National Solar PV Installer Certification Moves Ahead

As solar photovoltaic (PV) projects become increasingly popular throughout the United States, the need for national standards and certifications for installers has become apparent to many in the industry. North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is chief among these efforts. The organization is gradually building their certification program, having recently announced the overall results of its September 18, 2004 Solar PV Installer Certification exam, and reflecting on their current progress.

The exam was administered to 81 candidates in 21 sites across the U.S. and resulted in 37 new NABCEP certified solar PV installers. This brings the total number of NABCEP certified installers in the U.S. up to 143 in 30 states. Prior to sitting for the exam, NABCEP applicants must first demonstrate they possess the required PV installation skill and experience. This is done through completion of the NABCEP application form. The number of applicants who decided to participate in the application process and were formally approved to sit for the exam increased by 11 percent from the last exam administration, April of 2004. The NABCEP board of directors said they were very encouraged by this increase because it demonstrates the importance that PV installers place upon certification for a variety of reasons. “It’s wonderful to see NABCEP Certified PV Installers proudly displaying their logos in advertising and at trade shows,” NABCEP Board Chair Ezra Auerbach. “The ongoing interest in becoming certified coupled with the exam’s growing reputation for being fair and tough shows the credibility and respect that NABCEP is garnering.” The NABCEP exam is built around its Task Analysis document which defines the general set of knowledge, skills and abilities typically required of practitioners who install and maintain PV systems. Those who design curricula and training programs for PV systems are increasingly using this standard-setting document as the foundation for their programs, according to NABCEP Executive Director Pete Sheehan. “One of the goals in designing our Solar PV certification program was to facilitate the PV industry’s coalescence around a set of installation standards. We believe this is taking place now and should enable PV systems to operate more safely and reliably, and increase consumer acceptance of PV technology.” The next Solar PV Installer Certification exam will be administered on Saturday, March 19, 2005. Applications will be due to NABCEP by January 7, 2005. The NABCEP Task Analysis and other resource documents, as well as a listing of current NABCEP certificants can be accessed the link below.

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