The world of residential solar installation has many different players, including inspectors, property managers, contractors, bankers and government agencies, as well as prospective owners and occupants. But the workhorses of the typical solar photovoltaic project are the people on the ground — the solar design and installation professionals. A good solar installer is similar in nature to a conductor of a symphony, coordinating the different players to make a successful project a reality. At different points in the process, the solar installer is a salesperson, a buyer's advocate, an analyst, a business manager, a consultant, a negotiator, and a marketer, just to name a few.
We have found there are a number of qualities and traits that successful solar professionals share. Here are the top 10:
10. Problem-solver mindset.
Do you enjoy coming up with creative solutions to problems or issues? Many successful solar professionals know how to properly showcase a system to make it more marketable and develop creative tactics to make the system a reality.
Having a desire to control your own professional destiny and be your own boss is a trait shared by top solar energy professionals. To be successful in this new industry requires a high degree of self-motivation, drive and smart decision making.
8. Honesty and integrity.
Your professional reputation is crucial to a long and successful career in solar installation. Becoming certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is one way to show you practice high ethical standards. To become certified, you must pass a written exam, which covers extensively the ethics of the job.
7. Hustle and tenacity.
Being a top solar PV professional requires a great work ethic. You must have the tenacity to pursue every lead and the hustle to aggressively market your clients' properties in order to have success. It's not just about putting in a lot of time — it's about working smart, putting in the right amount of time, and doing whatever is necessary to close the deal.
6. Interest in energy production and electricity.
Having a true interest in energy production and electricity can give you an advantage over other firms and installation companies. If your knowledge and interest level is apparent in conversations, your clients will see that you care about the industry you're in.
5. Engaging personality.
A good solar professional doesn't just sell systems — they sell themselves. It's important to show your real personality. People will respond to you if you have a great attitude, are personable and honest, have confidence in your abilities, and get a sense of fulfillment by serving others.
Paying close attention to the details is imperative for your solar installation career. A complete solar professional is attentive to the unique needs of their individual clients. If you are organized, follow up with leads, communicate well, and pay attention to the needs of your clients, you will close more deals.
3. Understanding of the local electricity market and incentive structure.
A top-producing solar installer appreciates and utilizes the nuances that make a specific community's market and pricing strategy unique. Success comes from identifying and developing a focus or niche in the local energy market and incentive structure that allows you to distinguish yourself from the competition.
2. A network of connections.
Successful solar energy installers have a vast network of contacts within the market they serve. This list of connections should include other electricians and installers, potential buyers, and all the other players in the solar industry, such as the utility, inspectors and financing officers.
1. Ever-evolving knowledge base.
Staying up-to-date on the latest topics in solar and in the local market will allow you to service clients more effectively. Continuing solar education classes and professional development are doors to opportunity that you can utilize to expand your business options and stay at the forefront of the solar field.
At the end of the day, you get out of a solar energy job what you put into it. There is a certain level of investment needed (time, energy, and money) to make any business venture successful. Solar is no different. If you are passionate about renewable energy and have similar traits to those outlined here, you have a great shot at succeeding at a job as a solar installer.