The path to PV: how and why to become a solar installer 

The average payback period for a residential photovoltaic (PV) system is now the shortest it has ever been due to the increase in the Energy Price Cap.

The path to PV: how and why to become a solar installer – we caught up with GoodWe’s marketing manager, Eugene Lucarelli, to discuss opportunities for new and established installers in the industry.

The opportunity this presents for experienced installers and the training needed to take on PV projects are both discussed by Eugene Lucarelli, marketing manager at GoodWe UK.

It has recently become apparent that many solar installers are struggling to keep up with demand, partly due to the energy crisis making the average payback period for a residential solar system shorter than ever.  

With a significant rise in the number of people considering switching to solar power, there’s now a strong need for more qualified installers. In some cases, installers are being forced to decline jobs due to the boom in enquiries and projects, with some businesses reporting a 400-500 percent surge in solar sales. 

For professionals considering a move into the PV market, there are a number of ways to add solar to their portfolio of services. One route into the industry is to become an expert in solar inverter installations.  

A solar inverter: what is it? 

Solar inverters are a key component of every PV system. They take the DC current collected by the solar panel array and turn it into AC current which can be used by machines and household appliances.  

Solar inverter installation peaking right now. For homes and businesses that have adopted solar already, as systems age or power requirements change, it may be that new inverters are needed to cope with increased usage.  

Technology has changed rapidly too since solar’s inception many years ago, with energy monitoring features offered by newer models helping to push more retrofit installations. Of course, also to be considered are all the people looking to switch to solar for financial savings or a desire to be more eco-friendly. All of these factors combined have caused the UK solar market to have the biggest growth since 2015. 

This growth is creating opportunities for contractors and installers to undergo training in order to install PV systems for homeowners who want to take control of their own energy use and save money on their bills. 

What does a solar installer do? 

In the UK, solar installers are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing solar systems. Solar systems are made up of different components, including panels, inverters and batteries.  

Solar installers need to undertake training in order to install a solar system. Training courses such as the GoodWe PLUS+ installer training teach participants everything they need to know about how to install a solar system safely. It covers the different types of solar systems, including the main types of solar panels, and how a system is installed and maintained. It also details how to remove and reinstall a system. Once qualified, course attendees will need to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry.  

Four reasons to become a solar inverter installer  

The UK solar market is surging as businesses and individuals want to save money amid the cost-of-living crisis. There are many reasons to join the rapidly expanding solar industry – here are just four. 

First, it is a lucrative career option for those who want a flexible job. There is no need for employees to be in an office for most of the day – they can work from home or on the road. Plus, it can be very rewarding, in terms of helping people save money on their energy bills. It is also relatively low-cost to start up a business as an installer, so this job is suitable even on a tight budget.  

Second is the skyrocketing demand. As previously mentioned, more people are realising that a residential system will pay for itself in as little as six years. Once a household passes this milestone, they can count on having their electricity bill slashed by 98%, and even earn money if they choose to sell excess electricity back to the grid. 

Third, by helping to install PV systems, it is a great way to make a positive impact on the planet. The UK Government has set a target to get the country to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It also has an interim goal of reducing emissions by 78% by 2035, and with solar being one of the most efficient renewable technologies available, it is a surefire way to help the UK with its carbon-cutting journey.  

Fourth and finally, training to become a solar inverter installer is incredibly cost-effective. GoodWe offers training without charge and installers that complete it obtain a recognised certificate as well as a host of other benefits. The solar industry is also constantly evolving and there are always new advancements and innovations. By staying up to date with the latest developments, solar installers can increase their earning potential over time.  

Installers’ options for solar solutions 

Solar installers can specialise in a particular aspect of a PV system if they so choose. For example, they may specialise in commercial systems rather than residential or a particular component. As discussed above, inverters are a viable avenue into the industry as every system requires an inverter. That being said, there is plenty of work out there to branch into other areas of this sector, including building integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs), solar battery installations, and solar chargers for the increasingly popular electric vehicle (EV) market. 

With the UK’s net zero goals and the escalating cost of energy, almost all installers are inundated right now, with some customers facing waiting times of ten months. To help remedy this, GoodWe has launched a new professional training initiative in the UK. The GoodWe PLUS+ programme aims to give those looking to expand their use of solar energy a route into the market. 

The training sessions consist of three online modules hosted by a technical expert from GoodWe. Each module familiarises those who are new to solar with various solar solutions, commissioning and monitoring inverters and batteries, as well as troubleshooting and maintenance of systems after installation. 

Educating the upcoming solar generation 

Upskilling now could give non-PV installers a competitive advantage and help future-proof their businesses. Inverter installations can range from small home-based installations to large industrial-scale arrays combining solar panels with several inverters and solar batteries. 

There is no question that progressing renewable, independent technologies is essential. It will contribute to the UK’s progress toward net zero and reduce the country’s vulnerability to supply and global event-related disruptions. It will also provide installers with an additional source of income, helping protect both them and their customers from future energy uncertainty.