Eight occupations are shown on the career map for the marketing, sales, and permitting sector. Although there will never likely be an occupation entitled Solar Building Official, building code officials and inspectors are included in this sector because of the very important role they play in assuring the quality and safety of installed solar systems. Also, because of the number and type of contracts, permits, approvals and other legal requirements—especially for larger systems—lawyers with solar expertise are shown on the career map in this sector.

Marketing, Sales and Permitting | ENTRY LEVEL OCCUPATIONS

Marketing entry level

Solar Site Assessor

Education and Training Level: Solar Site Assessors should pursue industry-specific training and certification to improve skills in site assessment and report writing for residential solar electric, non-residential solar electric, residential solar hot water, and non-residential solar hot water technologies.
Preferred: Apprentice level or postsecondary credential; certification
Solar Content Integration: The tasks and subtasks associated with solar site assessment are well defined in several of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) job task analyses. Numerous short courses and workshops that provide comprehensive instruction in this area are widely available. In addition, site assessment can be easily integrated into a postsecondary adult vocational (PSAV) certificate program in solar energy.

Marketing, Sales and Permitting | MID-LEVEL OCCUPATIONS

Marketing mid level

Solar Sales Representative (Retail)

Education and Training Level: Some companies accept an associate’s degree for this position, but many require a bachelor’s degree in a technical or scientific discipline. New employees receive product-specific, on-the-job training. Certification is one way to advance PV technical sales expertise.
Preferred: Bachelor’s degree; certification
Solar Content Integration: Many of the tasks and subtasks associated with solar sales are well defined in the NABCEP job task analysis for certification of PV technical salespersons, although the analysis does not emphasize actual sales techniques or salesmanship. New short courses and workshops of two to three days duration are being offered and will soon become more widely available. Solar sales can easily be integrated into a College Credit Certificate (CCC) in business and entrepreneurship, and would typically be complemented with company
training on their specific solar products.

Solar Marketing Specialist

Education and Training Level: Those interested in this position should have at least two years of marketing experience, specific industry training, and a related associate’s degree. Five years of experience, certification, and a four-year degree in business or marketing supports advancement into more senior analyst positions. An M.B.A. opens the door to management.
Preferred: Bachelor’s degree; certification
Solar Content Integration: A single short course or workshop in photovoltaic and/or solar thermal systems, combined with company training and on-the-job experience with the company-specific solar products that are being marketed, should provide sufficient training for the solar marketing specialist.

Building Inspector with Solar Expertise

Education and Training Level: Inspectors usually have experience in the construction trades, and employers may look for an A.S. or A.A.S. degree in engineering technology. Many states require licensure or certification. Specific solar training is critical for quality inspections, even if only a small part of the job involves solar installations.
Preferred: A.S. or A.A.S. degree; license
Solar Content Integration: Solar training for code officials can be offered through state associations of building officials, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, and other industry organizations. IREC is in the process of developing a series of online course modules in solar energy for building officials that can be used to satisfy their professional development requirements.

Code Official with Solar Expertise

Education and Training Level: Code officials typically have at least some post-secondary training. A two- or four-year degree is preferred. Code officials often need a license, depending on the state and their field of expertise. Preferred: Associate’s degree, license
Solar Content Integration: Solar content can be offered through state associations of building officials, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, and other industry organizations. IREC is developing a series of online course modules in solar energy for building officials that can be used to satisfy their professional development requirements.

Electrical Inspector with Solar Expertise

Education and Training Level: Electrical Inspectors usually have journey-level electrical construction training. Licensing and certification requirements vary by state. Specific solar training is critical for quality inspections, even if only a small portion of the typical inspector’s job involves solar installations.
Preferred: Master Tradesperson certification; license
Solar Content Integration: Solar training for electrical inspectors can be offered through state associations of building officials, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, and other industry organizations. IREC is developing a series of online course modules in solar energy for building officials that can be used to satisfy their professional development requirements.

Marketing, Sales and Permitting | ADVANCED LEVEL OCCUPATIONS

Marketing advanced level

Solar Project Developer/Sales Representative (Wholesale)

Education and Training Level: Ideally, the Solar Project Developer or Wholesale Sales Representative has a B.S. degree in engineering, science, or finance, and an M.B.A.
Preferred: Postgraduate degree, certification
Solar Content Integration: A 3 credit-hour course (for a semester or an equivalent number of instructional hours) in photovoltaic or solar systems engineering, possibly as an upperdivision elective, combined with at least three to five years of experience in designing and managing the installation of both small and large-scale PV or solar thermal systems would be desirable for those seeking this high-level responsibility.

Lawyer with Solar Expertise

Education and Training Level: Lawyers are required to earn a four-year college degree followed by three years of law school to earn the J.D. degree and pass the written bar exam.
Preferred: Postgraduate degree
Solar Content Integration: Solar expertise may be gained on the job or through a certificate in environmental or energy law that includes solar-specific instruction.
 

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