Solar Training Education and Learning Text

COVID-19 Assistance

Everyone is feeling the effects of the corona virus, and most people are concerned for their family and friends and anyone affected by COVID-19. It has adversely affected the health of many and the economic position of almost everyone. We understand that many find themselves in a position of reduced income, a surplus of time, and a restricted social agenda.

Solairgen would like to offer some assistance by reducing the costs of our online training courses until this health crisis is contained. If you have time and you would like to expand your career, or get some continuing education credits, we hope our price reductions will make it easier to achieve.

For the months April and May, we are reducing the prices listed on the website for online classes by 40%. Your discount will be shown and taken at checkout.

Stay safe.

Mr. Kelly Provence
Certified Master PV Trainer
Solairgen School of Solar Technology


Reliable Resources for New Solar Contractors

Online information is abundant these days and misinformation tends to dominate many or most search parameter queries. This seems normal and the information appears to be free but it really isn’t. Usually it’s either written to attract people to buy a product or to attract people to someone’s misinformation-laden ego. Either way, it is difficult to filter the good information from the bad. The purpose of this blog is to provide some basic sources of reliable information for the new solar contractor.

Below I’ve listed the resources needed and information to be a well-informed, competent solar contractor.

  1. Training for the solar contractor. Knowing the design and installation trade and standards is most important and it can be achieved through good accredited training providers and certified trainers. If the training provide is not IREC accredited with IREC certified trainers, don’t waste your time with them, The only exception to this is manufacturers of solar equipment. They will provide good training, but only on their own equipment.
  2. Suppliers of solar equipment. There are many suppliers of solar products and they all differ in the range of products and depth of support they provide to their customers. Small to medium scale PV contractors will need suppliers who offer a wide selection of products from several manufacturers. Large scale contractors may go straight to the manufacturers. Follow the link provided below and select your country. They list wholesalers and distributors of solar products.

  3. Leading solar equipment. One way to determine which solar equipment to purchase is to look at a leading resource such as EnergySage. They have a solar panel database with consumer ratings, They also have an inverter database with consumer ratings, and a database on batteries as well, If you would like a more comprehensive list of solar equipment, go to the California Energy Center’s (CEC) data base, You can also review the products that the leading suppliers carry; this may be best since this will be your primary resource.
  4. Solar energy resource data. There is only one source for historic solar resource data and that is the National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB). It has been developed from data collected by NREL, NASA and NOAA over the past 50 years. There is no other resource that can provide this data. The best tool to calculate solar irradiation for a tilt and azimuth of a specific site is PVWatts developed by NREL Several companies and organizations use this data in their shading analysis tools. If you use one of these tools, check to verify that their irradiation data is from the National Solar Radiation Database.
  5. Financing for the customer. The list of lenders can be long since the solar industry is growing at a rapid pace and has been providing owners a good return on investment. A good place to start is with the list on the EnergySage website,
  6. Certification and licensing. These terms should not be confused. Certification is an industry merit that is earned by very competent solar workers; the organization that tests individuals and issues certifications is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners,  The certification adds value and credential to the individual and solar contractor. Certification is often required by solar PV system owners and/or utilities who are offering a financial incentive to their customers. Licensing is a requirement by the state and is a separate issue. The purpose of licensing is to make sure contractors have met the state requirement for competence in their field of construction. A licensed electrical contractor is responsible for all the electrical work performed on the solar installation. The license holder must be a permanent part of the solar company such as an employee or partner.

Kelly Provence
Solairgen School of Solar Technology


Residential Solar PV Ground Mount System

Starting a Solar PV Installation Company

Like any new adventure, starting a solar PV design and installation company seems simple at first and then as you learn more about it, the more complicated it gets. If you are already a construction contractor, it is a lot easier to see where you are going; if not, it can be a difficult undertaking.

The first major obstacle to overcome is knowledge about the solar PV industry. Most people start by browsing the internet. There is an almost endless abundance of material to be found when you start your search. As with all internet searches, some of the information is good, some bad and some has nothing to do with what you really need to know.

