Stock Groups

Earning $100k as a solar panel installer in New Jersey


Ricky Gass is 25 and has worked almost every job imaginable. He was in the Warehouse of Restoration Hardware, he served coffee at Dunkin Donuts, as well as being a Cashier at Family Dollar. 

I’ve had at least twelve jobs. Some of them I was able to work for just a few hours, others for months, and some for years. You realize that you are not worth it. “And that day is when you go,” he said. You realize that nobody is interested in you. You don’t have to call the police to tell them what’s happening with your child. However, I am capable of what I do and I quit every job that made me feel like this. 

This feeling was a result of stocking shelves at Toys R Us for $7.25 per hour.

He was also working for Family Dollar when his first child, Kamilla was born in 2017.

Kamilla was my first child and I went to work the day after. Because my pay would not be as good, I was unable to take any days off. He says that even though I’d just given birth to my child, it was impossible to stay home and care for her as I needed to return to work. “At that time, I was certain that I did not want to continue working in retail because of the lack of any benefits or other things that could be expected.

Today, Gass lives in Linden, New Jersey and earns roughly $100,000 per year as a solar panel installer — a job he has no plans of leaving. 

Finding the right job

Gass was the middle child among five siblings. His family lived in Newark, New Jersey, and Gass claims it was very cramped. Later, his family relocated to Linden. He and his siblings went to Linden High School. 

I was an excellent student. It’s been a passion of mine to learn. He admits that I have been a bit of a class clown. “I graduated from high school in 2014. I was determined to do something different. It was clear that I desired a great job, but I wasn’t sure how I could get there. After high school, I felt really lost because I did not have a plan.

Gass went to college, but he was struggling with mental illness. This led him into a dispute with police officers and a stay in an inpatient hospital. Gass had difficulty finding consistent, meaningful work for 2017, so he decided to enroll in the University of Texas at Austin. Job CorpsEdison’s trade school.

I was fleeing from my past. He says he was fleeing complacency and laziness. I was running away from so many things that I decided to put all of my effort and energy into school.

Gass was a mentor to other students at trade schools, worked as a cleaner and played the drums in his church. His teacher suggested that he investigate. GAF Roofing AcademyParsippany (New Jersey) – A free training program

The tuition-free program began in February 2020. In May 2020, he started full-time employment as a Solar Landscaping panel installer. 

GAF Roofing Academy helped him acquire the tools he needed, earned his required certificates, and connected him to employment opportunities. 

Working for a day

The solar panel installation company places, secures and connects racks of solar cells to rooftops that absorb the sun’s rays. You can store this energy and use it to power your homes or buildings. The energy generated by is approximately equal to that of a project that uses more than 1 megawatt. 10 car enginesInstallers make $65 an hour. Installers are typically paid close to $22 an hour for smaller jobs.

Gass says that there are three main steps to installing a gasser. Gass explains that to properly install, these are the little feet you need on the bottom. [the panels]They won’t scratch your roof. And then you have to actually drill the screws into where you connect all the pieces together… Negative and positive [panels] plug into optimizers. So [last]It is as easy as plugging positive and negative together, and positive with negative.

Gass works from Monday through Friday. He “never” does weekends. But he does start his days quite early. He rises at 5:45 a.m. to drive 90 minutes to the headquarters. A typical day begins between 6:30 and 6:30 am with a meeting in the morning where team members learn about their projects. 

Gass says that “if we’re working on solar panel projects, we’re probably all working together.” However, if we’re working together on wire management and racking systems then that is a more solo job.

Gass says that he can enjoy more family time, even though work ends around 2:30 p.m.

“One of my first jobs, I did 11,000 roof panels,” he recalls. “Physically, you’ve got to be ready…. You’ll often be lifting bricks or panels and lifting various types of wire, as well as other equipment. While you don’t have to be strong, it is important to have the right tools.

Gass states that “your technique is far more important than your actual job.” Gass says that if your technique is good and your training methods are well-developed, then the hard part of physical labor will not be as difficult. Technique is what it’s all about.

The worst day of his job was when he had to deal with minus-10 degrees in winter. 30-mile-an-hour winds. 

My hands were so numb that I could not move them. Gass comments, “My feet were so numb that I couldn’t move my toes,” We tried several hand warmers but nothing worked. It didn’t take three jackets to get through the day. However, we made it through the day.

Un paycheck that has “changed everything.”