The renewable energy sector, particularly the photovoltaic (PV) industry, is experiencing exponential growth. In 2023 alone, the solar workforce in the EU increased by 39%, with projections indicating that this number could reach 1 million by 2025.

Given the rapid expansion of the energy sector globally, it’s highly likely that you might find yourself interviewing for a position in a PV company soon, if you haven’t already. This article aims to guide you through the essential aspects of joining the PV industry and what to expect during the job interview process.

General Idea of the PV Industry

The PV industry is characterized by its dynamic nature, influenced by global events, fluctuating supply chains, changing regulations, and evolving technologies. As you consider entering this field, be prepared for a fast-paced environment where adaptability is key.

Due to its rapid growth, the industry often experiences a high workload, demanding a lot from existing specialists. As a new team member, expect to be actively involved from the start, with ongoing learning and adaptation being part of your daily routine.

In this industry, companies often scout for talent from competitors or other sectors, offering attractive packages. As a potential candidate, you may find yourself in a favorable position to negotiate with a condition you have a good market understanding.

If you excel in your niche, whether as an engineer, manager, sales representative, or project manager, there are significant opportunities to prosper. But remember, top performance is expected, so assess your capabilities realistically to avoid disappointment and negative reputation.

Key Questions During a PV Job Interview

We won’t go into a full list of regular job interview, but here are some specific questions which you will probably be asked during the interview at a PV company for a white-collar job position.

What is your experience in PV? When asked about your PV experience, be honest about your areas of expertise. Even if you are very experienced in PV field, recognize that it’s impossible to know everything; focus on where you aim to develop in the future for the applied job role. This approach helps align expectations with potential employers and prevents future disappointments. If you are fresh in the field, that’s fine. Most of the candidates do not have enough experience for the position, because the market is expanding rapidly and there is a natural lack of specialists. You should be offered the onboarding process and/or relevant training.

What are the latest trends in PV industry? What is driving the market? With such a question they are checking how good you know the market (or how much effort you put into the research before you came to the interview). Want to make an impression and be able to professionally discuss the topic? Check out this course

Can you work under pressure? What is your personal stress coping strategy? Give an example. This question about handling tough conditions is standard, but it’s particularly relevant in the PV industry. Answer honestly for the interviewer and more importantly, to yourself, as this will set realistic expectations for your daily routine.

Are you a constant learner? Given the constant changes in the PV industry, showing a willingness to learn new things is crucial. This trait is highly valued by employers because this helps to survive the dynamic environment. In the PV industry sometimes even the 6-month knowledge can be outdated.

Tell us about a time when you had to quickly learn a new technology or skill. How did you approach this challenge? This question can help not only to know your personality better, but also better adapt the learning experience for you later in the process and decide how well you fit into company’s processes or culture.

Give an example of a complex problem you solved in a previous role. How would you apply similar problem-solving skills in the PV industry? Note that challenges in PV industry is constant. It can be an unexpected supply chain disturbance, errors made by your team members or a technical claim costing hundreds of thousands, you name it. The market needs people to have problem solving skills.

Describe a situation where you had to work as part of a team in an unfamiliar field. How did you contribute? PV companies regularly enter new niche markets, so the teams operate in partially unknown fields and must work closely to achieve good results. Think about your contribution in such an environment.

Can you give an example of how you have brought a new idea to life in your previous job? How do you think innovation is important in the PV industry? If you want to grow in the industry, earlier or later you will face a necessity to contribute to whether new product/business model development, or business automation empowering AI and other latest technologies. This means PV people have to be not only creative but also able to bring new ideas to life.

Where do you see the PV industry heading in the next decade, and how do you see yourself being a part of that growth? Entering the PV industry often leads to a long-term career, driven by the industry’s continuous expansion and the wealth of opportunities it presents. Such question is very natural in the PV field revealing your ambitions and commitment.

What does the employer expect from you?

Work Ethic: Be prepared to work hard and provide agreed results. The industry is very competitive, and there’s a constant demand for skilled professionals, meaning the current specialists can be overloaded at times.

Agility and Technological Savvy: Employers value fast decision-making and a keen interest in technology, as these are crucial in a rapidly evolving industry.

Motivation and Detail Orientation: A drive for personal and professional growth and a thorough approach to your work are essential. Small mistakes can have significant consequences in energy generation and payback periods, so a high internal quality bar is crucial.

Before You Sign the Agreement

Understanding Expectations: Clarify what results are expected of you. For example, if you apply for a sales position, this could include sales targets, market segments, and geographical areas. Utilize your personal network of people working in PV industry or use social media like LinkedIn groups, to gauge if determined job expectations and targets are realistic.

Training and Development: Check if the company invests in employee training necessary for your professional growth, as this will be crucial for your results and success.

Sustainability: Research the company’s commitment to sustainability as it becomes one of few top priorities for renewable energy companies to stay competitive in the market.

Reputation: Research how company is handling claims. Do they have the internal process of solving claims? What is the process and customer approach? Negative reviews in the market can be a red flag and you should carefully consider associating yourself with such a company.

Benefits of Working in the PV Industry

The PV industry is filled with individuals dedicated to making a positive impact on the world. Joining this huge community of bright minded people can help you to open new horizons in personal and professional life.

Furthermore working in renewable energy sector you directly contribute to sustainable energy solutions, aligning with global environmental goals and climate crisis management.

The industry offers vast opportunities for personal and professional growth. Embarking on a career in this sector and acquiring the essential knowledge, coupled with a readiness for ongoing professional development, ensures a lifelong employment opportunity within the industry.

Working in the PV industry can be highly rewarding. To enhance your credibility and knowledge in this field, consider participating in specialized courses designed for PV decision-makers and those who are willing to boost their career. This comprehensive course not only provide international CPD certification but also connects you with a network of experts through the closed alumni group on LinkedIn.

Julija Kaladžinskaitė

10 years of experience in solar industry, including PV module sales throughout Europe, project management, and development of building integrated PV solutions.

http://solarexplain.eu

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