8 In-demand Renewable Energy Jobs For Solar In Alberta, Canada

If you’re considering a renewable energy job, especially in the solar sector, this post will guide you through what to expect.

Canada is stepping up its efforts to protect the environment by aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. 

The solar industry is a key part of this plan and is growing fast, offering many job opportunities. 

In the past ten years, the capacity to produce solar power in Canada has increased eight times, and the actual power generated has grown nineteen times.

Today, hundreds of large solar projects are in the country, from residential to commercial and industrial properties. This growth in solar power is creating various career opportunities. 

In Alberta, the Canadian Renewable Energy Association has started a new Clean Energy Jobs Canada program to help fill these roles. 

This effort is crucial, as nearly one million jobs need to be filled to keep up with the expansion in solar power and other renewable energy sectors, making it a promising field for work now and in the future.

Solar Industry Statistics In Alberta

Alberta’s solar industry is poised for significant expansion, with the Canadian solar market projected to grow by USD 2.25 billion and achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.16% from 2023 to 2028. 

The pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model, which makes solar energy more accessible by allowing customers to make small initial payments followed by installments, is the main driver of the growth. 

This model is particularly effective in overcoming the barrier of the high upfront costs of solar systems.

Policy and Regulatory Environment

Government programs and policies promoting renewable energy to achieve net-zero emissions targets heavily support the expansion of Alberta’s solar market. 

Programs like the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Program, the SolarHomes Program, and the Alberta Municipal Solar Program (AMSP) offer various incentives, including tax benefits and subsidies, to encourage solar installations. 

These policies are crucial for advancing the development and widespread adoption of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies.

Key Market Players

Significant players in Alberta’s solar market include major energy companies like BP and TC Energy Corporation, which invest in and drive advancements in solar technology. 

These companies, alongside governmental support, play a critical role in market dynamics by enhancing solar infrastructure and promoting sustainable energy practices.

Market Dynamics

The grid-connected segment dominates the market, where solar systems supply energy directly to buildings, and any surplus is fed back to the grid. 

This segment benefits from continuous improvements in solar technology and grid digitalization, making solar power more efficient and cost-effective. 

Despite the positive trends, the solar industry faces challenges from traditional energy sources and the high costs of setting up renewable energy farms.

8 Renewable Energy Jobs In The Solar Sector:

What is a renewable energy job?

A renewable energy job involves working with energy from natural sources like the sun, wind, and water. Careers include designing energy-efficient buildings, developing renewable power plants, repairing electric vehicles, and creating bioenergy solutions.

1. Solar Installer

Solar installation is quickly becoming one of Canada’s fastest-growing careers. 

Between 2022 and 2031, the industry expects to generate 15,900 job openings for residential and commercial installers and servicers due to market expansion and turnover. 

Solar installers “install” solar photovoltaic systems across diverse locations, fitting solar modules and panels to different building structures while ensuring compliance with safety standards and regulations. 

Additionally, they perform maintenance tasks, earning at least $35,700 to over $65,000 annually.

2. Solar Engineer

Solar engineering involves designing, deploying, and maintaining solar power systems. 

This profession typically requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, with training in photovoltaic systems, thermal technology, CAD, and programming. 

Work environments range from offices to labs and outdoor sites, with duties that can include travel and physical tasks like lifting equipment or climbing rooftops. 

Most solar engineers work full-time with occasional irregular hours for emergencies, earning a well above median salary of $98,300.

3. Solar Electrician

A solar photovoltaic electrician, or solar technician, uses specialized tools to connect and calibrate solar equipment for a safe and effective operation.

While some electricians in this field hold college degrees, others enter the profession with a high school diploma or GED. 

Training can range from on-the-job experience to completing a certificate program in solar technology. The annual salary for solar photovoltaic electricians starts at $43,000.

4. Solar Fleet Manager

A solar fleet manager coordinates solar equipment installations, manages relationships with third-party vendors, and oversees the setup process for both residential and commercial projects. 

This role involves ensuring compliance with service-level agreements, assessing technician performance, and maintaining the operational quality of solar energy systems. 

They also monitor installations remotely and dispatch technicians for necessary repairs or inspections. The average base salary for a solar fleet manager is around $60,000 per year.

