Training Resources

Installation Basics Trainees (IBT) and other volunteers can expand their in-the-field knowledge by taking advantage of supplementary resources to support their training goals. Check out some of these materials to help develop your solar knowledge and prepare you for the job!

Why Solar Jobs?

Research like the Solar Job Census shows that the market for solar employment is growing at a much faster rate than the overall employment sector. 

Solar energy is clean energy: it does not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or require the extraction of fossil fuels. A solar job is a way to be part of a generational change in the way we power our communities.

The fastest growing sector is solar PV installation, but opportunities exist in sales, marketing, administration, design, entrepreneurship, and more.


Is a Solar Career Right For You?

 There are a wide variety of jobs available for people of all experience levels.

  • The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) put together a Solar Career Map to show what a career ladder in manufacturing, system design, project development, and installation could look like.
  • The installation side of the solar industry employs over 100,000 workers and is the single largest solar employment sector. Typical qualifications include ability to lift 50 pounds, a GED or high school diploma, ability to work outside and on roofs in different weather conditions, professionalism, and some prior experience. Prior experience can include work in construction, electrical, or roofing.
  • Inspired by our work? GRID Alternatives has opportunities to get involved. Check our open positions and browse internship, part time, SolarCorps (1-year fellowship), and full time job opportunities.
  • Solar is for everyone! Check out former job trainee and solar worker Diana Adams reflect on her past experience training with GRID Alternatives

How To Make The Most of Your GRID Experience 

Prepare, Build, Learn!  

Prepare for the Future

  • Be professional: arrive on time, be a team player, speak and behave appropriately.  
  • Practice habits on site that will help you succeed in the workplace or as a GRID Team Leader.
  • Research the industry. Explore what you’re most passionate about and how to get there!

Build Your Network

  • Engage with others on site.
  • Our staff can be your reference, your fellow volunteer can be your next referral, co-worker, employer or ride!
  • Attend other GRID and solar/green/construction related events beyond installs.
  • Stay in touch when you finish training, and let us know if you need further assistance from GRID. Be sure to share the good news if you find a job in the industry.
  • Help spread the word about GRID to other job-seekers, potential GRID clients, and potential volunteers.
  • Share your talents in ways that support GRID’s mission.  

Learn Learn Learn

  • Take advantage of every opportunity to learn on and beyond the installation site, within and outside of GRID.
  • Ask for feedback. Learn from mistakes.  
  • Make use of the technical resources below. They'll make you even better prepared for the installation sites.  
  • Gain en edge on other job applicants by getting as much hands-on installation experience as you can.  

Job Search Tips 

Major websites to use when looking for jobs:

Best keyworks to use in searches (or installation) are:

  • Solar Installer
  • PV Installer
  • Solar Assembler
  • Solar PV Installation
  • Photovoltaic Installer
  • Solar Electrician 
  • Solar Site Assessor
  • Entry-level Solar 
  • Solar Technician 

Other tips:

  • Indeed, Monster, and Craigslist can send you weekly email updates on the keywords of your choice  
  • Be sure to check Solar Company Websites periodically for direct job postings 
  • Make sure you are ready to work - having hands on installation experience, an internship, or related work experience can prepare you for a career in solar. 
  • Create a resume and cover letter template that you can customize for each employer and that speaks the language of the industry.  
  • Network -  attend job fairs, get to know others on the GRID Alternatives install site, build an online network through LinkedIn, follow up with people after you meet them, share your goals with others, and use your network to connect you when you need it. 

Writing a Resume For Solar Jobs 

Your resume is often your first line of contact with employers- beyond stating what you've done, it should present a narrative of what you've accomplished. If you’ve performed any of the duties or skills described in a job description it's important you let employers know- this is one of the first things recruiters are looking for.

DO

  • Create a master resume where you take stock of all your previous work-paid/unpaid. Include equipment, software, experience, volunteer work, accomplishments, awards, certificates, etc. 
  • Create target resumes where you adapt your experience and cover letter to meet the needs of every job. No two resumes should ever be the same! 
  • Showcase experience in chronological order, relevant and recent experience first 
  • Start all bullet points with verbs such as: directed, maintained, created, executed, etc.
  • Use correct verb tense: past jobs should be written about in past tense
  • Include your name, email address and cell phone number at the top ONLY
  • Keep it legible. Use 10-12 point Arial or Times New Roman on a white background 
  • SPELL CHECK

DON’T

  • Show gaps in your work history or irrelevant experience. Craft any language around employment gaps in a way that's mindful of what employers are expecting. Linkedin Resource on Employment Gaps
  • Miss errors that could have been corrected. Employers are interested in seeing that you pay attention to detail. Applicant tracking systems that use keywords will work against you if you have a typo in your job title.
  • List your address, your marital status, references or your hobbies
  • Go back more than 10 years in your employment history
  • Never ever list your salary

Career One Stop: Writing Your Resume from Scratch

How can you include GRID on your resume?

