Over 11,000 US solar panel businesses currently operate in the US. Solar panel installers, also called solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, have an average annual salary of $37,239. Do you want to know how to become a solar installer? This article will examine steps like acquiring solar panel contractor insurance, hiring employees, and registering your business as a legal entity.
Your journey of how to become a solar panel installer starts with steps like registering your business and finding investors. These steps are explained in the following sections.
When learning how to become a solar technician, you must figure out the costs to start your business. Without a clear understanding of the costs, you may run into financial problems immediately. Below are some example costs you must pay when starting your solar panel business.
|Solar Panel Installation Business Expense||Cost|
|Insurance coverage||$600-$12,00 per year|
|Business building rent||$500-$4,000 per month|
|Employee wages||$20,000-$40,000 per year|
When learning how to become a solar contractor, you must develop a catchy business name. Once you start the business registration process, you need a name separate from your personal name. The name you choose should be memorable and catchy. Choose a name that speaks to your business brand. If you want to offer less expensive services, you could choose a name like “Big Savings Solar Panels.”
The next step in your journey of how to become a solar photovoltaic installer is registering your business legally. You must choose a business structure and register in your state. Common business structures include:
Sole proprietorship: These are simple and inexpensive to start. You enjoy all the profits as the sole owner; however, you must also deal with business debts and liability yourself.
Corporation: A corporation protects its owners or shareholders from business liability. A corporation can issue stocks to generate investment capital for the business. Corporations are more expensive to start and tax shareholders on dividends they make. Effectively a corporation will tax you twice on its profits.
LLC: A limited liability company has liability protection like a corporation, but you don’t have to pay the extra corporate tax on dividends. An LLC is more expensive to create than a sole proprietorship, and you must pay ongoing fees.
Getting an employer identification number or EIN is a critical step when discovering how to become a solar energy technician. Without an EIN, you cannot hire employees or open a bank account for your business. An EIN is a tax ID number allowing you to manage withholding, reporting, depositing, and paying employment taxes more easily. You must apply via the IRS website or mail or fax to get an EIN. Either way, you must fill out an application asking questions about your address, business structure, business address, and when your business started.
You will want to research opening a business bank account as part of your quest to learn how to become a solar panel technician. You can separate your personal and business finances with a business bank account. This makes making payments on business expenses and tracking your income easier. A merchant services account lets you process credit card transactions. You could also open a business savings account to earn interest on your profits. Another option is a business checking account. This account is the best for processing daily transactions, making cash transfers, and withdrawing cash since there is typically not cash withdrawal limit.
The investment process may be essential to study when learning how to become a pv installer. Unless you have the money already saved up to start a business, you may need to look into getting an investor. Reach out to friends and family to see if they are interested in contributing to your solar panel business idea. You can also see if a venture capitalist will offer you money to start your business in exchange for equity. By offering business equity, you don’t have a loan to pay back but can still use the extra money to get your business off the ground.
When you want to learn how to become a solar panel contractor, a business website is practically a requirement today. 85% of customers investigate a business online before purchasing a product or service. With a website, you could post content to educate your customers about your solar panel services and answer their potential questions.
To create a website, you must register a domain name from a service like Google Domain. Next, you need to find a web host like GoDaddy who will make your website accessible. Lastly, you need to design your site with a service like Squarespace. With Squarespace, you can build a website from a pre-existing design that looks unique and professional.
When deciding how to become a solar pv installer, an essential consideration is when to hire employees. It is recommended that you start small at first, but eventually, you will need to hire employees as the demands of your business increase. You will need to hire additional solar panel installers so you can take on more complicated jobs and a higher quantity of work. An office assistant can handle talking to clients on the phone and scheduling service calls. You might also want to hire a bookkeeper to manage your business finances to ensure you make correct financial decisions.
Are you interested in learning how to become a certified solar installer? You will need the right prerequisites before you can obtain proper certification.
When learning how to become an accredited solar installer, you will discover you need a minimum of a high school education. You can further your education at a college or technical school for additional training. 40% of solar panel installers have only a high school diploma.
Another step to take when learning how to become a certified solar panel installer is to get on-the-job training. Typically you will need at least one year of job training as a solar panel installer to get you ready for certification.
