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How do I get a Solar Energy Education?

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  • Written By: S. Zaimov
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Getting a solar energy education is useful for a number of different jobs. Many technicians, such as plumbers, carpenters, and sheet metal workers need this type of training to install and repair solar energy systems. Architects and engineers who design solar-powered buildings and machinery also need special education in this area.

Solar energy accounts for a large percentage of all renewable energy on Earth. This resource is harnessed directly from the light and heat emanating from the sun. While people have used it for thousands of years in agriculture, only in modern times has its potential as a fuel source been explored.

Buildings can use solar power for heating. Homes, greenhouses and pools can all be heated through a properly installed solar power system. This energy can also be converted into electricity at solar power plants, which use heat to power generators.

A solar energy education can be obtained at many colleges and technical schools. Community colleges that offer such classes in an associate degree can provide the proper training in two years. Coursework typically includes math, science, solar architecture and thermal systems classes.

Courses in engineering or any of the Earth sciences, like geology or oceanography, can also be used to enhance one’s solar energy education. Today, increasing numbers of universities have renewable energy departments with highly specialized solar power programs. Apprenticeship programs, either at the university or within trade associations, often allow students to gain practical experience in this field.

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As the demand for this type of renewable energy increases, so do the job possibilities for people with a solar energy education. Workers with only a high-school education that wish to work in the industry sometimes start as field installers. This job includes the electrical installation, wiring and construction of solar power systems.

A solar energy education can pave the way for work as a solar power technician, engineer or project manager. These positions often require a college degree, but a field installer may work his way up to be a technician after accumulating adequate experience. An installer often advances to the position of solar energy technician, which requires him to inspect and repair solar power systems.

While some positions can be obtained through work experience, a college degree in engineering is usually required to become a solar power engineer. This type of engineer works on the design and development of various solar energy projects. Another job in this field that requires university study is that of a project manager. This position requires the manager to be experienced in all aspects of solar power operations, so that he can oversee operations.

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