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Entry-Level Solar PV Certification Program

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) launched its newest program, the NABCEP Photovoltaic (PV) Entry Level Certificate of Knowledge. As its name suggests, the certificate attests to the holder's basic knowledge of solar PV applications and an entry-level knowledge of installation procedures. This offers a different certification option to NABCEP's more stringent PV installer certification programs.

"As the market grows for photovoltaics, students holding this industry-sponsored Entry Level Certificate could find that their job opportunities are enhanced," said Don Loweburg, Chair of the NABCEP Board of Directors. NABCEP is working to develop national, credentialing and certifications for renewable energy professionals and they began that work by creating a certification program for solar electric installers. The entry level certificate offers a different, more broadly-accessible certification. The new entry level certificate is designed for students and other interested individuals with little or no experience in the solar field who wish to learn more and demonstrate knowledge about the basic concepts of photovoltaic (solar electric) system operations. Although the entry level certificate does not qualify an individual to install PV systems, it shows that the student has achieved basic knowledge, comprehension, and application of key terms and concepts of photovoltaic (solar electric) system operations. NABCEP plans to introduce and offer this program through a variety of venues. This includes accredited colleges and universities, community colleges, vocational-technical institutes, the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee or U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeship programs, and training programs accredited by the Institute for Sustainable Power or similar accrediting organizations. "This program is a great opportunity for students to get their foot in the door to a growing industry where they may not otherwise have the resources to do so," said Pete Sheehan, Executive Director of NABCEP. "It should create a more knowledgeable workforce for those looking to employ workers in the PV installation industry." The first exam for the Entry Level Certificate will be ready for administration by June 1, 2005. For more information and about the Entry Level Certificate of Knowledge and NABCEP's other program information, see the NABCEP link below.

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