Getting your National American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification is a critical step of how to become solar technician. Some states require this certification before offering solar installation businesses to customers. It will also help you gain legitimacy from potential clients. Getting certified required filling out an application and satisfying requirements for job training experience and OSHA safety courses.
On your journey of learning how do you become a solar panel installer, you may find out you require a certification to install solar panels. The following states have specific certification requirements.
|Missouri||No state requirement, but some counties require NABCEP|
|New York||NABCEP or equivalent level of training|
|Pennsylvania||NABCEP or similar certifications|
Your NABCEP certification will need to be renewed every three years. Renewing your certification will also require 12 contact hours of continuing education for associates and 30 hours for other professionals, specialists, and solar-heating installers.
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When researching how to become a licensed solar installer, you might need a specific license in your state. The following sections will cover these licenses and the states you need them.
An electrician license is the most common license you need when learning how to become a solar power installer. This license ensures you have to proper training to install electrical systems that conform to National Electric Code (NEC) safety standards. Typically you apply for an electrician license through your state’s contractor board or Department of Labor.
You may be required to get a solar contractor license classification, generally under the electrical or plumbing licenses category. This license allows you to serve both commercial and residential solar installation customers. You must pass an exam that tests applications on their installation skills and ability to regulate their business needs and finances. Some states have contractor licenses that fulfill solar installation requirements without being a separate classification. For example, you may only need a state contractor or electrical contractor license.
A plumbers license may be required to install some solar thermal devices. To get a plumber license, you must pass a contractor's exam and take a business and law test. Some plumber's licenses have special solar classifications that allow you to fulfill other solar installation requirements.
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This license is required when you install a solar water heater or any other HVAC system that uses solar energy. HVAC licenses have an exam that you must pass that tests to verify you can install HVAC systems and are literate in business and legal concepts.
Some states have specific license requirements to meet before you can install and sell solar panel installation services. See the chart below for a comparison of these requirements.
|State||State License Requirements|
|Alaska||Electrical contractor or Electrician|
|Arizona||General contractor, electrician, plumbers license|
|Arkansas||Contractor, electrician, plumbers license|
|California||Contractor, electrician, HVAC, plumbing|
|Connecticut||An electrician or solar contractor|
|Florida||Solar contractor license|
|Idaho||Solar specialty, plumbing|
|New Mexico||Electrician, plumber|
|New York||None at the state level|
|Ohio||Electrician or HVAC|
|Rhode Island||Solar energy permit|
Are you interested in researching how to become a tesla solar roof installer? You need to take slightly different steps to become a Tesla roof installer, including an application and a Tesla certification.
So you want to know how to become a tesla solar roof contractor? The first step is applying online. The application is open to everyone, even if you don’t have roofing experience. Tesla provides training will be provided to applicants upon acceptance.
If you want to retain ownership of your own business, you can apply for a certification so you can install Telsa roofs by becoming a Tesla partner. You can apply online to become a Tesla partner and be granted the ability to install Tesla products and sell them to your customers.
If you are just concerned with installing Telsa products like their solar roof, you can try to find a job opening by an already certified installer. By joining a business already providing this service, you can get on-the-job training to learn how the installation process works.
If you have trouble applying for jobs from Tesla-certified contractors, you may want to research Tesla technology. You will want to learn advantages about the Tesla roof you can speak to in interviews, like its improved performance compared to the rest of the market or how they are built durably.
Tesla themselves are hiring roofers or electricians with experience in certain states that include:
The average solar panel installer in the US makes $37,239 annually. The typical salary range for solar panel installers is between $29,000 and $47,000. You will have an average hourly wage of $17.90 as a solar panel installer. Below is a comparison of what you can expect to make on average in different states.
|State||Average Annual Salary||Average Hourly Wage|
Once you get your solar panel business started, the time starts ticking until you have an unexpected cost like a lawsuit or damaged vehicle. These costs can strain your business financially unless you have the right insurance. See the recommended insurance policies below to protect and boost your business income.
A business owner's policy is one of the more comprehensive options. It combines the coverages of general liability and commercial property insurance. NEXT should be your choice for a business owner’s policy. They offer affordable insurance with no hidden fees. You can get quick online quotes and get your policy up and running quickly. They combine the convenience of an online insurer and a tailored insurance policy. NEXT has an A- score from AM Best, and the Better Business Bureau gave them a B+ rating.
