What Solar Photovoltaic Installers Do
Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers assemble, set up, and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy.
Most solar panel installations are done outdoors, but PV installers sometimes work in attics and crawl spaces to connect panels to the electrical grid. Installers also must travel to jobsites.
How to Become a Solar Photovoltaic Installer
Although installers typically need a high school diploma, some take courses at a technical school or community college. Installers typically receive on-the-job training lasting up to 1 year.
The median annual wage for solar photovoltaic installers was $44,890 in May 2019.
Employment of solar photovoltaic (PV) installers is projected to grow 51 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The continued expansion and adoption of solar PV systems will result in excellent job opportunities, particularly for those who complete training courses on solar panel installation.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, also known as PV installers, assemble, set up, and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy.
PV installers typically do the following:
- Plan PV system configurations based on customer needs and site conditions
- Measure, cut, and assemble the support structure for solar PV panels
- Install solar modules, panels, and support structures according to building codes and standards
- Connect PV panels to the electrical system
- Apply weather sealant to equipment being installed
- Activate and test PV systems
- Perform routine PV system maintenance
At the jobsite, PV installers verify the measurements and design of the structure on which the PV system is being set up. For PV systems on flat roofs, PV installers must first add a structure that allows the PV system to be mounted at an angle. PV installers set up new systems on support structures and place PV panels or PV shingles on top of them. Once the panels are in place, they sometimes connect the panels to electrical components. After the system is in place, PV installers must test the system and its components.
PV installers use a variety of handtools and power tools, including drills, wrenches, saws, and screwdrivers, to set up PV panels and connect them to frames, wires, and support structures.
Depending on the job and state laws, PV installers may connect the solar panels to the electrical grid, although electricians sometimes do this task. Once the panels are set up, workers check the electrical systems for proper wiring, polarity, and grounding, and they also perform maintenance as needed.
Solar photovoltaic installers held about 12,000 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of solar photovoltaic installers were as follows:
|Electrical contractors and other wiring installation contractors||35%|
|Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors||33|
Because photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight into electricity, most PV installation is done outdoors. Residential installers work on rooftops but also sometimes work in attics and crawl spaces to connect panels to the electrical grid. PV installers who build solar farms work at ground level.
PV installers may work alone or as part of a team. Installation of solar panels may require the help of roofers and electricians.
Injuries and Illnesses
Solar photovoltaic installers risk falls from ladders and roofs, shocks from electricity, and burns from hot equipment and materials while installing and maintaining PV systems. To reduce the risk of injury, PV installers must wear safety equipment, such as harnesses, gloves, and hard hats.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of solar photovoltaic installers.
For more information about accredited training programs, visit
For details about apprenticeships or other training opportunities in this trade, contact the offices of the state employment service, technical colleges, the state apprenticeship agency, local photovoltaic contractors, firms that employ PV installers, or local union–management apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.
For more information about apprenticeships for solar photovoltaic installers, visit
For career and industry resources, visit
For a career video on PV installers, visit
Related Career Outlook Subjects
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Solar Photovoltaic Installers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/solar-photovoltaic-installers.htm (visited ).