Costs are a major consideration. The initial investments can be high. You must purchase the necessary equipment and tools to get the job done. You will learn which tools are essential when you are taking the training classes. The basic tools can start as low as $1000 and go up considerably depending on the scale of solar PV systems you plan to install.

It isn’t a bad idea to work for someone else for a while so you can learn the ropes under the supervision of someone who has already gone through this process; this is a good idea if you are not already a contractor. Even if you are a licensed contractor, it can be a good idea to sub-contract the first few installations to an experienced solar contractor. You can learn a lot from this method even if you only break even on the jobs.

I recommend finding an accredited school that offers an introductory course to PV design and installation. Some state technical colleges have solar PV included in their electrical programs but most do not. The best source of education in this field is a school that is accredited specifically for the solar PV technology through the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). If the school is not accredited, don’t waste your time with them. Taking this entry level course should provide you with enough information about the industry so you can determine if you want to continue, and in which direction you will want to go next.

Once you have completed the basic solar PV course, the next steps will be more obvious to you. If you are a contractor, you are already registered with the city or county as a contractor. If not, you can get a business license with the city or county where you plan to do business; it is a simple process and the fees are usually nominal. Once you have your business license, you can apply to one of the many distributors who sell all the solar products you will need. Not all distributors require you to have a business license to purchase from them, but the better ones do.

Most states require that you or someone within your company be licensed through the state for the type of work you will be providing to the customer. A licensed general contractor meets the requirements, but you will need to hire a licensed electrical contractor before the installation begins. If the owner of the business is not a licensed contractor, either general or electrical, they must meet the state requirements by hiring a licensed contractor. Most states require this license holder to be a permanent employee, not a subcontractor.

Now that the local and state license requirements have been met, you should consider insurance options and requirements. If you hire employees, worker’s compensation is required by law. If everyone who works in the company is a partner, it is not required. However, if you sub-contract under another contractor, they will require it even if it doesn’t cover you.  Liability insurance is also a good idea and is required by most customers. The amount of liability insurance should be balanced with your actual liability if something should go wrong on one of your jobs. However, some commercial contracts will specify the minimum amount of liability insurance.

If you have gotten this far, you will want to advance your knowledge with solar PV system design. If you are a contractor, you know that there are two ways to learn advanced principles, through formal education and by making mistakes. I recommend formal education to lessen mistakes. There are two primary sources for advanced level training; they include advanced online and hands-on courses offered by IREC accredited schools and manufacturer’s training resources.

Manufacturer’s provide design and installation videos and webinars for their products alone, ignoring other products on the market. They often combine the sales aspect with the technical design during webinars and a lot of their installation videos are very educational but, limited to their own best interests.

The quickest and best way to get comprehensive advanced training of design and installation principles is by taking advanced level courses from an IREC accredited school. The benefit is they are impartial when it comes to the market products, so your education is broader which will build your confidence and abilities for when you are on your own.

Your first installation is the point where the risks jump to a high level so make it easy on yourself and first do an installation on your own property or the property of an associate. You are bound to make a few mistakes with the first few installations, so it is a good idea to keep the stress and liability as low as possible in the very beginning.

In review, first estimate the financial investment to get started, second educate yourself on the basics of solar PV design and installation, third get a local business license, fourth address the state contracting license requirements, fifth secure your insurance needs, sixth get advanced level training and experience on solar PV systems and finally acquire the necessary tools and equipment to properly perform the job.

Kelly Provence
Solairgen School of Solar Technology


The Benefits of Achieving NABCEP Certification

Overall, the benefits of NABCEP certifications are to the industries they serve. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) was founded in 2002 as a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization with the stated goal to develop voluntary national credentialing programs that will promote renewable energy, provide value to practitioners, promote worker safety and skill, and consumer confidence in the industry. But how does certification help your career? Consumers need to be confident of their choices.

