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How to Become an Advanced Electrical and Renewable Energy Technician

Become an advanced electrical and renewable energy technician through Austin Career Institute's new solar power program. In this comprehensive new course, you'll learn about solar photovoltaics, also known as solar power...

Become an advanced electrical and renewable energy technician through Austin Career Institute's new solar power program. In this comprehensive new course, you'll learn about solar photovoltaics, also known as solar power. The renewable energy technician course introduces solar photovoltaics, addresses how to assess prospective sites for potential solar installations, and discusses systems design and implementation. Upon completing the training, students will know how to inspect residential and commercial solar setups, maintain proper functionality, and troubleshoot potential issues.

An electrical graduate does not receive any sort of additional certificate for the new solar module. However, it is an upgrade to the existing program. Those taking the class now have the solar credential included on their diploma. Our nationally accredited Advanced Electrical and Renewable Energy Technician Certification takes about seven and a half months to complete. At ACI, financial aid is available for qualified students. Interested applicants can apply today and receive a free consultation about funding options.

What Is Solar Photovoltaics?

Photovoltaics, or PV, converts light into electricity using semiconductors. Photovoltaics gets its name from converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage). This is known as the photovoltaic effect.

In a photovoltaic system, solar modules comprised of numerous solar cells generate electricity. PV systems can be mounted on the ground, walls, rooftops, or float on the water. Installations use automatic solar trackers to follow the sun across the sky throughout the day.

PV technology has emerged because it helps mitigate climate change by emitting less carbon dioxide than traditional fossil fuels. Solar photovoltaics also have a smaller footprint because they generate no pollution or greenhouse gasses once installed. The construction and installation of solar PV systems also cause less pollution and greenhouse emissions than fossil fuels.

Solar PV has been in use since the 1990s. However, commercial use didn't take off until the 2000s, when prices started to decrease due to improvements in manufacturing. Lower costs have allowed photovoltaic systems to emerge more recently as viable energy sources. Solar panel prices dropped considerably from 2004 to 2011.

By 2020, prices had dropped nearly 90%, and the industry gained steam. Today, PV is the third most-used renewable energy resource behind hydro and wind power. In regions with high solar potential, PV is often the cheapest source of energy available. It is used widely across the globe. Countries with the highest total solar power capacity include China, the U.S., Japan, and Germany. Smaller countries like Vietnam and Honduras currently get a sizeable portion of their energy via solar.

Solar PV Training

Your solar PV training for renewable energy technician credentials at Austin Career Institute starts with an overview of the current solar power marketplace. You will learn the pros and cons of photovoltaic systems, including existing state and federal buyer incentives and how they work. The course covers every aspect of the process, including net metering. Net metering is a billing tool that credits the owners of residential and commercial solar energy systems for electricity that they provide to the grid.

By the end of your renewable energy technician training, you will know the various solar power systems available to buy and list the components of stand-alone and grid-tie systems. The course also covers the necessary steps in evaluating a potential solar site, including determining if a residential or commercial structure is adequate and safe for solar panel installation. ACI technicians will also be trained to collect and analyze current electrical load data and calculate potential savings by switching to solar power.

Following a comprehensive introduction to solar PV systems, the course addresses how residential and commercial solar power systems are designed and implemented. You must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of AC/DC, wattage, voltage and electrical safety. This will give you a better understanding of how these intricate systems work. Knowing how solar fits into the skillset of an advanced electrical technician creates a more productive and confident graduate.

Once you understand solar PV, how and where it is used, and what it takes to design a solar power plan, you will learn how to install and inspect systems. The course provides instruction on installing solar PV systems, comparing the different types of residential and commercial mounting systems, and how to attach them to varying load types. You will also learn crucial safety procedures and rules to prevent accidents or injuries.

Your renewable energy technician instruction concludes by addressing maintenance and troubleshooting potential issues on site. Maintaining a solar system after installation is critical to ensure it operates at its fullest potential. As solar power becomes increasingly viable, there is a tremendous opportunity for trained technicians to install, maintain and troubleshoot these systems for the commercial and residential sectors. At the end of your training, you should be able to explain how a new system is planned and installed. You should also be able to list several potential problems that may arise and offer knowledgeable troubleshooting solutions.

Employment Opportunities

While we do not offer jobs at ACI, we can help you get the proper training you need to become a leader in the solar PV industry. Advanced electrician technicians can design, plan, install, test and repair electrical wiring, gear or fixtures. They can also connect wiring to circuit breakers, transformers and other mechanisms. Techs are in demand at indoor and outdoor job sites such as hospitals, warehouses, large office buildings and residential properties of all shapes and sizes.

Advanced electrical technicians have a higher earning potential as more advanced systems are constantly being developed and installed in this emerging industry. Upon graduation with our nationally accredited Advanced Electrical Technician Certification, you will be ready for an entry-level commercial and residential electrician technician position.

ACI graduates can apply for a Texas Apprentice Electrician license through TDLR and be hired directly into the workforce by small and large electrical service companies and other employers seeking a knowledgeable electrician. Many business, educational and governmental facilities need someone to oversee day-to-day maintenance and installation. The residential market is also thriving as more and more homeowners convert to solar power.

Learn More About Our Solar Certification

Contact us today to learn more about our new solar power course or any other electrical, HVAC or medical training opportunities. Or you can call us at (512) 371-0100 to get started. We help career seekers, high school seniors, new Americans, veterans and active-duty members reach their highest potential. Our ACI admissions counselors can help you determine your eligibility for financial aid and answer any additional questions. You can also schedule a campus tour and meet our instructors. Our campus is located at 7215 Cameron Road in downtown Austin, Texas.