General liability insurance protects your business from third-party lawsuits. It covers events like advertising injury, property damage, and bodily injury. For example, your solar panel installation service might cause a client to trip and fall, who might sue your company. Thimble is an excellent choice for this policy because they offer short-term general liability insurance. This means you only pay for the coverage and policy period you need. The Better Business Bureau gave Thimble an A+ rating.
A professional liability policy protects your business against errors and negligence. A customer may sue you for failing to provide promised services. Hiscox is our top choice for this policy. They offer worldwide coverage for professional liability insurance. You can save when bundling multiple policies, and they have a 14-day refund period. Hoiscox has an A rating from AM Best.
Commercial property insurance is your lifeline against physical damage. It protects your building and equipment from fire, theft, vandalism, water damage, and more. For this policy, we recommend CoverWallet. They are a great pick for first-time buyers. Over 75% of their customers are buying insurance for the first time. CoverWallet has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
If you use vehicles in your solar panel business, you need commercial auto insurance. It protects from accident liability. It also can help you repair or replace damaged vehicles of your own. We recommend Tivly for commercial auto insurance. They have many coverage options like gap insurance, uninsured motorist, medical payments, and personal injury protection. Tivly lets you choose from 200 insurance partners and has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Your workers' compensation policy is required in most states. It helps employees pay for medical treatments related to injuries they sustain on the job. The policy also pays employees supplemental income if they miss work due to an injury or occupational illness. The Hartford is our top choice for this policy. With The Hartford, your employees can access top medical care and over 65,000 pharmacies nationwide. You can file a policy online, and they are alongstanding insurer with over 200 years of history. The Hartford has an A- rating from AM Best.
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This place is an absolute joke of a company and should be ashamed of the way they conduct business. I was hurt on the job at the end of July and it took them just shy of 7 weeks to issue out a paycheck to me. Yes the amount was back dated but still. Not many have the luxury of not receiving a paycheck for almost 2 months. To top it all off, the original adjuster marked me down for the wrong state which caused a problem from the get go, I've had 3 different adjusters now since each one can't seem to figure out the simplicity of my claim. All my paperwork which includes, my job, house, and drs visits all are from the same state and city but yet some how I have been filed under a completely different state 1500 miles away. They do not answer your phone calls or emails no matter how many you leave. I've had to escalate my frustrations to the supervisors of each of these individuals in order to even get some kind of response. I've had more communication and information given to me about my claim from the customer service representatives then the actual adjusters.......... please tell me how that works?! A serious overhaul needs to happen here in order to serve your clients the way they deserve to be taken care of. 10/10 do not recommend this company to a single soul on earth
I have never had the displeasure of working with a more incompetent and disrespectful person in my life. I’m an injured worker and the adjuster that was assigned to my case was named Carrie Furgeson. In the past 6 weeks that I’ve been injured and out of work I have only been able to get ahold of her twice, not for lack of trying. I have left countless voicemails, countless emails, and she ignores them all. When I am finally able to get ahold of her I’m greeted with terrible customer service. She is rude, she talks over me and I’m hardly able to get a word in edgewise. She spelled my name wrong on my documents even after I spelled it for her properly countless times, this caused a whole new issue with my bank. I have bill collectors from the hospital calling me demanding payment and Carrie Furgeson won’t do a single thing to help, or to get them paid. All of my documentation is in Colorado, my job is in Colorado, my address is in Colorado, all my Dr offices and appointments have been in Colorado and Carrie still managed to hold my claim because she wasn’t sure what state she needed to file it under. It’s been 6 weeks since my Injury and my company still hasn’t received the wage paperwork to fill out so they can get me my correct wages. When she’s not ignoring me she’s answering my questions with “I don’t know” well I don’t know how she got this job, because apparently she doesn’t know anything about it. She is a disgusting morose individual inside and out and I genuinely wish her the worst in all of her future endeavors. I highly recommend you don’t use this company. Please if you are a business owner and your looking into this company please don’t use them. I’m sure they have the cheapest payment and that’s why companies use them in the first place, but you will be doing your employees a grave disservice by forcing them to venture into this absolute dumpster fire of a company. I would rate 0/5 if possible but 1 was the lowest I was allowed.
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