Consumers at all levels need to know as much as possible about the products they purchase. However, it’s next to impossible to know all that is necessary to make the best choice, so they depend on third-party grading and rating systems to help make decisions. This works out very well for the consumer if the grading/rating organization is doing the hard work of vetting the products and services provided, like NABCEP.

But it also works out very well for the product/service provider. This is especially true when it comes to certifications held by installation contractors. A certified installer’s high standards and achievements stand out so the consumer can see there is a quality difference with minimal research. NABCEP has done a great job of serving the solar industry by providing this credentialing and certification process and standard. They now offer several levels of credentials and certification.

The entry level NABCEP certification is the Associate Credential; the requirement to sit for this exam is to complete a solar PV course from a NABCEP approved training provider and then pay the registration fee through that provider. Achieving this NABCEP Credential provides the holder with more visibility in the industry to employers and potential customers. The credential holder’s name is placed on the NABCEP web page under NABCEP Associate Directory.

The highest level of certification is the NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional. The minimum education requirements to sit for the exam are 58 hours of solar training with 40 of those hours being advanced level, solar PV specific, provided by an accredited school. A minimum 10-hour OSHA card is also required. Verifiable experience in PV design or installation is also required to sit for the exam. The value of this certification has many benefits in the solar industry and is often required by entities such as utilities or governments. Many developers will specify and require that the solar contractor must have this level of certification. Showing potential customers that you are a certified solar contractor will give you the advantage over a contractor who is not certified. The certification holder’s name is placed on the NABCEP web page under Certified Locator.

For professional sales people, the achievement is the NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification. The education requirement varies widely from 0 to 60 hours of solar training depending on the person’s background. However, it would be a good idea to take some training courses to prepare for the exam. The first person a customer meets is usually the sales representative; if the sales person is certified, it provides the customer with confidence and an element of trust, elements that are an essential part of winning an installation contract.

NABCEP now has three Specialist Certifications: PV Installer Specialist, PV Design Specialist and PV Commissioning and Maintenance Specialist. Each of these require 24 hours of advanced training from an accredited school. Verifiable experience in each of these specialist categories is also required to sit for the exam. A minimum 10-hour OSHA card is also required. Each of these certifications is focused on the individual’s specific area of expertise. The greatest value to the individual holding the specialist certification is companies who employee certified specialists gain a level confidence with this individual and it also improves the company image to the potential customer.

Another level of certification is directed to building inspectors. Many of the building inspections are now contracted to professional inspectors. These inspectors are usually certified in as many fields of building construction as possible. The NABCEP Certified PV Inspector certification provides these inspectors with this credential that indicates they possess a sufficient level of knowledge and expertise with PV system inspection requirements. No training or experience is required to sit for this exam. However, it is highly recommended to sufficiently educate yourself prior to registering for the exam; it requires extensive knowledge of the IBC, NEC and PV system design.

Certifications are key to any industry’s growth and success. The solar industry is still young and it cannot afford failures due to poor quality installations. One effective way to guard against these failures is to support industry certifications. NABCEP has done a great job of providing their widely accepted certification program to many from different backgrounds. When you become certified at any level, you enhance your opportunities for personal success, you help raise the standards of the industry and you help provide consumers with the ability to make smart choices.

Solairgen PV specific training programs are NABCEP approved and IREC accredited solar PV training programs, designed in support of industry certification and professional excellence.

Kelly Provence
Solairgen School of Solar Technology
IREC Certified Master PV Trainer
NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional
NABCEP Certified Technical Sales Professional
Master Electrician

Logo for Certified Master PV Trainer Kelly Provence Solairgen IREC Accredited Training Provider Logo  NABCEP Installer Logo   PV Tech Sales Cert Logo

Solar Training Education and Learning Text

Training for Changes in the Solar PV Industry

Why We Keep Up with Industry Changes

There is no argument that the only constant in the world seems to be change. This is even truer for the solar industry as changes in the solar market happen fast. The only constant appears to be the solar resource itself, our sun.

