Solar Skills London Careers Hub

About this careers hub

Welcome to the Solar Skills London careers hub, a one-stop shop to kickstart your journey into the solar industry.

This hub has been created by Solar Energy UK in partnership with the Mayor of London. It is part of Solar Skills London, which focuses on skills and training as a way to speed up the city’s update of solar technologies.

It’s an exciting time in the UK for the solar and renewable energies sector, with up to 7 gigawatts of solar expected to be built across the UK in the next two years.

This means that the industry will need about 5,000 more people to join as installers, engineers, managers and many other roles, in order to keep up with growing demand.

The Mayor has committed to achieve 1.5 gigawatts of rooftop solar in London and Solar Energy UK’s ambition is for 40 gigawatts of solar across the UK by 2030. This would mean thousands more jobs in the solar industry – with roughly 2,100 of these being in London.  

So come and find out more about how you can be part of this fast-growing industry.

The Careers Hub has four sections:

  • Renewable energy provides an overview of the solar industry and the technologies used in it.
  • Careers in solar explains the different roles available in the sector, and the skills and experience needed for each of them.
  • Training contains links to courses and qualifications relevant to careers in solar.
  • Jobs provides links to current vacancies.

Click on the blue bar below to access the hub and start your journey into a career in solar.

Clean energy. Net zero. Low carbon. You’ve probably heard these terms and are interested in a career related to energy but what does renewable energy mean and why is it so important?

Renewable energy refers to energy sources like solar (which captures energy from the sun) and wind. These can be replenished in a sustainable manner, and in most cases, have a smaller impact on the environment, compared to non-renewable energy sources.

Other types of renewable energy include geothermal (heat collected from below the earth’s surface) and biomass (energy created from burning human/animal waste or plant-based materials).

Conventional sources of energy – fossil fuels such as oil and gas – must be burned to release their energy. This releases carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, which causes climate change. There is also a limited supply of oil and gas.

Energy sources such as solar and wind are not based on extracting a physical material, such as coal, so they can’t run out. They also do not release carbon dioxide at the point of use, meaning they are cleaner and much better for the planet.

The UK government has a legally binding target to reduce our carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Net zero means that we decrease our carbon dioxide emissions by as much as possible, and any remaining emissions are balanced by taking the equivalent amount of carbon out of the environment.

This is why people discuss future energy goals using terms like net zero or low carbon.

More information on the benefits of solar energy is available in Solar Energy UK’s energy security briefing, and in the other reports available on the Solar Energy UK resources page.

The Mayor of London has set an ambitious target for London to achieve net zero by 2030. This is twenty years ahead of the UK’s target, and solar energy has a key part to play in this.

Increasing solar power generation in London will help the city achieve its goal of carbon neutrality. This is good for the planet and good for London as it will help reduce energy bills for consumers and businesses, and help London’s economy.

The UK rooftop solar market overall is seeing record growth, with group buying schemes such as the Mayor of London’s Solar Together London making it easier and more affordable for Londoners to buy solar panels.

London also has a wide variety of community energy groups, which work with schools and community facilities to help install solar projects. The Mayor of London also provides support to this sector through the London Community Energy Fund, helping organisations get funding to develop and deliver their projects.

The capital also needs 66,000 new homes a year, therefore there is great potential for more solar on London’s rooftops.

These factors should all lead to significant solar uptake that will help London achieve its target of 1.5 GW of solar by 2030.

There are a range of solar technologies. These include:

Solar PV

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels produce electricity from sunlight. They can be installed on roofs, above car parks, or mounted on the ground.

Solar thermal technologies

Solar thermal technologies produce heat for buildings and hot water. Some technologies, such as photovoltaic-thermal panels (PVT), generate electricity and heat. Solar thermal technologies will have an important role to play in decarbonising the UK’s heat supply – a key goal if the country is to achieve a net zero economy.

