’t mistake that for an indication that home installations are what matter most.

By far, the greatest driver of today’s solar boom is utility-scale installations. Thanks largely to falling pricing, governments are increasingly seeing solar as an attractive investment for new energy projects. The fact that solar is clean and drives new kinds of employment is sugar on top of an already sweet deal.

solar energy technician college_1.jpgUtility-scale solar installations are the main driver of today’s solar revolution

From a practical, professional standpoint, this reality means that it’s important for those entering solar technician training to choose a program like the one offered by North American Trade Schools, which includes instruction for industrial installation and maintenance. With learning based primarily on hands-on practice, you can enjoy a quick pathway to the functional skill set you need to capitalize on an important trend in today’s solar industry.

Graduates of Solar Energy Technician College Can Expect a Growth in Home Installations, Too

Despite the fact that industrial solar is and will likely continue to be the biggest story in the world of solar energy, graduates of solar energy technician college should be aware that there are some compelling opportunities in home installations, too. One trend to take note of is that more home owners are electing to buy their solar installations outright rather than leasing them, as was common before.

This is something that solar energy technician program graduates should keep in mind if they choose to enter a career in solar energy sales. Promoting things like tax credits for owning a solar installation, the estimated time to recoup the initial investment (usually 3-5 years), and other relevant information could prove key to driving more sales in your career.

solar technician certification_1.jpgFuture salespeople should recognize that homeowners want to own their solar installations

Are you ready to take advantage of the exciting possibilities in the solar industry?

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Solar Energy Technician

Solar Technician Training is Your Ticket to a Variety of Eco-friendly Careers

September 12, 2017

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As leaders in Canada’s solar energy industry work towards making solar power a mainstream and widely used energy source by 2020, there’s growing opportunities for individuals who are looking for an eco-friendly trade to begin a career in the sector. In fact, Job Bank Canada forecasts strong growth in solar power related careers within the next few years, specifically in the province of Ontario.

Do you want to become a part of shaping a healthier future for our planet and Canada’s environment? If so, enrolling in a solar energy program may be right for you! Keep reading to find out more about the exciting and potentially lucrative career opportunities available in this field.

Become a Solar Assembler after Solar Technician Training

The role of a Solar Assembler is exciting and diverse. Using the skills and knowledge gained during solar technician training, Solar Assemblers help install and assemble systems like solar roof panels on commercial or residential buildings.

Solar Assemblers have a wide range of responsibilities, from determining the proper configurations and layouts for solar panels, to mounting structures and modules, to installing the actual solar panels and ensuring they are completed to standard. Bringing together the best of both worlds, a career as a Solar Assembler is perfect for individuals who want to spend their days both strategizing and working with their hands.

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Solar assemblers may spend time planning and installing solar panels

Begin a Career as a Solar Energy Maintenance Technician

Depending on their specific role, Solar Energy Maintenance Technicians can have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. A large portion of the job is performing maintenance, which could involve inspecting existing systems in both commercial and residential environments as well as solar farms, ensuring that components such as concentrators, batteries, fans and pumps are in working order and safe. Technicians may also perform electrical duties, hooking up solar systems to the region’s electrical grid.

In addition, graduates of solar energy technician college working as maintenance technicians may find themselves playing an important role in the planning stage of solar energy projects, which involves assessing job sites for potentially hazardous working environments, creating installation plans for solar panels, and designing reference maps of where solar panels will be placed.

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Graduates of Solar Energy Technician training may work at solar farms

Solar Energy Technician College Can Give You the Tools to Become a Solar PV Sales Professional

While you may not immediately think of launching a career in sales after graduating from a solar energy program, it’s a great career opportunity for individuals who are good with people, outgoing, and like to be compensated in accordance to their hard work. Solar PV Salespeople sell solar systems to a variety of clients, and may even go to events and give presentations on the advantages of solar power, or attend tradeshows and sell solar systems from a booth.

As technology progresses, the role of Solar PV Sales professionals will change and grow, and as more companies and homeowners realize the benefits of solar power, expertly-trained and knowledgeable solar salespeople will become increasingly important and in demand.

Do you want to discover even more career opportunities you can qualify for after earning your solar technician certification?

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Solar Energy Technician

Solar Energy Technician Training Program – Student Review – Bill G.

June 05, 2017

Bill G. is a Solar Energy Technician student at the London campus of North American Trade Schools. In his review, he talks about his experience at NATS, his instructors and why he decided to attend the school to study to become a Solar Energy Technician.

 

Transcript

“My name is Bill G. I’m studying solar technology at NATS. I chose NATS because I feel solar is the future and they were offering a solar class.

The thing I like best of the instructors is this the stuff that you might have an idea about but are kind of foggy about they really know how to make you understand it and learn it to the best of your ability. Actually just the thing I li

ke the most about the campus, it’s very easy to find. The people here are great and it’s just a fun environment. You are stringently locked down to doing things, you get a little bit of freedom, a little relaxed, it’s quite nice to be here.

The thing I learned at NATS that I really enjoyed is how much solar is actually expanding across the whole globe right now – it’s the wave of the future.

Some of the maths that I had forgotten over the thirty years of being out of high school and other colleges that you just really don’t use every day and they brought it right back into your head. In five years I see myself heavily involved in solar, whether it’s energy or thermal installing, designing, building, maintenance, whatever the customer needs.

It has been very easy to make friends at NATS, everybody’s here for the same reasons they all want to learn something new, they all want to talk to people, enjoy people – it’s really good place.

If somebody was thinking of coming to NATS I would I would encourage them to come in, talk to the staff walk around, take a look and then you’ll make a better informed decision.”

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