by Linda Whitney
Suddenly, it seems every second house has newly installed solar
panels. Photo-voltaic (PV) solar is booming, and it's generating
plenty of jobs, so now could be the time to get involved.
'As recently as three years ago, installing a solar energy
system was an eco-statement,' says Trevor Parsons from En-Spiral
Recruitment, a renewables, energy and low-carbon recruitment
specialist. 'Now there's massive growth across most parts of the
country and it's brought an increase in demand for all the job
roles associated with it.'
Companies supplying PV solar systems require sales staff,
installers (who typically work in a team of a lead electrician,
second electrician and roofer), project managers, surveyors, system
designers and management. This is a new industry and there are
relatively few people with PV solar experience, so many employers
are willing to train people with transferable skills.
Solar panel salesman at some rogue firms have been criticised
recently, so make sure that you are being employed by a reputable
'Some of our clients will train people with the right electrical
skills or degrees in renewable energy, science or engineering for
the technical jobs. We also work with a training organistation to
instruct the right candidates,' says Mr Parsons.
'We are looking for 50 staff in the next nine months, including
installers, engineers, sales staff and commercial managers,' says
Lee Summers of EOS Energy. 'Installers could be electricians or
roofers looking for a change of career. For surveyor and system
design jobs, we are looking for graduates in electrical or
structural engineering. We'll also take trainees straight from
school or college, preferably with NVQ qualifications in practical
subjects, or those keen to get into the environmental sector.'
The company plans to provide apprenticeships by September. Pay
for entry-level jobs start at £14,000. Other companies seeking
staff include PV Solar UK, which is looking for installers,
qualified engineers and sales staff.
'We will train sales people new to the solar PV sector, provided
they are customer-focused and can communicate in a clear manner'
says Nick Howard of PV solar UK. 'It is ideal for career changers,
especially for people experienced in sales.'
Graham Wall of Solar King, which has several offices across the
country, says: 'we need telesales and field staff, as well as
installers and surveyors.'
Look for job ads, but also try speculative approaches because
firms are expanding fast and may not yet have advertised
'Look for those credited under the Micro generation
Certification scheme (MCS), which are the only ones permitted to
fit PV solar systems allowing customers to access the new field
tariff,' says Mr Parsons. 'This allows them to sell energy back to
the national grid. Ideally, choose a company that's part of the
REAL assurance scheme.'
Another route into the sector is through courses and overseen by
the national Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies (NSAET),
launched in February.
Rob Wellman of NSAET says: 'Trainees should find an employer
locally - see the National Apprenticeships service website for
vacancies - That supplies training accredited by NSAET. Or look for
courses at colleges or commercial training, such as JTL, which
provides building services training.'
Pay in the PV sector varies widely as many companies are small
and it's an industry that is growing fast. Installers can expect to
earn between £16,000 and £25,000 (£18,000 to £30,000 in London).
For systems designers, it's £18,000 to £20,000, but can reach up to
£40,000 with experience. Sales staff packages vary from
commission-only to a basic £20,000 to £30,000. Operations managers
can be on £45,000 to £70,000, but in international companies, the
country managers can be on six figures salaries.
14/7/2011 - Daily Mail