December 23rd, 2009

The Secret Weapon to Finding a Job Installing Solar Systems


I’ve been writing about losing my dream job in renewable energy, what’s driving my job search and I wanted to share with you a breakthrough I found in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. (Quick lesson: There are two types of solar energy. Solar PV makes electricity, and solar thermal typically makes hot water)

If you’re interested in getting on the roofs and installing solar systems you need to get in with solar staffing agencies.

My goal right now is to leverage my experience doing carpentry work and installing solar domestic hot water systems to get hands on experience installer many types of renewables and efficiency before moving on to sales, financing, project development. I ended up talking with my man Miles who does operations at Alteris Inc and my friend/former boss at Heatspring. They both put me in contact with solar staffing agencies.

As I’m sure you know, the solar industry is growing very quickly, but it’s also very volatile. Here is why solar system agencies are the silver bullet.

There could be tons of work for 3 months and then nothing for 2. This is a large problem for cash strapped renewable energy companies that are installing solar systems. In order to combat this, the companies have a small full time staff of foreman and installers but hire temporary workings for the large installations. This is where the staff agencies come in. Staffing agencies keep a database of workers so when groSolar needs 12 laborers in Newark, New Jersey for 3 months, a staff agencies finds and pays the workers.

The best part is, its like a interview to get a full time job because you will be working with installers from the parent company. If you impress the job foreman you’ll have a good shot at a full time position.

There are two companies that I found and contacted to get on their database. Give them a call and talk with them. I did. They are nice.

Trade Source: Recruitment and Job Opportunities for the Construction Industry.

Velocity Energy Partners: Partners with companies in the Renewable Energy industry to provide skilled and talented workers.

Here is the inside scope. They like if you have carpentry and/or roofing experience and have taken an IREC ISPQ Accredited training. If you only have the training part, you’re just going to have to be passionate and persistent. If you’re not qualified, ask them what you can do become qualified.

Good luck!

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Chris Williams

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the editor of Green Light Distrikt and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring . He has experience in business development, prototyping and new venture research with a focus on geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. Chris is an IGSHPA accredited geothermal installer and NABCEP certified solar installer. Chris is focused on solving customer facing issues in the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies and products. Chris has installed over 300kW of solar and tens of geothermal systems. He's invented the PV Pal , developed many trainings at HeatSpring, publishes the NABCEP Study Guide , the Hitchhikers Guide to Cleantech and has done due diligence research for Urgent VC . Feel free to connect with him @topherwiliams , on Linkedin , or through email about new ventures, collaborating, writing, research or whatever is on your mind.