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Training in Solar Technology Promises to Have a Bright Future

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As the application of alternative energy beomes more popular, those with training in solar technology can look forward to a bright and promising career in this growing job market.

Various educational pathways are available to those who are interested in solar technology. They include short-term certificates and associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. Training in solar technology can also be paired with other degrees and experiences to expand career possibilities.

What is solar technology?

Solar technology typically refers to the application of photovoltaic technology, which uses a device to produce free electrons when exposed to light. The free electrons then create an electrical current.

Many training programs also include solar thermal training. A solar thermal system is one that captures solar energy and converts it into heat that can be used to power a furnace or other heating device.

Education

With a short-term certificate in solar technology, a student can find employment installing solar panels on homes and buildings. He or she may also do solar design, test solar products, research and develop solar products or service, maintain or install the products.

With an associate degree in solar technology, a student can find similar positions, but they will generally have more resonsibility and earn a higher wage.

Those working in the field with a short-term certificate or an associate degree typically earn about $12 to $20 per hour.

Core courses for an associate degree include technical mathematics, electrical circuits, green building systems and courses in solar thermal and solar voltaic systems. Additional courses include composition, problem solfing and electronic devices. Solar tevchnicians must also be well versed int he National Electric Code.

Those who wish to continue their education in solar technology may pursue a bachelor's or master's degree in solar technology, sustainability or anotehr business-related field. Solar technology also pairs well with degrees in electrical engineering.

Students who ear a bachelor's degree may work as a sustainability officer for a municipality or as a solar operations engineer, designing new solar power systems.

Solar careers are also a unique opportunity for professionals who are transitioning fromn careers in more mature or declining areas of enerby technology. By building on their existing knowledge, they can expand their skill set by adding a short-term certificate or an associate degree in solar technology.

Men and women who currently work as electricians or for electric companies, may be interested in adding solar power training to their resume in rder to expand their job opportunities.

Careers related to solar power are springing up around the world. The highest demand is in warmer climates, such as the soutern and western parts of the United States, which receives direct sunlight year round.

In regions with fewer direct sunlight hours throughout the year, a student may be wise to combine solar technology training with another alternative energy subject.

In some areas of the country such as northeast Ohio, students can benefit from training in both solar technology and wind turbine technology. With a dual specialization, students may be able to find employment working on solar systems during the summer months and installing and repairing wind turbines during the colder, cloudier months of the year. ?For students interested in alternative energy or seasoned professionals in a related field, training in solar technology can lay the groundwork for a promising career.

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  • Joanne Loftus
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