1/50 new jobs created in the United States in 2016 were in the solar industry. Imagine then, the potential for solar to create jobs in Nigeria. A country with a well-documented and crippling power shortage. The national grid provides just 4000 MW for a population of around 200 million people. In addition, 85 million people are underserved or not connected to the national grid.
Pair this with the rising popularity of solar in recent years. A trend that is growing and is set to continue. It’s easy to understand why. At present $14 billion is spent annually on off-grid solutions – primarily generators that provide 14GW of power. Off-grid alternatives such as solar are estimated to potentially save these homes and businesses $4.4. billion per year. They also offer relief from the noise and fumes of generating sets.
Traditionally solar has been an unaffordable technology however many solar companies are now offering financial products that make it easier for the consumer to obtain a system. Pay as You Go Solar and Lease to Own options are the most common. Nigerians are responding and keying into this opportunity like never before. There are no official statistics however the sight of solar rooftops is no longer a rare occurrence. In fact, most Nigerian’s in major cities are likely to either know someone who has gone solar, considered it themselves or actually made the investment.
Bearing this in mind one of the well-paying jobs of the future will be within the solar industry. Jobs vary from solar installers to support functions such as equipment suppliers, sales, logistics and administration. The current industry tends to be well paid allowing opportunities for people to earn above a living wage without the advanced and expensive training that are required by other career paths.
Solar Installers are the heart of the industry. They assemble, install and maintain solar power systems. Typically, they will have a background in mechanical or electrical engineering. Solar installers principally work in the field with a team. Depending on the size of the project this team can include roofers and other engineers. A well-trained engineer can complete an installation for a home or small business between 1-2 days. Therefore, most engineers are likely to install between 2-3 jobs in a week.
In addition to technical expertise solar engineers will be trained in core skills such as customer service and project management.
3 Steps to become a Solar Power Installer
Obtain a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering. Other acceptable studies that can lead to a career as a solar installer include chemistry, computer science, civil engineering, and related fields. Some employers may not require a degree however it is an advantage to be able to demonstrate theoretical knowledge in the field.
Gain practical experience on the field. There are several solar training schools that can equip you. The most recognized in Nigeria are listed below.
– Brianok Engineering
– Solynta Energy
Some solar companies offer internships whereby a trainee installer is paired with an experienced engineer for a period of time until he/she is fully capable of managing a project alone.
The solar industry is fast moving, developing and changing each year. This means professionals need to stay up to date with the latest trends by attending programs and further training.