In an era where the US solar industry is projected to double its installations by 2035, the demand for skilled professionals is skyrocketing. This growth is not just a testament to technological advancements but also highlights the crucial role of talent in powering the solar sector forward.

Securing the best talent is paramount for the success of your next solar project.

Our guide delves into innovative strategies beyond traditional job boards, offering insights into how you can attract, hire, and retain the finest solar professionals in this competitive landscape.

Beyond Job Boards: 4 Unconventional Sourcing Strategies

1. Industry Events:

Networking at solar energy conferences, trade shows, and workshops, such as those organized by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or Intersolar North America, can connect you with a concentrated pool of potential hires.

2. Solar-Specific Online Communities:

Platforms with sector-specific communities like SolarReviews and Solar Energy International are where solar professionals gather. By engaging in these communities, you can target skilled individuals directly and highlight your company culture, making your firm more attractive to potential candidates.

3. University Partnerships:

Building relationships with universities and technical schools that boast strong renewable energy programs can be a game-changer. Offering internships or sponsoring student events can help you tap into the next generation of solar talent early on.

Key Universities in the US to consider are:

Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO):

Offers a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Renewable Energy, and a Master of Engineering in Renewable Energy Systems Engineering.

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ):

Houses the School of Earth and Space Exploration with a robust undergraduate program in Sustainable Energy Engineering and a Master of Science in Sustainable Solutions.

University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA):

Home to the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Specialization within the Environmental Engineering program. They also offer a Master of Engineering in Energy & Controls.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA):

MIT’s Energy Studies program offers a Master of Science in Engineering with a focus on Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy.

Stanford University (Stanford, CA):

Stanford’s Energy Resources Engineering program offers a Master of Science in Energy Science & Technology with a specialization in Photovoltaics and Solar Energy.

4. Niche Solar Recruitment Solutions:

Often the best talent is not actively looking for new opportunities, they are excelling in their current role (so why move!).

Specialized solar recruiters like ourselves at Executive Integrity know where to find these individuals, understand the niche skills required in the industry, and can help you navigate the competitive US solar talent landscape effectively.

Targeting “Unicorn” Solar Candidates: 4 Skills in High Demand

1. NABCEP Certifications:

Professionals holding certifications from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) are often seen as the gold standard, especially for installer roles. While not always mandatory, these certifications signal a commitment to quality and adherence to industry standards.

2. Laser Focused Solar Specialization Within Roles:

The solar industry values deep expertise. For instance, an electrical engineer with a focus on solar power conversion or battery storage integration brings specialized knowledge that can significantly benefit your current and future solar projects.

3. Data-Driven Problem Solvers:

Talent with a proficiency in analyzing solar data and translating it into actionable insights is becoming increasingly more important. Candidates who are comfortable with data analysis tools and possess a passion for optimizing project performance are invaluable to project success.

4. Building Information Modeling (BIM) Proficiency:

As BIM technology revolutionizes solar project planning and design, candidates experienced in solar-specific BIM software become increasingly crucial for forward-thinking projects.

Beyond the Resume: 3 Ways To Assess for Success

1. Skill-Based Assessments:

Supplement traditional resumes with practical tests that gauge a solar candidate’s technical knowledge and problem-solving skills.

At Executive Integrity, we utilised McQuaig Psychometric and Behavioural testing to analyse how candidates will perform in the role before our client’s interview! We also have each candidate conduct video key competency-based questions to ensure they are a job-fit.

2. Portfolio Reviews:

For roles like Solar Installers, reviewing portfolios of past work can offer insights into a candidate’s experience level, attention to detail, and adherence to safety standards.

This can be separate to their resume, so it is crucial to request this pre-interview to save time and optimise your screening process.

3. Behavioral Interviewing:

Understanding how a candidate has navigated past challenges can be as important as their technical skills. Behavioural interviewing techniques can reveal insights into their problem-solving approach, communication style, and teamwork abilities.

This can help to see past whether they can simply ‘do the job’, and uncover how well they will align with your culture, values, and expectations for the perfect employee.

In Summary…

Implementing these strategic approaches to hiring can help you attract the top talent necessary for your solar projects to thrive. By following these guidelines and insights, you’re not just filling positions; you’re investing in the future of your projects and the broader solar industry.

Ready to lead your next solar project to success with a team that shines as bright as the energy source they’re harnessing?

Do you need recruitment support?

Contact us today to optimise your recruitment strategy!

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