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Leverage e-learning to prepare for the solar energy industry

January 31, 2021


Have you ever thought about joining the solar energy industry? Have you been wondering what it takes to prepare you for job in solar energy industry?

You must have seen rooftop solar panels, or a vast area of land covered with thousands of solar panels, known as solar farms. A house equipped with such solar panels or a small community powered by a stand-alone solar farm is a direct example of solar energy industry. The solar energy industry uses one of the most promising renewable energy technologies that produce energy (electricity or thermal energy) by harnessing sunlight (i.e., solar energy) and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) when compared to energy produced from fossil fuels (petroleum, coal).

In addition to energy production, the solar energy industry is growing in importance because of its role in mitigating climate change. The solar energy industry consists of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technology, for generating electricity and thermal energy respectively.

Career path in the solar energy industry

A career path in this future energy industry is important because it promises to create jobs at different skill levels in the next two or three decades. To take part in the ever-growing solar energy industry, you must be ready and well trained for future job opportunities. Ideally, the roadmap consists of high school, followed by 2-year College or 4-year bachelor’s degree program (both have high tuition increasing your debt level) in the university. You can also go for a short duration (usually 4-month) certificate course in a community college after your high school and join the industry for an apprenticeship program to get hands-on training. And finally, you can make use of e-learning courses to set step in the solar industry.

In this blog article, we will tell how you can leverage online education to learn solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies and take the first step in preparing yourself for the solar energy industry.

Leverage solar education to become solar energy professional
Solar energy industry needs highly skilled solar energy professionals.

Why join the solar energy industry

Joining a strong growth industry such as solar energy will give you the support of a long-range career. The solar energy industry is ever dynamic and rapidly evolving. As of 2019, the US solar industry has employed over 250,000 people and also generated billions of economic worth. Notably, the US had deployed more than 2 million solar installations as of September 2019. This makes a total of 71,300 MW (MegaWatt) of solar capacity which generated 100 TWh (TeraWatt Hours) of electricity. As of the year 2050, the US aims at being the fastest-growing solar PV country with solar-heavy grids (i.e. utility grids fed by electricity, primarily generated by solar technology).

During the previous 30 years, many developed and developing countries have made use of solar technology. The use of solar heat and energy in Europe is broad, including power-generation, high temp home domestic water, and heating. This way, over 90% of the solar heat is utilized for residential locations in the EU (European Union).

The expansion in the solar industry dramatically helped us recognize that the future market conditions and public policies. These also suggest that global policies might see a big change. It is thus safe to say that the proliferation of this industry will bring thousands of jobs in renewable energy industry to the US economy. The other benefits in the form of climate change mitigation. Additionally, the future homes will have electrical outlets- to charge electric cars. In most cases, the electricity will be supplied by the roof top solar panels.

Role of STEM education – learning solar energy technologies

STEM-based education can play an important role in providing learners like you with a higher educational experience level. In the context of this blog article, STEM-based education on solar energy technologies delivers teaching at the grassroots level that truly prepares you for a career in the solar industry. As a starting point, a short-term STEM-based course prepares you to become a solar installer after graduating from your school. Such courses can help you get entry-level jobs in the solar energy sector such as solar panel installation, and assemblers of solar collectors, inverters, or batteries. Furthermore, these short-term STEM-based courses can also provide a long-range career path, by giving you an insight into the field.

Note that the acquisition of basic knowledge and firsthand experience is essential to growing successfully in this field. Hence, your education will not stop here. Once you gain the basic knowledge and experience, you can further pursue in-person study for advanced training. For example, you can also study further to go to colleges and universities and become researchers, system designers, teachers, or professors.

Leverage the benefits and convenience of e-learning

To excel in this industry – you must be trained at different levels. The online approach is a good substitute for in-person training provided the courses are structured, modular for different audience levels. One important advantage is “asynchronous training” which means students like you can learn the concepts at a convenient time.  Mostly, online clean energy education programs such as Renewable Energy Online is affordable as compared to in-person learning.

As a future participant in this industry, you can learn several things. Starting from design to installation to safety regulations as applied in solar energy technologies. For example, how would you design a 10kW SPV (solar photovoltaic) system for a four-person family and install it on the roof safely? How will the design change if there are only two occupants of a particular home?

Similarly, for solar thermal systems, the most important requirement is determining how much hot water a specific residential place would need (such as a four-person home). Additionally, what kind of solar thermal system can meet that requirement; i.e., to provide that much water at a particular temperature. Is it possible to provide a 100% requirement of hot water in wintertime? What modifications a solar thermal system needs when the outside temperature goes below freezing. To gain basic technical knowledge of the field as such, online courses are a great way to get into the solar energy field with limited commitment.

Factors to consider

When considering an online program, you must exercise your due diligence. There are certain factors you must ponder on before investing your time and energy in an online course. When choosing online clean energy education, one factor is affordability. The other is understanding what the course is offering you. To understand that, you should consider these features of a course:

Conclusion

Summing up, to excel in the solar energy field you need hands-on experience, technical skills, and the right training. As the solar industry impacts the whole world and global climate, one must gain training accordingly. Your training plays a vital role in your career success whether you work as a technician, operate/design a large-scale solar farm or plan for utility grade electricity production using solar photovoltaic technology. Online training programs are a good way to kick start your long-range career in the solar energy sector. Therefore, leverage online education today to become tomorrow’s green technology pro!