Solar panel installation has steadily grown in the UK because of its perks: clean air, reduced carbon footprint, and lower electricity bills.
To receive the efficiency of solar panels, you need to acquire the expertise of solar panel installers. If you’re more interested, you can be one yourself by following this guide to becoming a solar panel installer.
What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Solar Panel Installer in the UK?
To become a solar panel installer, there are qualifications for education, training, and professional standards to abide by.
You must complete a college course on the theoretical and actual practice of electrical installations.
Some of these electrical installation courses include:
- Levels 2 and 3 Diploma in Electrical Installation
- National Vocational Qualification (England)
- Scottish Vocational Qualification (Scotland)
However, before qualifying for a course, you must have a minimum of two General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs).
After the college course, you can proceed to specialised courses focusing on solar panels and similar types of electrical installation.
Some of you prefer learning through experience, which is why there are intermediate apprenticeships and training courses.
To qualify as an apprentice for two years in an electric company or business, here are some requirements:
- At least 16 years old
- At least four GCSEs
You can expect a balance between working 30 hours per week and studying for an academic training course.
As mentioned, being a solar panel installer does not come quickly because you need to have solar panel installer training and the following professional qualifications:
- General Certificate of Secondary Education
- NVQ or SVQ in electrical installation
Overview of the Solar Panel Installation Industry in the UK
In the United Kingdom, there were 1,231,125 solar panels installed in 2022, which grows exponentially each year.
With this growth in solar panel installation came the rise of solar panel installers in the United Kingdom. As of 2023, data shows 2,290 solar panel installer companies, a 21.5% increase from 2022.
Reasons to Become a Solar Panel Installer in the UK
If you’re considering pursuing a career as a solar panel installer, here are some reasons why it’s a lucrative industry to enter.
Increased Installation Demands
We repeatedly mentioned that solar installation has been gaining traction, with more people wanting to install solar PV package sets in their homes and offices.
With this, there is more employment available. Although some people prefer to DIY, they will still need the guidance of a qualified installer from a reliable company. You can be that guide.
Help the Environment
A renewable energy source, in solar energy, can help mitigate the effects of climate change (e.g., hotter temperatures).
Solar photovoltaic systems (or regular panels) must be installed on an appropriate surface and angle, with proper electrical installations and regular maintenance conducted by a responsible and fully-qualified panel installer electrician.
It’s important to remember that Photovoltaic panels differ from solar panels, and having an understanding of how both work will allow more people to maximise their ability to use of solar energy.
Increased Experience, Increased Salary
Your value in terms of salary as a solar panel installer varies depending on your experience level and training.
You’ll be more qualified as a solar PV installer if you continuously complete solar panel installation courses to receive the necessary knowledge on solar photovoltaic systems.
Your salary will surely increase as you elevate your learning through course after course, not to mention practical experience.
You can even pursue becoming an MCS-certified installer-electrician to establish your expertise and ensure consumers receive the highest standards of care.
What Does the Job Entail?
We’ve been reiterating how to be a fully-qualified solar panel installer in the renewable energy sector and the reasons to become a solar panel installer.
But what does the job entail? Here are what you’ll be doing once you become a fully-employed solar panel installer:
- Installing Solar Panels – This includes assessing and measuring solar photovoltaic panel sizes, installing the area for the solar panels, and installing the electrical installation.
- Maintaining and Troubleshooting Solar Panels – This pertains to checking and troubleshooting issues in electrical systems and other measures of solar panel efficiency.
- Working with Customers and Building Relationships – Given how high the upfront solar panel installation cost can be, if you want to be a solar panel installer, this entails having a healthy relationship with consumers in order to build their trust and to be able to command better prices that customers are willing to pay.
What Skills Are Essential to Become a Successful Solar Panel Installer in the UK?
To be a solar panel installer-electrician means possessing skills gained through a solar PV course and continuous learning by experience throughout your career. Here are the skills you must have:
Technical Knowledge and Skills
The technical learning and skills, especially in electrical systems, tools, environmental technology, math, and design, will help you train for the expected job load of solar panel installers.
Drawing from our experience as qualified installers, it’s essential to be detail-oriented, responsible, and have good analytic skills that come into play when connecting wires, securing solar photovoltaic panels, and even conducting maintenance.
Aside from hard work and skills, it’s also beneficial if you can communicate with teammates (e.g., asking for support to switch the isolator) and be composed during challenging moments.
How Can I Find Work as a Solar Panel Installer in the UK?
Since there’s a demand from people switching to renewable energy, and a demand for solar panel installers’ expertise, here are the ways to find work as an installer-electrician:
- Finding Job Openings – Find job openings online (e.g., company website), city newspaper postings, or ask some installers or electrician friends!
- Networking – As installers, build rapport with people. It’s expected that the range of relationships you can build can help you connect with companies to find the perfect job.
- Building Your Reputation – In finding work in solar power installing or manufacturing businesses, you will only be fully employed if you’re equipped with the necessary skills, are MCS certified, and have a minimum load of engineering or electrical courses.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Solar Panel Installer in the UK?
The cost to become a solar panel installer varies, going from roughly £600 to £3000. It will depend on what course you’ll take and if you get accreditations. For example, becoming MCS certified for the following prices:
- £100 for the application fee
- £390 for the annual fee
To get qualified as a solar panel installer entails perseverance to complete solar PV installation courses and consistently train through solar business apprenticeships.
After this article, a few things are left for you to do – learn, train, work hard, and get qualified!