The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) said it has received overwhelming support for its national certification exam. The exam is intended for those who install solar panels – or photovoltaics (PV) on residential and commercial buildings.Malta, New York – August 13, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] In response to the initial call for applicants, NABCEP has received nearly 100 applications from individuals in 30 states across the country. The first exam is to be administered on October 25th at a number of testing nationwide. “Applications were received by just about every region in the country,” reports Pete Sheehan, NABCEP’s Executive Director. The Northeast and the West were the top regions for applicants – 39 percent of applicants are from the Northeast and 30 percent are from the West. Eleven percent of the applications were received from the Midwest; seven percent from the Mid Atlantic region; eight percent from the Southwest; and five percent from the Southeast.” NABCEP is a nationally-recognized credentialing non-profit organization formed to set competency standards for professional practitioners in the fields of renewable and sustainable energy. By certifying those who demonstrate knowledge, skills and experience in key aspects of PV installation, NABCEP encourages involvement by proven installers and increases the overall quality of PV systems. These aspects include; identification of hazards, conducting proper site assessments, selecting an appropriate system design, among others. “I am thrilled at the number of applications we have received for this first round of PV installer certification exams.” said Ezra Auerbach Chairperson of NABCEP. He went on to say, “The growth of a certified professional workforce will lead to a more consistently high standard of PV system installation which, in turn will lead to more satisfied consumers of renewable energy systems. Ultimately this will move renewables further into the mainstream of our energy mix.” NABCEP is using a consensus-building process to develop certification for PV installers, soliciting public comment and experts’ input into proposed standards, task analyses, and process documents. The organization recently completed a two-year consensus-based process to develop certification for PV installers. Over this time public comment and experts’ views into proposed standards, task analyses, and process documents was sought. The resulting PV Installer certification reflects the input of a wide variety of stakeholders including; PV installers, manufacturers, electrical trades, educators, state and local governments. As a result, NABCEP believes its program is a balanced and fair approach to certifying those with varying backgrounds and levels of experience. The NABCEP office is already receiving inquiries about the date of the next round of PV installer examinations. They will take place in April of 2004. Applications for the next round of exams will be release in mid November of this year.