Apprenticeships: An Opportunity for Solar and Storage Companies

Employer
Apprenticeships
Employment
Workforce Development
An excellent way to bring on qualified workers is through a Registered Apprenticeship (RA) for key solar occupations.

As solar and battery storage installations become even more popular across residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects, employers are facing a pressing need for skilled workers to meet the rising demand. One excellent way to bring on qualified workers is through a Registered Apprenticeship (RA) for key solar occupations. 

Solar and storage employers are turning to apprenticeships as a proven and effective way to hire and retain top talent. For large solar projects, apprenticeships also open the door to tax incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Power of Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a career path that includes on-the-job training under the supervision of a mentor. Individuals also receive related technical instruction (in person or virtually) from a community college, a technical school, or an apprenticeship training school—or by the business itself. Most apprenticeships take two or more years to complete, with construction trades often taking four or five years. 

Upon the completion of an apprenticeship, the individual is issued a nationally recognized credential that recognizes them as a skilled practitioner for the occupation. Through apprenticeship programs, employers cultivate a skilled and loyal workforce tailored to their specific needs, while reducing training costs and increasing productivity. 

Why Apprenticeships in Solar Energy?

In solar, apprenticeships are one of the primary career paths for in-demand roles such as Electricians. Many other jobs are highly technical and can benefit from the hands-on, up-to-date training in technical and safety skills. Apprenticeships can bring local job creation, higher retention, job satisfaction, and economic development to the solar and storage industry.

Key Apprenticeable Occupations in the Solar Industry

An occupation must be recognized as “apprenticeable” by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to be eligible for a Registered Apprenticeship program. These occupations are industry-vetted and approved to ensure alignment with industry standards, in-demand occupations, and training and experience requirements. Some common job roles in solar construction and their apprenticeable equivalents are:

Electrician

An electrician is listed as an apprenticeable occupation along with many sub-fields. Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures. Learn more about the job role for Electricians

Solar Installer

Solar Installers can be hired as Construction Craft Laborer apprentices. Solar Installers set up and maintain the sophisticated equipment and wiring that connects a solar energy system to the electrical grid. Learn more about Solar Installers.

Equipment Operator

Equipment Operators can be hired as Heavy Equipment Operator apprentices. Equipment Operators are responsible for operating various types of construction equipment for residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects. Learn more about Equipment Operators.

There are many other careers in the solar industry outside of construction and manufacturing, including in sales, design, customer service, information technology, and much more. All these fields have apprenticeship opportunities. You can learn more and explore the variety of solar industry occupations at the IREC Solar Career Map.  

Over the seven months since I have joined this program, it’s given me skills I can use every day on and off the job site . . . It’s a program that can really help out in the long run for the industry, with a more hands-on approach to teaching those interested in this career that goes further than a basic new hire program.

Getting Started With an Apprenticeship Program

If you’re a company looking to get started with a Registered Apprenticeship program, start with these resources.

The Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network, a coalition led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and supported by the DOL, offers free technical assistance to help employers establish Registered Apprenticeship programs. Contact the ACE Network to learn how we can help. 

Read our Registered Apprenticeships toolkit to learn more about how to either start your own program or join a group program led by an association, labor union, or other organization.  

State apprenticeship agencies and the federal DOL offer other resources and assistance.

Connect Now

Find Registered Apprenticeship programs in your area, including employers, training programs, and opportunities for employers to join a group-sponsored apprenticeship program. Visit our Connect Now page to learn more.

This project has been funded, either wholly or in part, with Federal funds from the Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration under Contract number [1605C2-23-C-0015], the contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of same by the U.S. Government.