- Why Solar Jobs?
- Is a Solar Career Right for You?
- How to Make the Most of Your GRID Experience
- Job Search Tips
- Writing a Resume for Solar Jobs
- GRID Alternatives Resume Bank
Join the Solar Training Network
- Writing a Cover Letter
- Interview Tips
- Equity and Environmental Justice
- Organizations We've Partnered With
- Additional Solar and Renewable Energy Resources
- Codes and Regulations
Why Solar Jobs?
Research like the Solar Job Census shows that the market for solar employment is growing at a much faster rate than the overall employment sector.
Solar energy is clean energy: it does not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or require the extraction of fossil fuels. A solar job is a way to be part of a generational change in the way we power our communities.
The fastest growing sector is solar PV installation, but opportunities exist in sales, marketing, administration, design, entrepreneurship, and more.
Is a Solar Career Right For You?
There are a wide variety of jobs available for people of all experience levels.
- The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) put together a Solar Career Map to show what a career ladder in manufacturing, system design, project development, and installation could look like.
- The installation side of the solar industry employs over 100,000 workers and is the single largest solar employment sector. Typical qualifications include ability to lift 50 pounds, a GED or high school diploma, ability to work outside and on roofs in different weather conditions, professionalism, and some prior experience. Prior experience can include work in construction, electrical, or roofing.
- Inspired by our work? GRID Alternatives has opportunities to get involved. Check our open positions and browse internship, part time, SolarCorps (1-year fellowship), and full time job opportunities.
- Solar is for everyone! Check out former job trainee and solar worker Diana Adams reflect on her past experience training with GRID Alternatives
How To Make The Most of Your GRID Experience
Prepare, Build, Learn!
Prepare for the Future
- Be professional: arrive on time, be a team player, speak and behave appropriately.
- Practice habits on site that will help you succeed in the workplace or as a GRID Team Leader.
- Research the industry. Explore what you’re most passionate about and how to get there!
Build Your Network
- Engage with others on site.
- Our staff can be your reference, your fellow participant can be your next referral, co-worker, employer or ride!
- Attend other GRID and solar/green/construction related events beyond installs.
- Stay in touch when you finish training, and let us know if you need further assistance from GRID. Be sure to share the good news if you find a job in the industry.
- Help spread the word about GRID to other job-seekers, potential GRID clients, and potential participants.
- Share your talents in ways that support GRID’s mission.
Learn Learn Learn
- Take advantage of every opportunity to learn on and beyond the installation site, within and outside of GRID.
- Ask for feedback. Learn from mistakes.
- Make use of the technical resources below. They'll make you even better prepared for the installation sites.
- Gain en edge on other job applicants by getting as much hands-on installation experience as you can.
Job Search Tips
Major websites to use when looking for jobs:
- CalJobs (California)
- SEIA Jobs board
- Community Solar Job Portal
- NABCEP Career Center
Best keyworks to use in searches (or installation) are:
- Solar Installer
- PV Installer
- Solar Assembler
- Solar PV Installation
- Photovoltaic Installer
- Solar Electrician
- Solar Site Assessor
- Entry-level Solar
- Solar Technician
- Indeed, Monster, and Craigslist can send you weekly email updates on the keywords of your choice
- Be sure to check Solar Company Websites periodically for direct job postings
- Make sure you are ready to work - having hands on installation experience, an internship, or related work experience can prepare you for a career in solar.
- Create a resume and cover letter template that you can customize for each employer and that speaks the language of the industry.
- Network - attend job fairs, get to know others on the GRID Alternatives install site, build an online network through LinkedIn, follow up with people after you meet them, share your goals with others, and use your network to connect you when you need it.
Writing a Resume For Solar Jobs
Your resume is often your first line of contact with employers- beyond stating what you've done, it should present a narrative of what you've accomplished. If you’ve performed any of the duties or skills described in a job description it's important you let employers know- this is one of the first things recruiters are looking for.
- Create a master resume where you take stock of all your previous work-paid/unpaid. Include equipment, software, experience, volunteer work, accomplishments, awards, certificates, etc.
- Create target resumes where you adapt your experience and cover letter to meet the needs of every job. No two resumes should ever be the same!