Representation and Use of GRID Alternatives Name 

  • Experience with GRID Alternatives is a great resume builder for a volunteer or trainee. Unpaid volunteers wishing to list their installation experience on printed and social media resumes and profiles may identify themselves as "Volunteer Solar Installer," or if they have Team Leader status, as "Volunteer Solar Installation Team Leader."
  • Individuals taking part in Installation Basics Training can identify themselves as "Solar Installation Trainee," unless participating as a GRID intern, SolarCorps or other position with a specific title that can be used instead.
  • Volunteers or trainees using other titles in relation to their experience with GRID will be asked to remove them. Volunteers and trainees may not publish any other materials such as articles or promotional materials under said titles without express permission from GRID Alternatives.
  • For individuals who have not gotten paid by GRID, you cannot represent your time with us as a "Work Experience."

Details to include on resume (This is not an exhaustive list)

  • Accomplishments (# of install hours, # of projects, total KW) -- accessible through your volunteer profile
  • Type of roofs you have installed on (tile, asphalt)
  • Hardware you've installed (Sunpower Panels, QuickMount racking, etc.)
  • Type of duties/skills completed that complements what the employer is looking for. (tailor your resume to each job description you are applying to) 

GRID Alternatives Resume Bank

If you are a GRID trainee/volunteer currently looking for a job we encourage you to join the GRID Alternatives Resume Bank. This resource offers a direct connection between employers who are hiring and the GRID volunteer community. Follow these instructions to have your resume listed.


Writing A Cover Letter

Include a cover letter only if asked for it. Make sure to read the job description carefully, so you know whether a cover letter is needed.

  • Focus on being the right person for the job, show enthusiasm and set yourself apart
  • Include information relevant to the job that isn’t listed on the job description; example specific statements about yourself or your personality
  • Say something positive about the company, mention them specifically

CareerOneStop Resource on Cover Letters


Networking  

Why network? Submitting your resume is not enough. Connecting with others in the industry will give employers a face and personality to put with the skills, and give you a competitive edge. It will also give you the opportunity to stay up to date in the fast-growing world of solar.

  • The Solar Training Network is a virtual network designed to connect trainees/students, training providers, and employers
  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has a national database of solar companies, jobs board, and up to date information on policy and current events.
  • LinkedIn is a professional network. Making an account can help you use your personal and professional connections to land the job you are looking for. Already have an account? Be sure to connect with us
  • GRID Alternative’s Women In Solar Initiative is aimed at providing resources to get women into the workforce. Stay tuned to local event to mentor women as well as our webcasts where you can hear perspectives from women in the industry.
  • Keep an eye out for job fairs with GRID Alternatives and other local organizations. This is a great way to meet employers first hand. Check out this video from a previous job fair

Interview Tips

Take the time to think before you answer any questions, and be honest. They want to know 3 basic things: CAN you do the job, WILL you do the job, and will you fit into their company culture.

  • Wear business attire (what’s that?) even if it is for a casual job at a casual company
  • Shake hands, make eye contact, have a positive disposition
  • Take a notepad and take notes. You are, after all, interviewing them too
  • Go alone, don’t bring someone with you- not even to sit in the lobby 
  • Take two copies of your resume, just in case 
  • Prepare!
  • Research the company, know the position and find out what you can about the interviewer (LinkedIn can help with this)
  • Do mock/practice interviews with friends, family, or at GRID mock interview events.  
  • Here is a sample list of interview questions to help facillitate mock interviews

Organizations We've Partnered With 

We’ve worked with the following organizations to give job trainees hands-on solar installation experience in addition to other resources ranging from classroom training and job readiness preparation.

National

Bay Area

North Valley

Central Coast

Central Valley

Greater Los Angeles

Inland Empire

San Diego

Colorado

Tri-State

Mid-Atlantic


Field Resources

GRID Alternatives Documents

Solar Jobs Guides
Safety Manual

IBT Skills Checklist (available soon)
Morning Safety Talk
Quality Control Checklist
Volunteer Manual (pending update) 


GRID Alternatives Tools and Tip Sheets

Tools:

Electrical Tool List
Array Tool List
Power Tool List
BOS Parts List:


Tip Sheets:

Conduit Bending Cheat Sheet
Example roof layouts and one-line drawings


Manufacturer Manuals and Specification Sheets

Racking systems:

Inverters:

Modules:

Videos:

Tools:

Safety Equipment:


Codes and Regulations

AHJ
NEC
OSHA

Learn about job opportunities near you!

Get notified about jobs with GRID's partners and other companies. Job openings are sent out regionally and frequency is dependent on volume.