In response to hundreds of projected new, well-paid, local jobs for photovoltaic solar panel installers, inspectors, technicians and business development specialists, launched a Solar Energy Technician program in fall of 2009.  Two classes will be held at the Roseville Gateway campus located in Roseville, CA and one class will be held at the  the NCC campus, located in Grass Valley, CA. The first class is Beginning Photovoltaic Systems (ESS 30) found under Environmental Studies & Sustainability (ESS).

Whether you need one course or a certificate to advance your career, or you want to enter the field, Sierra College can train you. With business partners in construction, the energy industry and electrical utilities, Sierra College designed practical hands-on coursework and labs that reflect the skills industry seeks. Graduates will be positioned to take advantage of this growth industry. Learn more below.

What is Photovoltaic?

Solar energy (photovoltaic) is a clean, reliable, and affordable source of electricity. Photovoltaic technology makes use of the sun’s plentiful energy, has low impact on the environment and can be used in a wide range of products from small consumer items to large commercial solar electric systems.

Is this program right for you?

If you have worked in construction, and like hands-on work, this program will give you more marketable skills taught in applied learning labs.

If you enjoyed ROP Automotive or Construction, this program may appeal to you. Students who like to work on their cars, design projects, tinker with equipment, use hand tools and take things apart to see how they work, may find they really have an aptitude to be a solar energy technician.

Men and women who are good at problem solving, thinking about how a system works and enjoy working with their hands may excel as solar energy technicians.

In the program, you will learn essential safety skills, construction skills, and the fundamentals of photovoltaic system installation and maintenance. The training will qualify you to work for photovoltaic companies, home builders, government and electric utility companies.

You need to be comfortable working with electricity; students work with AC generators, invertors, batteries and wiring. Basic math is also needed for conducting site assessment, energy audits and designing appropriately sized systems. On the job, you’ll work with power tools, climb on roofs, carry equipment, use meters and work alongside other trades.

Technicians work in the field at building sites, commercial buildings and customers’ homes as well as in the office estimating, designing, assembling and building systems.

What is the Solar Technician coursework?

The program offers a three course sequence ESS 30, 32 & 34 which will cover everything from the various basics of electricity, construction and safety up through site analysis, system design and implementation.

How can students be updated? 

Keep checking back to the blog on this website for updates to the program.

What are the career opportunities in Solar Energy?

The California Solar Initiative, approved on January 12, 2006, created a $3.3 billion ten-year program to put solar panels on a million roofs in the state. Utility rebates are also encouraging solar panel installations.  Employment in the solar installation industry must grow by 30% each year to meet anticipated demand. Learn more from these links:

Who are Sierra College’s solar industry partners?

Go to the industry tab.

Where can I learn more?

What do I need to do if I’m interested in becoming an instructor for the program?

Please fill out a Part-Time Faculty application located on the Personnel web page located here and submit it to the Personnel office on the Rocklin campus.  Please indicate “Solar Energy Systems Program” as the position you are applying for and as specify at which campus location(s) you are available to teach.

How was this program funded?

Sierra College was awarded $468,000 in Industry Driven Regional Collaboratives (IDRC) funding by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to develop a Solar Energy Technician program.

Press Releases