The path to becoming a solar installer in Australia is not an easy one. This is largely because of the stringent requirements to get the appropriate licenses that lead to a solar panel installer certification.
The problem does not really end at this point as the process of solar certification can be a bit complicated at times. For example, depending on what the solar panels are going to be connected to, there may be other legislation required to perform specialist work. This will require the acquisition of a separate license. Just like other professionals in Australia, electricians need to be properly licensed prior to extending any type of electrical service.
In Queensland for example, a qualified electrician needs to also be certified with a solar install and design accreditation. We spoke with Kosta from Brisbane Solar Needs about the licensing required for solar panel installers. His company installs solar panels all around Brisbane, but focused on the south-side of the city around Sunnybank Hills, Springwood, Eight Mile Plains and Runcorn. He informed us that while the solar install accreditation was a much easier to attain than the initial trade certification as an electrician, the course still taught him a lot and was quite involving.
Laws vary from state to state. Presently, every Australian territory has its respective system with regard to providing occupational licenses. A professional license issued in Western Australia, for instance, is only valid in that state and will not necessarily be applicable in other regions.
This can pose a number of problems to many Australian skilled workers especially if they have plans of moving to a different city. Simply put, if they opt to find jobs in another Australian state, they will be required to secure a second license.
Needless to say, if you are thinking of becoming a solar panel installer in Australia the process will not be a walk in the park. This has little to do with the availability of jobs, but more of getting adequately certified, a process often delayed due to government red tape.
Nevertheless, a measure is currently being pushed by Australian authorities which should effectively address the issue. Officially referred to as NOLS or the National Occupational Licensing System, the initiative seeks to introduce a single certification for all Australian workers that will allow them to find the appropriate jobs anywhere within the region without worrying about securing additional licenses.
This is one piece of good news for many Australian solar panel installers. For starters, the costs and paperwork involved in getting several licenses for works inclusive of a given solar panel installation job will be reduced significantly. This may however cause problems in some areas which lure in installers from interstate, creating an oversupply and pushing down costs in the area.
Overall however, a consolidated licensing system should eventually help prevent cases of undue delay in getting to process various Australian government documents. This should lead to a faster and smoother workflow in related government offices in Australia.
Victorian legislators have already introduced the bill seeking to make NOLS an official Australian law. Several other states are expected to follow suit; unfortunately, some territories have still yet to. Until this happens across the entire country, the process of becoming a solar panel installer will unfortunately remain to be a slow and complex one.