After Ricky Gass Went To Jail, He Learned A New Trade That'll Earn Him $100K This Year — 'I Just Wanted To Change My Life'
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After Ricky Gass Went To Jail, He Learned A New Trade That'll Earn Him $100K This Year — 'I Just Wanted To Change My Life'

You might not think that a solar panel installer can make a six-figure salary. But Ricky Gass of Linden, NJ, is proving that he’s the exception to the rule.

In an interview with CNBC, Gas explained that he’s on track to six figures thanks to his varying rates. The prevailing rate for someone like him is $22/hour, but depending on the job, he can command as much as $65/hour. What’s more, he said, he is on target to make $100,000 this year if things continue going according to plan.

“By state, by state law, if it’s over one megawatt, it has to be prevailing wage. The amount of panels that we’re getting ready to do is over one megawatt, it’s automatically prevailing wage. The jobs that we take that are under one megawatt are considered non-rate, which is $22 an hour. Prevailing wages is $65 when non-rate is $22,” he explained to the outlet.

As a certified solar roof installer, Gass said that he was pleased to be in a position where he felt like he was “really helping people.” He’s held the position for about two years and said that it’s enabled him to take care of his family.

“I knew I wanted to have a good job when I got out of high school,” he explained. “But I just didn’t know how to get it.”

But it was a tragedy that turned Gass’s story into a testimony. After serving 55 days in jail for simple assault on a police officer, he returned to a trade school and learned how to be a solar roof installer.

“I just wanted to change my life. I was running from my past,” he told CNBC. I was running from a lot of things. So I just put my energy and effort into school.”

And, it seems to be working out for him.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions reports that the renewable energy industry is growing year over year, and is considered the fastest-growing energy source in the United States. With such wonderful odds, it’s clear that future solar roof installers and other solar industry professionals can expect a bright one like the one Ricky Gass has made for himself.

What does the average solar panel installer make?

Ricky Gass is definitely an outlier in the industry — at least for now. According to Indeed, the average solar panel installer in the Greater New York area can expect an “average base salary” of $19.37 per hour.