- Showcase experience in chronological order, relevant and recent experience first
- Start all bullet points with verbs such as: directed, maintained, created, executed, etc.
- Use correct verb tense: past jobs should be written about in past tense
- Include your name, email address and cell phone number at the top ONLY
- Keep it legible. Use 10-12 point Arial or Times New Roman on a white background
- SPELL CHECK
- Show gaps in your work history or irrelevant experience. Craft any language around employment gaps in a way that's mindful of what employers are expecting. Linkedin Resource on Employment Gaps
- Miss errors that could have been corrected. Employers are interested in seeing that you pay attention to detail. Applicant tracking systems that use keywords will work against you if you have a typo in your job title.
- List your address, your marital status, references or your hobbies
- Go back more than 10 years in your employment history
- Never ever list your salary
Career One Stop: Writing Your Resume from Scratch
Colgate University: Career Services Toolkit
How can you include GRID on your resume?
Representation and Use of GRID Alternatives Name
- Experience with GRID Alternatives is a great resume builder for a volunteer or trainee. Public participants wishing to list their installation experience on printed and social media resumes and profiles may identify themselves as "Volunteer Solar Installer"
- Individuals taking part in a formal job training program like Installation Basics Training or Installation Basics Training 200 can identify themselves as "Solar Installation Trainee"
- SolarCorps or interns can list their experience under their GRID title
- Participants using other titles in relation to their experience with GRID will be asked to remove them. Participants may not publish any other materials such as articles or promotional materials under said titles without express permission from GRID Alternatives.
- Individuals who have not received payment from GRID cannot represent their time with us under "work experience"
Details to include on resume (This is not an exhaustive list)
- Accomplishments (# of install hours, # of projects, total KW) -- accessible through your participant profile
- Type of roofs you have installed on (tile, asphalt)
- Hardware you've installed (Sunpower Panels, QuickMount racking, etc.)
- Type of duties/skills completed that complements what the employer is looking for. (tailor your resume to each job description you are applying to)
GRID Alternatives Resume Bank
If you are a GRID trainee/volunteer currently looking for a job we encourage you to join the GRID Alternatives Resume Bank. This resource offers a direct connection between employers who are hiring and the GRID participant community. Follow these instructions to have your resume listed.
Writing A Cover Letter
Include a cover letter only if asked for it. Make sure to read the job description carefully, so you know whether a cover letter is needed.
- Focus on being the right person for the job, show enthusiasm and set yourself apart
- Include information relevant to the job that isn’t listed on the job description; example specific statements about yourself or your personality
- Say something positive about the company, mention them specifically
CareerOneStop Resource on Cover Letters
Why network? Submitting your resume is not enough. Connecting with others in the industry will give employers a face and personality to put with the skills, and give you a competitive edge. It will also give you the opportunity to stay up to date in the fast-growing world of solar.
- The Solar Training Network is a platform that provides an online space where job seekers, trainers and employers can create profiles, connect with other users, make positive career connections, and access various training, employment and career placement services. Join today to network with professionals all over the country. This site also includes information about the Solar Ready Vets Network.
- Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has a national database of solar companies, jobs board, and up to date information on policy and current events.
- LinkedIn is a professional network. Making an account can help you use your personal and professional connections to land the job you are looking for. Already have an account? Be sure to connect with us
- Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE) has chapters across the U.S., hosts events such as webinars and job fairs, offers paid fellowships and gives mentoring opportunities for women starting their renewable energy careers. The also have a job board.
- Keep an eye out for job fairs with GRID Alternatives and other local organizations. This is a great way to meet employers first hand.
- American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE)
- National Association Of Blacks In Solar (NABS)
- Latinxs In Sustainability (LIS)
- Clean Energy Pride
- SEI Women in Solar Power program
- Women In Energy Storage Mentoring Program
- Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA)
- IREC Solar Career Map
Take the time to think before you answer any questions, and be honest. They want to know 3 basic things: CAN you do the job, WILL you do the job, and will you fit into their company culture.
