What is a Renewable Energy Consultant?

A renewable energy consultant is a professional who works in the solar, wind or thermal power industry. They are usually detail-oriented leaders who are highly proficient in the field, science and technology of renewable energy. They draw on their technical expertise to help companies and individuals explore, understand and install renewable energy systems. They may work as consultants with state Departments of Energy, global corporations that promote sustainability and private engineering firms.

Work Responsibilities

Renewable energy consultants conduct technical reviews, maintain systems and implement procedures to support energy efficiency solutions and load management programs, according to the US Department of Energy. They maintain effective relationships with technical support teams, inside and outsides sales staff and energy program management. Their goal is to facilitate smooth communication, integrate work activities and ensure the successful delivery of installations for customers. Renewable energy consultants may personally visit the client’s home or business to provide technical guidance, product support and sustainability coaching to share knowledge and increase understanding of renewable energy programs and services. For example, a renewable energy consultant who works for a public utility company may visit businesses to encourage them to adopt renewable energy programs, products or services. They must then oversee the utilization of internal and external resources to deliver customized renewable energy solutions that deliver the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

Career Possibilities

Some renewable energy consultants primarily work out of consulting offices offering technical advice and project management assistance. For example, they may be asked to help a nation-wide company incorporate renewable energy solutions into business operations. These renewable energy consultants will order technical studies, elicit operational reports and request commissioning analysis to develop the right proposals for renewable sources. Once the client accepts the proposal, they must reach out to external vendors, contractors and equipment consultants to establish contractual agreements and service level agreements. This will require them to first establish adherence expectations, performance standards and target outcomes. They may use financial systems to track energy, costs, budgets and consumption in order to ensure the project meets the client’s financial limitations. These renewable energy consultants will help their clients update and implement policies and procedures that ensure the delivery of the highest quality customer service in the most cost-effective manners.

Core Competencies

Renewable energy consultants will mostly deal with enterprise-wide projects that can either save or waste the client’s money. Consequently, they must know how to analyze and evaluate renewable electric and gas technologies from a wide range of data sources to identify different risks, factors and scenarios that may impact the project. They must have the communication skills in order to successfully deliver strategies to executives for integrating expensive renewable energy efficient technologies. Renewable energy consultants should have a bachelor’s degree in electrical, mechanical, construction or energy systems engineering. They may also have a related business or technical degree with at least three to four years of professional consulting experience. Either way, they must know how to quickly draw up technical specs to present to senior management. These specs will define renewable energy, load management, technology implementation and cost saving strategies to enhance business performance.

Related Resource: What is an Energy Analyst?

Renewable energy consultants must have the ability to interpret data and analyze relationships among complex problems in order to clearly articulate findings, anticipates obstacle and suggest sensible solutions. They should also have a working knowledge of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.