What Does a Renewable Energy Consultant Do?

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If you have ever wondered how to become a solar energy consultant but never tried to make it your career, now is a great time to finally take that leap of faith.

These are exciting times for the renewable energy industry. IN fact, a greater number of people around the world are concerned about climate change and want to keep it from getting worse. One of the ways such a widespread mindset shift got put into action was when companies came up with various strategies to manage their energy costs. Those include using energy-efficient lighting, powering down their equipment, and of course, installing solar panels in their facilities. Others sought such strategies, resulting in a significant solar workforce increase.

Before you spruce up your resume and start looking for solar energy consultant work or establish your very own solar energy consulting firm, you need to know what being a renewable energy consultant is all about. There is plenty you need to get your head around. Aside from everything the job entails, there are also the skills you need to master to perform well at it. 

To provide you with the best chance at understanding how to become a certified energy consultant, here is a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know.

Renewable Energy Consultant Job Description

As a renewable energy consultant, you are responsible for investigating, understanding, and overseeing the installation of your clients’ renewable energy systems. Your purpose is to make your clients work more efficiently, while reducing their costs and mitigating any adverse effects the energy resource may have on the environment.

For instance, you could be hired to study the energy sources your client uses across all their facilities and to then determine whether an alternative energy source, such as wind or solar, would be a better option.

Tasks Typically Given to Renewable Energy Consultants

  • Determining the energy consumed by your clients by performing on-site building assessments
  • Analyzing the available data to compare their current and historical energy usage rates
  • Reviewing forecasting reports and trends
  • Making actionable, easy-to-understand energy usage audit reports
  • Researching the most appropriate renewable energy-saving alternatives
  • Assessing alternative energy companies for partnership
  • Presenting recommendations that clearly describe the cost and implementation of alternative or renewable energy systems, and addressing any concerns they may have
  • Requesting proposals from renewable energy equipment providers, vendors, and other contractors
  • Overseeing the installation or upgrade of their energy systems
  • Keeping track of their consumption rates and budgets to make sure they meet all the key performance indicators
  • Updating energy systems policies and procedures if needed
  • Being up-to-date on emerging renewable energy technology, related government regulations, and federal grants

Skills Needed as a Renewable Energy Consultant

As you might have already figured out on your own by going over the typical tasks of renewable energy consultants, you need to have more than a few skills to be an effective one. But there are three that practically guarantee that you could be a great one if you truly hone on them:

Extensive Knowledge of Renewable Energy

That probably goes without saying, but what does having extensive knowledge of renewable energy exactly mean when you are a renewable energy consultant?

For starters, you need to have the right degree of education on all the renewable energy sources out there, which includes knowing the practical application and the unique advantages and challenges of each.

Next, you should have a firm grasp on how the federal, state and local laws can affect the energy solution your client chooses to adopt, and if there are any monetary advantages of making such a choice, like grants.

While your job title states you are a renewable energy consultant, your clients see you as a renewable energy expert, so make sure you live up to their expectations by continually learning as much as you can about your field.

Sharp Data Analysis Abilities

You will be required to analyze and evaluate alternative energy technology from many different sources of data. Doing so helps your clients make important decisions from these patterns and trends. The data could further be used to implement the best renewable energy systems for them. That means pouring over large sets of data using database software like Excel or SQL to come up with reports and then presenting your findings to them. Therefore, make sure you polish up on your statistics and accounting principles!

Effective Communication

Given that you will be making reports on how sustainable energy technologies work, summarizing their results, presenting your findings to your clients, and coming up with proposals for vendors on their behalf on a regular basis, you need to be able to communicate with all the constituents involved effectively. 

Steps to Become a Renewable Energy Consultant

To become a renewable energy consultant, there are four entry points you can choose from:

Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Renewable Energy Management

This is the entry point most aspiring renewable energy consultants choose, since it is the most properational and provides for a throughout foundation and training in the field. Here, you will be able to take classes to learn about the many different types of alternative energy sources and will be provided with technical instruction, enabling you to build the necessary foundation of math and science, critical analysis, and communication you will need to build a successful career.

Get a Master’s or Doctoral Degree

Choosing to do so not only provides you with  more advanced knowledge of the best renewable energy management practices and a better understanding of the environmental laws and regulations, but it also opens up more career options, like being able to work on government programs, teach, or set up your very own consulting firm.

Take an Online Degree Program

Thanks to rapid technological progress, you can sign up for an online renewable energy management degree that lets you gain the knowledge you need to become a renewable energy consultant regardless of where you live.

Get Certified

While there are many certification programs available to aspiring energy professionals, there are two focused on renewable energy and which are highly regarded by both prospective employers and clients:

Renewable Energy Professional (REP™) Certification. This certification will show your expertise and experience in specifying and applying renewable and alternative energy technology, assessing renewable energy projects, and developing achievable sustainability goals for your employer or clients.

LEED Green Associate. This certification proves that you are proficient in sustainable design, construction, and operations.

If you plan on specializing in a certain type of alternative energy, you first need to get certified in it in order to get work that is related to it. Say you want to audit and analyze residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. To get such work, consider getting a Building Energy Assessment Professional Certification from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Perks of Working as a Renewable Energy Consultant

Now that you know more about how to become a solar energy consultant, you may be curious about the perks of the profession. In case you are having second thoughts, here are the perks you will enjoy once you make it:

Lots of flexibility and freedom. Being a consultant lets you choose the clients you want to work for, giving you the option that not all professionals have of working as much or as little as you want.

Work finds you. If you manage to become known as the go-to renewable energy consultant in your locale, clients will reach out to work with you, so you will not have to spend much time and effort looking for work.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to how much you could earn. The more you work, the more you will be able to make.

Final Thoughts

While many dream about it, most have no idea how to become a solar energy consultant, effectively making them lose out on achieving their goal. With all the information that we have provided here, you now have the best possible chance of making it in the solar energy field! Check out theproche.com to learn even more about renewable energy, the renewable energy industry, and becoming a renewable energy professional.