NABCEP Completes their Inaugural Solar Exam

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) has completed its first Photovoltaic (PV) Installer Certification Exam for nearly 100 first time candidates. Installers from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences sat for the exam at 14 sites across the country on Saturday, October 25th. NABCEP had originally planned to hold the exam at six sites, but due to the volume of applications, it had to increase the number of test sites to accommodate applicants from a total of 30 different states.

Malta, New York – October 28, 2003 [] “I’m gratified that almost one hundred of our industries’ most qualified installers made the voluntary effort to become certified this weekend,” said Ezra Auerbach, Chair of the Board of NABCEP. “I believe that this shows that the ability to document professional standing is important to PV installers. They recognize the comfort and value that certification offers consumers and funding agencies.” According to examinee Jeffrey Yago, “As for the test, it is clear that a major amount of work and preparation went into this test program and getting this off the ground. I was really surprised that the material covered was actually about the areas you need to know to install many different systems, and the people who made up this material clearly knew what they were writing about.” Yago went on to say; “I was expecting only NEC questions (and believe me there were plenty!), but there were also many questions and calculations required concerning array mounting, structural issues, system commissioning, worker safety, grid tied, off grid, generator-based, DC only, water pumping, site analysis, shading issues, battery issues, ground mount, pole mount, roof mount, ground fault issues, grounding issues, and you better know how these systems are different and why. The practice test provided with the preparation materials made it very clear up front that this was not going to be easy.” Although the closing date for the first round of exams was July 31, and the next round of applications will not be due until January 2004, requests for applications have been arriving in steady volumes at NABCEP’s Malta, New York office. The next exam will be on April 17, 2004. “We will announce the locations for the next round of tests after the closing date for applications has passed,” said Pete Sheehan, Executive Director of NABCEP. “This allows us to analyze where we need to hold exams. Our objective is to make it easy for everyone who wants to take the test to do so. We try to keep a candidate’s drive down to under four hours when possible.” There are seven combinations of training and experience that allow candidates to sit for the PV Installers Certification exam. “We recognized the broad range educational and work experience mix and worked to make sure that anyone who was qualified to sit for the exam would be able to” said Auerbach. To assist in preparing for the exam, NABCEP placed the Candidate Information Handbook and Study Guide on its website listed at the link below.
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