Electricians: Their Love/Hate Relationship with Solar Construction

Social technician working on solar panelThe use of solar energy is on the rise and expected to quadruple by 2030 from current levels. According to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), despite the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was a record year for the U.S. solar industry.

What is solar energy? Solar energy is powered by the sun which converts into electrical or thermal energy. Solar technologies harness the sunlight into electrical energy through photovoltaic (PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation.

The solar energy market was estimated at $50 Billion and is forecasted to reach $200 Billion by 2026. With New Jersey and Massachusetts among the top states for solar development (California is the top producer, generating over 26,000 megawatts) LEAD New England has experienced a significant rise in demand for staffing solar electrician positions. LEAD Managing Partner Dick McLaughlin says, “With the demand for a more abundant renewable energy source, companies need qualified electricians who can work on construction jobs requiring solar installation –whether for, Rooftops, Ground Mounts (Farms) or Car Ports.”

Solar electricians ensure compliance with electrical regulations and building costs, and may include tasks such as:

  • Test PV systems circuitry to ensure compatibility and safety.
  • Assemble complexed racking systems
  • Connect solar panels and inverters and other high-voltage equipment to the grid and/or building’s power supply.
  • Repair or replace PV-related wiring, equipment, and fixtures
  • Assemble, install, test, and maintain PV-related wiring, equipment, appliances, apparatus, and fixtures
  • Plan installation of PV-system, based on job specifications and local codes

Many electricians learn they have a love/hate relationship with solar construction. “Solar can be an exciting cutting-edge tech industry with plenty of job opportunities and higher wages. On the other hand, solar installation can be labor intensive and monotonous work in harsh environments,” says Dick,

Labor Intensive

A Solar Electrician is a labor-intensive job; it isn’t simply connecting a few wires. Solar installation requires building racking systems and mounting heavy panels, sometimes hundreds to thousands of them. Also, some electricians lose interest in solar, due to the plug and play system environment and oftentimes monotonous labor, says Dick, who matches the best available trade workers to meet his client’s needs for not only large scale solar projects, and but also commercial, industrial, and multi-unit residential and mixed-use projects.

Job Availability

The number of available jobs in the solar industry doubled since 2012 resulting in 242,000 Americans solar employed. Residential and business owners continue to embrace solar energy as tax credits and savings continue. Additionally, as states like California have new laws that (will) mandate most new buildings and homes include solar panels. As this growth and the mandates continue, so too does the need to fill solar trade jobs.

Harsh Climates

Many electricians work indoors and are not used to an outdoor environment. “Solar is another story – where most laborers are required to work outdoors, in an environment without an envelope to protect the electrician from the elements – rain, snow, and sun creating extreme conditions in heat and cold. Dick says, “LEAD electricians are licensed, experienced and prepared to work in less than desirable conditions when necessary to complete the projects on time and on budget.” LEAD New England services the top 100 electrical contractors in the New England market and can staff nationwide.

High Wages

Electricians who don’t mind the laborious work possible extreme weather conditions, would most likely make significantly more money in the solar industry than in other industries. Plus, they get the feel-good of making a difference in the future for all of us!

If you are a business in search of a qualified solar electricians, equipment operators or industry trade workers, LEAD New England specializes in the electrical trades, providing the best available resources in the market and delivering the optimal match for each client’s needs. Reach out today to learn how LEAD can be your partner in success!