- Wear business attire, even if it is for a casual job at a casual company
- Shake hands, make eye contact, have a positive disposition
- Take a notepad and take notes. You are, after all, interviewing them too
- Go alone, don’t bring someone with you- not even to sit in the lobby
- Take two copies of your resume, just in case
- Research the company, know the position and find out what you can about the interviewer (LinkedIn can help with this)
- Do mock/practice interviews with friends, family, or at GRID mock interview events.
- Here is a sample list of interview questions to help facillitate mock interviews
Equity and Environmental Justice
Solar Spark Collegiate Conference
Environmental Justice, explained
Environmental Justice & Environmental Racism
State of Working America Data Library
Legal Aid at Work
The Solutions Project
White Supremacy Culture - English
Cultura de la Supremacía Blanca
The Third Industrial Revolution
Diversity & Inclusion Glossary
Organizations We've Partnered With
We’ve worked with the following organizations to give job trainees hands-on solar installation experience in addition to other resources ranging from classroom training and job readiness preparation.
- Conservation Corps
- Youth Corps
- YouthBuild USA
- Urban League
- Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)
- Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE)
- Conservation Corps North Bay
- Future Build East County
- RichmondBUILD Academy
- Rising Sun Energy Center
- San Francisco Conservation Corps
- Young Community Developers
- Mendocino College
- Santa Rosa Junior College
- City College of San Francisco
- Greater Valley Conservation Corp
- Northern California Construction Training
- California State University Chico
- Green Tech Education
- Sacramento Job Corps
- Sierra College
- Yolo County Office of Education
- Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA)
- Fresno Unified School District
- America Works of California
- Washington Union School District
- Department of Rehabilitation
- Turning Point of Central California
- Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board
- Madera County Sheriff's Office
- Equus Workforce Solutions
Greater Los Angeles
- Alliance for Community Empowerment (ACE)
- Center for Employment Training - Oxnard
- Homeboy Industries
- East LA Skills Center
- Los Angeles Trade Technical College
- Santa Monica College
- West Valley Occupational Center
- Women in Non Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER)
- Center for Employment Opportunities
- Arroyo Valley High School
- College of the Desert
- Desert Hot Springs High School REAL Academy
- Southern California Engineering Technologists Association (SCETA)
- Victor Valley Community College
- Youth Opportunity Center of Hemet
- Center for Employment Training
- Cuyamaca College
- Metro United Methodist Urban Ministry
- MiraCosta College
- Southwestern College
- Urban Corps of San Diego County
- San Diego Workforce Partnership
- International Rescue Committee
Additional Solar and Renewable Energy Resources
GRID Alternatives Documents
IBT Skills Checklist
Morning Safety Talk
Volunteering and Training Guidebook
GRID Alternatives Tools and Tip Sheets
Example roof layouts and one-line drawings
Building your Knowledge Base
Free Solar Energy Training
How do solar panels work?
Volts, Amps, and Watts Explained
Brief Intro to Voltage, Current, and Power
Difference between AC and DC Current Explained
Conduit Bender Guide - Klein Tools
3 point saddle bend
Reading a Tape Measure
The Duck Curve
The Interchanged Recharge Podcast
Clean Energy Resources and Training
Become an IronRidge Certified Solar Installer
Difference between AC and DC Current Explained
HeatSpring NABCEP PV Associate Practice Exam
Manufacturer Manuals and Specification Sheets
- Everest Installation Manual
- IronRidge Product Catalog
- IronRidge Resources
- ProSolar Product Brocures
- ProSolar SolarWedge: Installation guide
- ProSolar RoofTrac System: Installation guide
- ProSolar Rail Splice Kit: Installation guide
- ProSolar Leveling Kit: Brochure
- ProSolar FAQs
- SnapNRack Product Catalog
- SnapNRack Resources
- Enphase IQ 6+
- Enphase IQ8
- Power-One PVI-5000-6000-OUTD-US
- SMA America SB3000TL-5000TL
- Solectria Renewables PVI 3000S-5300
- SolarEdge 3000H-US - 7600H-US
- SolarEdge Power Optimizer
- HUGS: Manufacturer installation video
- Guardian Velocity Harness
- Miller Temporary Roof Anchors
- Guardian Edge Angel Self-Retracting Lifeline