Energy storage

Energy storage technologies, such as batteries, enable surplus power produced by a solar system to be stored and used later, when it is needed. For example, if a solar PV system on a building’s roof is producing more power than it needs during the day, it can be stored for use at night instead. Heat storage technologies enable the heat produced by a solar thermal system to be used later as well.

The solar industry is an exciting place to be. As the world moves towards net zero, there will be major demand for people to help design, install and manage solar power installations. Solar Energy UK analysis indicates the UK solar industry could employ more than 40,000 people if the UK deploys .

Click on the icons below to find out more about roles in the solar industry.

Research and development are key aspects of the industry, helping to improve existing solar power components and systems as well as design new ones. Research scientists in the solar industry can work, for example, in a university office or laboratory, and spend time in manufacturing facilities with engineers and processing specialists. You will help find ways to make solar power more effective and affordable. These includes developing new materials, methods to enhance conductivity and improve solar cell design thus contributing to global efforts to combat climate change and eliminate fuel poverty.

Researchers working for energy companies also investigate commercial dynamics relating to energy markets. For example, you may be involved in forecasting electricity prices and future energy generation requirements, and developing new business models to reflect these.

Common job titles used by Solar Research Scientists: Physicist, Materials Scientist, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Researcher, Chemical Research Scientist.

Click here to download more information on the educational routes into becoming a solar researcher.

As a Manufacturing Technician, you will provide specialist technical support for engineers, so that organisations can develop, produce and test new and existing products and procedures.

As a Solar Component Manufacturing Technician, you will run and maintain precision equipment during the manufacturing process. You will monitor and report on quality, reduce or eliminate the risk of downtime and document any maintenance needed. You may work with Materials Scientists to test newly developed solar components and contribute to the design team’s findings. You will have a broad range of responsibilities, but you will always work with health and safety as a foremost requirement.

As a Solar System Design Engineer, you will be involved from the start of a project, at the concept stage. You will be involved in the implementation stage too. These projects could be as large as a new solar power plant or as small as a rooftop retrofit on a terraced house. After the design phase, you will be responsible for helping to evaluate a system’s effectiveness, cost, reliability, and safety. You will create and manage engineering drawings, specifications, and designs. You will trouble shoot problems onsite and may adapt designs under field conditions. As a Design Engineer, your time will be split between the office and travelling to sites to work there.

Common job titles used by Solar Power Design Engineers: Civil Engineer, Environmental Engineer, Power Engineer, Renewable Energy Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer.

Click here to download more information on the educational routes into becoming a solar system designer.

The purpose of an Asset Manager is to manage a number of solar assets or installations by ensuring best practice for safety, quality and environmental performance. This maximises the value of each projects, while ensuring it complies with all relevant agreements.  As a Solar Asset Manager, you will be the main contact for all asset management activities carried out and be fully responsible for the management of each asset; this will involve working with the financial management team and other internal personnel. You will be the contact person for all the assets you manage, from the regulators to the customers and everybody in-between. You may manage maintenance schedules, hire contractors to perform maintenance, and ensure the quality and value of the solar installation is maintained.

Common Job titles used by Solar Asset Managers: Asset Manager, Commercial Asset Manager, Technical Asset Manager. 

Click here to download more information on the educational routes into becoming a solar asset manager.

As a Project Manager specialising in solar power, you will be part of the construction management team. You will manage all aspects of your assigned project throughout the project lifecycle, and ensure the project is completed on time and to budget. You will need to be a multitasker and be able to work with everyone on site from the installers and construction workers to the design engineers and property developers. One of your primary responsibilities will be to apply project management techniques to keep the project on time.

Common job titles used by Solar Project Managers are: Civil Engineering Project Manager, Construction Project Manager.

Click here to download more information on the educational routes into becoming a solar project manager.

As a Solar Sales Executive, you will likely be the first point of contact for a potential customer. You will present the best options for installing a solar system to them, whether they be a homeowner or occupier, a public sector organisation, or business. You will need to know some technical information about the solar systems your company installs, and be able to explain the benefits. The role may overlap with the Solar Site Assessor, supporting inspections to make sure a site is viable. You will need great interpersonal skills to communicate with a wide variety of people involved in the project.

