Rooftop, Solar

Listen Up: Finding an Experienced and Certified Solar Contractor

Every residential solar contractor’s website talks about their experience, knowledge of rooftop solar products, and happy customers (full disclosure: including mine). Although many states have licensing requirements for contractors, some of these requirements are not specific to rooftop solar work. So how can you find out if a solar contractor really has the right training for the surgery necessary on your roof?

To address this training and certification need, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practioners, or NABCEP, was founded in 2002. Since then they have trained thousands of solar PV and solar thermal installers, as well as solar PV salespeople. In order to become certified, a solar installer or salesperson must document the experience they have, and then must pass a rigorous examination specific to their certification category. As a result of these requirements — and the reputation that NABCEP has built over the past dozen years — NABCEP Certification is now considered the “gold standard” for solar training. 

My guest on this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is Richard Lawrence, Executive Director of NABCEP. With the rapid growth in the U.S. solar industry, Richard has been quite busy keeping up with the training needs that individuals and companies require — and homeowners often demand. Please Listen Up as Richard explains how new entrants into the solar industry can become certified by NABCEP, and how NABCEP is keeping up with new solar technologies, building codes and safety requirements.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone. Credit: Shutterstock.