5. Solar Site Supervisor

A solar site supervisor, earning an average annual salary of $50-60,000, assesses potential sites to gauge the energy they can produce. 

Working primarily on residential or commercial projects, this role involves conducting site evaluations, analyzing environmental conditions, and creating detailed reports to determine optimal solar equipment configurations. 

They oversee and direct solar installers, technicians, and subcontractors ensuring safety standards are met and projects stay on schedule. 

They also estimate project resources, write customer reports, and communicate with design and installation teams.

6. Solar Sales Representative

A solar sales representative serves as the primary business contact for clients, evaluating their solar energy needs and the suitability of their sites for solar equipment. 

They calculate potential energy production, design customized energy solutions, and prepare tailored presentations, proposals, and contracts. 

Additionally, solar sales representatives develop strategic plans for their sales territories to attract new clients and assist customers in selecting appropriate solar products and services based on specific requirements.

Sales representatives can earn $70,000 per year, depending on their experience.

7. Solar Designer

A solar designer specializes in creating designs for solar energy systems. They conduct site-specific engineering analyses and design photovoltaic or solar thermal systems for commercial, industrial, or utility-scale projects. 

Their responsibilities include developing electrical diagrams for project commissioning and permitting, evaluating structural and electrical conditions for optimal solar array placement and local code, and using computer simulations.

Solar designers can even provide technical guidance and support to field teams during installation, start-up, testing, commissioning, and performance monitoring, ensuring systems meet technical and safety standards.

The average salary for a solar designer is $80,000 per year.

8. Solar Lawyer

Environmental lawyers specializing in solar energy navigate legal aspects for solar companies. They represent these firms in state and federal regulatory proceedings, ensure compliance with relevant laws, and draft contracts and legal documents. 

These lawyers assist clients with project development, financing, and managing compliance issues. They also offer counsel on legal matters like land use, project permitting, environmental reviews, contracting, negotiation, and tax strategies related to solar projects. 

Earning around $100,000 annually, their role is crucial in the clean energy sector, guiding clients through complex regulatory landscapes and helping facilitate the growth of solar energy installations.

Challenges

Canada’s renewable energy sector, particularly solar energy, is at a pivotal juncture with vast opportunities tempered by notable challenges. 

Southern Alberta highlights the sector’s potential, boasting the country’s largest solar farm and significant job creation from renewable projects.

However, the sector grapples with policy uncertainty and funding constraints. The absence of concrete enforcement mechanisms under policies like Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Act complicates the path to achieving renewable energy targets. 

Furthermore, the dependency on evolving government incentives and regulatory frameworks necessitates substantial initial investments, complicating long-term financial planning.

To deal with these problems, Canada needs more consistent policies and better funding systems. 

Enhancing programs like Alberta’s PACE could provide more stable financing options for renewable projects. Investments in modern grid infrastructure and advanced storage technologies will also be critical. 

Addressing these issues will allow Canada to capitalize on its renewable energy potential and lead the global shift towards a sustainable future.

Final Thoughts

Canada’s renewable energy future is bright, with ambitious targets to achieve net-zero emissions and a significant increase in clean energy production. 

By 2050, nearly all (95%) of Canada’s electricity will be generated from low and non-emitting sources, predominantly wind, solar, and battery storage, which will account for 82-85% of new capacity. 

This shift is expected to grow the clean energy sector at an annual rate of 2.26%, providing jobs for 2.7 million Canadians and boosting local economies through enhanced municipal revenues. 

Canada’s commitment to capping and cutting oil and gas emissions underscores its dedication to a sustainable energy landscape.

Want to know more about how you can earn money through solar energy? Contact us today!

FAQs

What are the fastest-growing renewable energy jobs?  

The solar installer career is undoubtedly the fastest-growing job in renewable energy due to increasing demand for cleaner power, technological advancements, and climate change awareness. Nonetheless, jobs like wind turbine technicians, energy efficiency engineers, and renewable energy consultants come next.

What province in Canada has the most renewable energy jobs?

While Quebec has the highest renewable energy, Alberta has the most jobs in the energy sector in Canada, with over 15,000 people currently employed.

What are the top high-paying jobs in the solar sector?

Top-rated solar careers include solar engineers ($60,000–$141,500), followed by solar installation technicians ($40,000–$75,000), and finally, solar designers ($43,000–$62,500).

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