Typical Roles at a Solar Panel Business


A solar panel company can specialize in several areas, but this article will focus on a company that serves as an installer: designing and installing solar power systems for clients. A business like this will employ many people to manage the many different steps of the process, initially however, people can fulfill multiple related roles until the business expands enough to warrant hiring for more specialized positions. In general, you’ll want salesmen to recruit and pitch to clients, engineers to design the solar power system, and certified workers to install the system and connect it to the electrical grid.

President

The president oversees the business from a high-level perspective, ensuring that new sources of revenue are explored, new sales and growth opportunities are exploited, and individual projects are completed effectively.

Salary: $90,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Guide direction of company
  • Ensure sales targets are met
  • Ensure clients are pleased with the results

Who to Look For:

  • Experience in solar power industry
  • Business degree and experience managing people
  • May be filled by the owner

Solar Site Assessor

A solar site assessor visits a potential client’s location and gathers technical information about the installation, include space constraints, existing infrastructure, and safety considerations.

Salary: $18/hr

What Does This Role Entail?

  • VIsit client locations and gather data on space constraints, mounting specs, and infrastructure needs
  • Understand the client’s needs
  • Communicate this information to the teams that design and install the solar power solution

Who to Look For:

  • Experience in construction or electrical work
  • Knowledge of solar power generation

Solar Panel Installer

The solar panel installer goes to the customer’s location and installs the requested equipment. This job usually requires several certifications.

Salary: $22/hr

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Install the necessary solar panels and electrical infrastructure on the client’s site
  • Ensure the installed system is safe and meets local building codes

Who to Look For:

  • Appropriate certifications (roofing, electrician, etc.)
  • Experience in construction or electrical work.

Solar Representative

Solar representatives bring in new business and meet with clients. They educate clients about solar power and gather information on installation requirements.

Salary: $55,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Bringing in new business
  • Convincing clients to purchase a solar power solution
  • Educating consumers about solar power

Who to Look For:

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Prior sales or marketing experience
  • Knowledge or interest in solar power

Electrical Design Engineer

The design engineer’s role is to interface with the audit team to develop a complete solar solution that integrates within the client’s existing infrastructure.

Salary: $65,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Design a complete solar power system
  • Frequent communication with audit team and project manager
  • Ensuring safety and compliance with local electrical codes

Who to Look For:

  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering
  • Knowledge of solar power generation
  • Attention to detail

Project Manager

The project manager supervises the engineering team and interfaces between the designers and the clients to keep the project on schedule. Ultimately responsible for the success of the project.

Salary: $70,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Managing a project team
  • Communicating project needs and constraints between engineers and clients

Who to Look For:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Prior project management experience
  • Business acumen

Procurement Specialist

A procurement specialist manages your inventory and negotiates equipment purchases from suppliers.

Salary: $50,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Manage inventory
  • Negotiate equipment purchases

Who to Look For:

  • Strong math skills
  • Business experience

Solar Panel Business Hiring Tips


Hiring employees can seem like a nerve-wracking process, but it doesn't have to be. We break the process down into four basic steps: (1) Planning; (2) Recruiting; (3) Interviewing; and (4) Completing the Hire. Here are some tips for each phase of the process

Plan to Staff Your Business

Early on, your team can be smaller, with employees fulfilling multiple roles. Your sales representative who first meets with clients can also be the project manager, and the audit team can consist of several of your engineers. As the business expands, it will be helpful to specialize roles so that project managers don’t sink time into meeting with potential clients who ultimately do not choose to purchase a system. This will also allow engineers to focus on the system design.

From a technical perspective, solar power systems are rather complex to design and integrate within existing electrical infrastructure. Thus, it is important to hire engineers who have different areas of expertise (batteries, inverters, or control software to optimize the energy captured by the solar panels). Systems that connect to existing electrical grids will require an electrical engineer with utilities experience.

Develop a Recruiting Strategy

Candidates can be recruited via traditional channels (online job boards, word-of-mouth, etc). While it’s not important for many of your employees to have prior experience with solar power generation, your president and design engineers are the exception.

Interview with Confidence

If you take your time during the planning and recruiting phases of the process, you will likely end up with many qualified candidates.

Nonetheless, it is natural for a new business owner to be a bit anxious the first time hiring employees. Don’t forget that the interview is just a chance to get to know an applicant and to give them an opportunity to learn more about the role and the business. Also, it might help to remember that they are probably even more nervous than you are!

Throughout the interview process, it may help to keep in mind that most solar power installers look for employees who are:

  • Detail oriented
  • Creative thinkers
  • Knowledgeable and passionate about solar powerDedicated to customer satisfaction

Here are some sample interview questions that will help you learn more about the character of your interviewees:

  • Describe (in basic terms) how a photovoltaic cell generates electricity.
  • Describe the basic steps in solar power generation.
  • Tell me about a time you had to perform a job while under stress. How do you manage that stress while still producing good work?

Be Familiar with Hiring Laws

After selecting a job candidate, there are certain steps you will need to follow to complete the hiring process. Check out our Hiring Compliance Checklist for a step-by-step guide to the legal aspects of hiring employees.

One of the most important steps is to classify your new hire as an employee or an independent contractor. Become familiar with IRS guidelines on this matter, as there are serious consequences for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.

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For more details, please refer to our guide on the topic, Contractors vs. Employees: What You Need to Know. We also provide templates for the essential hiring forms you will need.

Set Up Payroll


Once you have a growing team of employees, it's time to set up your payroll. Using a payroll service provider saves you time for running your business, and also helps ensure that you comply with important federal requirements such as employee tax withholding.

To help our readers save money and grow their business, we negotiated a 20% discount for you with payroll provider ADP, the most popular small business provider in the country.

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Try ADP and get 20% off payroll services for your business.

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