Common Job titles used by Solar Sales Executives: Business Development Executive, B2B or B2C Sales executive, Sales Consultant, Sales Specialist, Solar Sales Coordinator.

Click here to download more information on the educational routes into solar sales roles.

Solar PV and thermal Installers are at the heart of the industry. Your job is what many people may think of when talking about solar: setting up and installing solar panels. You will need construction and electrical skills and qualifications to do this safely and correctly, such as connecting a solar system to the local or national electricity network. You will measure, cut, assemble, and bolt structural framing and solar modules, safely attaching panels to roofs or other structures. You will inspect installed equipment to ensure the installation meets all regulatory requirements, and ensure the is safe, works, and fit for purpose.

Common job titles used by Solar PV Installers: PV Installer, Electrician, Installer.

Click here to download more information on the educational routes into becoming a solar installer.

A typical day for a PV or thermal Maintenance Technician or Cleaning Specialist might involve cleaning installed solar panels, using robots and other purpose-built equipment, checking a solar system’s power output, and identifying and rectifying or reporting any faults or problems found. You will be qualified to work with solar installations and will take great care and attention to work safely. You will likely be working on rooftops at some points – so you will need a head for heights – and will travel around different systems in your area.   

Common job titles used by Solar PV Maintenance Technicians: Operations and Maintenance Technician, Ground Maintenance Technician, Roof Maintenance Technician. 

Click here to download more information on the educational routes into become a solar maintenance technician.

Different jobs in solar need different training. For example, residential installers need to understand domestic electricity systems, while design engineers need to be able to use solar software to develop systems that meet specific financial and performance requirements. Business development and sales leads need to be able to explain to potential clients how a solar system can help reduce costs and carbon emissions.

Each section below links to a database with a variety of relevant apprenticeship and other training courses and material. These can be used to understand the skills that can be acquired through formal learning programmes.

Note that the databases are comprehensive and include a variety of information relating to different versions of, for example, apprenticeships. It may be helpful to discuss specific qualifications and your training needs with a careers service or potential employer.

Solar Energy UK will update each database on a rolling basis. If you have information you would like to be included, please contact [email protected]

The Standards & Curriculums database provides information on the wide range of qualifications available in the solar sector for different roles.

Please note – you don’t need all of these qualifications! Rather they are a list of some of the courses and qualifications available that you might be interested in.

Solar Energy UK will update this database on a rolling basis. If there are standards which you would like to be included, please contact [email protected].

Solar and other energy companies can provide training on specific products and topics. For example, they may run courses on how to design a rooftop solar system, or how to install a particular type of equipment.

The manufacturer and solar company training resources database provides information on resources such as technical specifications available in the public domain from relevant companies. Browse through to see examples of installation guides, product descriptions and other training materials you might work with in the solar sector.

Solar Energy UK will update this database on a rolling basis. If you have training material which you would like to be included, please contact [email protected]

The solar qualifications database lists the names of various qualifications, the training body which provides it, and assessment methods.

Please note – you don’t need all of these qualifications! Rather they are a list of some of the qualifications available that you might be interested in.

To find out what qualifications you need for the different roles in solar visit the ‘careers in solar’ tab.

 

Please check back in future for more information on upcoming events relating to careers in the solar industry.

Click on the links to see the latest solar jobs available in London and around the UK. A LinkedIn search page will open in a new tab. We encourage anyone considering a career in solar to regularly check the websites of Solar Energy UK’s members which can be found at this directory.

We will continue to expand this section to provide further access to skills and recruitment boards.

For best compatibility, view this page in Chrome on a desktop browser.

Please note that the information contained on this page is accurate to the best of Solar Energy UK’s knowledge. Solar Energy UK welcomes additional information and will aim to update any errors or omissions.