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Build Your Solar Career

SHINE can help you acquire the skills and knowledge to enter on of the fastest growing workforces in the nation.

SHINE Solar Worker
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If you are looking for a job that serves a meaningful purpose, the solar industry can be a great fit.

Working in solar helps transition our country to cleaner fuel sources, while providing economic benefits to communities and residents along the way.

Learn About Solar Installation

Solar installers help install and maintain solar panels and equipment on ground-mount racking structures or rooftops.  The solar panels then help generate electricity from the sun which households and businesses can use to power their appliances.  Because the solar sector has been growing rapidly, solar installers have the opportunity to build sustainable careers with ample opportunities to move upwards and take on leadership positions.

SHINE's Solar Ready 101 Program

The cutting edge 2-day fast-track SHINE curriculum provides Virginians with the skills and knowledge required for success in entry-level solar installation positions.


Each course runs for 2 days and comprises 4 sections, providing both classroom work and hands-on installation training at our newly-built state-of-the-art earning lab. Graduates of SHINE will receive:

OSHA 10 Certification

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) 10 training of the United States Department of Labor covers topics such as construction industry health hazards, hand and power tool hazards, fall protection, electrocution hazards, and more. 

SHINE Certification

Graduates of the program receive a SHINE certification card, signaling to prospective solar employers the time and effort they have put in to become solar job ready.  Solar training will consist of both classroom work as well as valuable time in solar installation simulations.  Our learning lab was designed to give students practice in installing solar as well as an understanding of what day to day life as an installer is like. 

Solar Specific Safety

The program enables students to recognize and mitigate safety hazards that are found on many solar project sites. It also reinforces the attributes of a 'culture of safety' and the reliance on a team-oriented approach to ensure the highest standards of safety are practiced at all times. 

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Installer Training

The hands-on Solar PV Systems Installer training is designed for those individuals who wish to attain a basic knowledge and application of solar photovoltaic system operations. This practical, lab-based training covers topics such as Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics, System Equipment and System Installation.

Workplace Fundamentals

The program teaches students the workplace fundamentals that produce successful employees. With an emphasis on accountability, communication skills and a team-oriented perspective, graduates will be empowered to successfully contribute to a safe, positive and rewarding workplace environment. 

Sign up for a SHINE Program Today!

Solar Career Pathways

The solar industry is one of the fastest growing industries in our economy. High performers in the solar installer field have ample opportunities to build sustainable careers and can also advance quickly.  It is not unusual for top performers to move from entry-level positions to more advanced roles within 6 months to a year on the job.

By completing the SHINE Solar Ready 101 Program, graduates have a competitive edge in the marketplace and can demonstrate to employers that they have the knowledge and skills needed to add value to a job site starting on day 1.  SHINE will work with its industry partners to set up recruitment interviews and job fairs so students have a streamlined pathway to employment upon graduation.

A sample career progression could look like this:

Solar Installer

Median Pay: $13.00-$15.00 per hour​

Required Experience: 1-3 years in construction or completion of the SHINE Solar Ready 101 Program

Description: Install and maintain solar systems on fields, rooftops, or other structures in compliance with system design schematics

Solar Crew Chief

Median Pay: $16.00-$20.00 per hour

Required Experience: 1-3 years of on the job experience

Description: Supervise, coordinate, and motivate teams of installers at a job site to stay focused and on schedule as well as ensure project safety

Solar Project Manager

Median Pay: $25.00-$30.00 per hour

Required Experience: 5+ years of on the job experience along with system design training and solar certifications

Description: Coordinates all aspects of an installation including workers, materials, budgets to ensure successful completion of a project according to schedule as well as maintain a high quality of safety standards

Solar Panels Technicians
Installing Solar Panel
SHINE Solar Workers

A Day in the Life of a
Solar Installer

Willie Artis started as a solar installer for Strata Solar in June 2019 after working for a number of years in the construction industry. He was recruited by Aerotek on behalf of Strata and has been in the solar industry for almost 9 months.
SHINE had the opportunity to speak with Willie about his experience as a solar installer. SHINE was able to gain some insight into what it’s like being an installer and what a typical day would look like:

What is your current role at Strata Solar, how long have you been in that role, and what are your responsibilities?

I currently work as a Quality Assurance/Quality Control Technician and have been doing so for the past 3 months. I make sure the quality of the work on our projects is excellent by monitoring and examining the work being done. I mostly focus on the wiring to make sure it’s up to par and that everything is where it needs to be.

What got you interested in working in the solar industry initially?

One of my friends started working as an installer and told me all about it, so I applied. I have always liked to learn new things and the idea of acquiring a new set of skills in the solar industry was very intriguing. I used to work construction and solar seemed like a good opportunity to apply my experience while also getting to learn new things.

How many solar projects have you worked on in your time as an installer?

I’m currently working on my 2nd solar project.

Could you take me through a typical day when you were working on your first project?

We would usually work 12-hour days and everyone needed to be at the job site at 6:30 or 7:00 AM, depending on the day. We would work either installing the panels or the racking and get a 10 minute break every 2 hours until lunch time when we would get an hour for lunch in the middle of the shift.

How long have you been in your current position?

I’ve been in the Quality Assurance/Quality Control Technician position for almost 3 months now.

What were your responsibilities when you first started working for Strata?

I mostly installed the pipes in the ground for the racking of the panels and then once the rest of the racking was set up by other installers, I installed the panels. I also installed the tracking systems on the racking that helped to rotate the panels throughout the day to follow the sun.

Have you received any promotions in your time as an installer? If so, how long did it take to get those promotions?

I’ve been promoted 2 times by Strata so far. I was promoted first after working there for a month and then again about 6 months after starting. I’ve stayed in the QA/QC Technician for the past 3 or so months. If you work hard, they will notice and reward you.

From your perspective, what are some pros and cons of working in the solar industry?

So the pros definitely outweigh the cons for me, but I would say the pros are:

  • The starting pay is great and increases quickly

  • The work is consistent and it feels like the industry is continuing to grow,

  • I feel like I’m doing something to help the local community as well as the greater good

  • The people are friendly and helpful

  • The work environment is accommodating and very supportive

The only cons I would say are in the nature of the job. It can be physically demanding with the weather conditions being hot or cold and it can be a lot of walking, especially on larger projects.

What would you say are the biggest challenges related to being a solar installer?

Like I said before, it really comes down to the conditions outside. It doesn’t get too cold in Virginia, but the heat can really be exhausting when you are out there, especially because there’s not many places to escape the sun. You need to stay hydrated and be aware of heat exhaustion, but Strata does a great job of checking in to make sure we’re ok. They make our well-being their top priority.

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