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Sunny Side Up: Top Careers and Courses in the Solar Power Industry

Going off the grid sounds great about once a month, when the power bill arrives--especially when the weather's too hot or too cold to just let the breeze regulate temperatures. Imagine setting your home up to provide most--if not all--of it's own electricity needs. You could even produce enough electricity to earn credits from your local power company, essentially selling electricity back to the system. Regulations and accounting methods vary from state to state, but the fact remains: with the right training, you can take your home to the next level of green energy.

Solar Energy Courses: Become a Star Pupil

With solar products from companies like EcoDirect, a top supplier of eco-friendly goods, you can even do the installation yourself. You'll want to get the right training, though. Whether you're looking to get just enough personalized info to install solar panels on your own home, or you'd like to start an installation business of your own, you can find a course to match your needs. Here are some of the top courses in the US and the UK:

Courses in the US:

  • Solar Energy International ( offers a wide selection of workshops to get you started or hone your skills. They even offer a great selection of online courses for those who can't make it to the face-to-face workshops.
  • Step Up Education ( boasts a 90-day program to get you prepared to start a career in the solar industry. Courses range from installation to full certification and are available online.
  • Boots on the Roof ( has several courses that are geared towards contractors, architects, engineers, and business professionals in the solar industry. If you're looking to get into the solar and photovoltaic power industry, this is a great place to start the transition.
  • SunMaxx Solar ( training gets you certified to install premium solar thermal systems. With workshops popping up all over the US, you're sure to find one close to home.

Courses in the UK:

  • The Center for Alternative Technology ( has courses for everyone, from the uninformed--but interested--novice to the professional. Certifications are available for many of these courses.
  • Green Dragon Energy ( offers quite a few courses for beginners and intermediates across in the UK and across Europe. Customized courses for group workshops are also available.
  • Construction Training Services ( is aimed at electrical professionals looking to make the switch to solar power. Classes include certification, cover a wide range of pertinent topics, and teach students how to work with most major brands.
  • PPL Training, Ltd. ( is another great option for professionals trying to gain expertise in the renewable energy field. The courses offered are wide-ranging, which means students will leave with a complete education.

Prospects in Solar Installation and Renewable Energy

In the UK, there's been quite a push towards solar hot water, with additional 7 million units needing to be installed by 2020. As of 2006, more than 100,000 individuals in the US worked in renewable energy, with a full 7,600 solar specialists. Projections in both countries look stellar, with yearly employment gains of over 25 percent. The future looks bright for solar energy; get on board today.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, On the Grid: Careers in Energy