Training courses must be updated regularly to meet those industry changes and to prepare students who are either just entering the solar business or professionals who are currently working in it. Solairgen is constantly editing its courses for these changes. When necessary, we’ve been known to completely rewrite courses to address industry changes due to product innovations, code changes, regulated utility interconnection requirements, and rapid industry growth.

Here are the most recent changes to our training curriculum:

PV301 NABCEP Associate Installer Credential Exam Prep:
Recently we added a NABCEP Associate Credential exam prep course to follow our PV201 Introduction to PV Design and Installation online course.  PV301 is free to our PV201 students and costs just $185 for anyone who has not taken PV201, but has met the training prerequisite to sit for the Associate Credential exam but needs exam prep study material.

PV202 Solar PV Technical Design
Our online PV202 course now focuses on the technical design aspects of residential, commercial and energy storage systems. It is the next step for designers and installers after completing PV201.

PV210 PV Sales and Cost Analysis
We have introduced a new course, PV210 PV Sales and Cost Analysis that focuses on training students to focus on the marketing aspects of solar: identifying the solar customer and their energy needs, system costs and financing methods, the value of the investment, environmental impacts and proposal writing.

PV221 – PV224 Advanced Online Series
The advanced training workshop and advanced online series have been updated to address new solar products and changes to the NEC codes. These courses include PV221 PV System and the NEC, PV222 Interactive PV System Configuration, PV223 PV Maintenance and Troubleshooting and PV224 Energy Storage PV System Configuration.

Solar is growing faster than any other energy industry so change means growth, and we believe you will enjoy being a part of it. The changes happening today are exciting innovations that make the solar industry stronger and our training produces strong professionals in the field.

Kelly Provence
IREC Certified Master PV Trainer
Solairgen School of Solar Training


Does Certified Solar Training Make Cents

Does certified solar training make “cents” for solar PV design and installation companies? Spending money on training may seem questionable since there is so much free information on the internet these days. If you have the time, you can find just about anything you want or want to know about through the internet. The biggest problem with that approach is qualifying the accuracy of the information. A PV design and installation company that decides to self educate usually misses some key information. The cost for missing this information to save on quality training is usually much higher in the long run.

What are the training options?

  • If you are dead-set on getting free online training, be sure that the information is from a professional source such as IREC, NABCEP, NREL, FSEC or an accredited school. There are a lot of internet videos that show only part of the process and they leave a lot out. You have to ask yourself, “Would I trust my car repair to someone whose knowledge and skills came from an internet video? “
  • Researching and reading volumes of information and then sorting it out, is a very laborious job. There are few people have the time to do this effectively, and I do respect their effort and dedication. However when I hear someone say that they are self-taught, I have three thoughts: (1) This person must be very tenacious to have done it the hard way, (2) Is this person a maverick that may not know what he/she does not know? (3) Does this person take this approach with everything they do?
  • On the job training (OJT) is the most sought-after source; it is also the most difficult to find. Without good formal training, a person is going to make mistakes; it is unavoidable. Mistakes cost money and are great teachers, especially when the money is your own, but most companies realize that a new untrained employee will not effectively contribute to the profitability of the company for the first few months. The cost to the employer is greater than the cost of training.
  • Online training from accredited schools is a good place to start. The real benefit to taking online training is that you don’t have to take time off work and pay for lodging during the training. Another benefit of online training is that the cost is lower than in-the-seat training.
  • In-the-seat training is the best format for training as long as the class size is not too large. If there are more than 20 students in the class, the one-on-one contact time is almost nonexistent. Small classes of 10 people or less is the best learning format for any class, especially for hands-on training classes.

What is the true value of attaining certified training?

  • The most important value is the accurate knowledge that you attain. Along with the knowledge, the training school usually provides continued support to its students; they are usually glad to answer questions from their former students.
  • In order to be successful in any industry it is important to have regular correspondence with every sector of your industry that can make you more successful. Maintaining a relationship with a good training source will help keep you and your company in front of changes in the industry.
  • Hiring trained personnel and maintaining appropriate training levels with your personnel will save you a lot more than the training will cost.
  • Organizations that offer nationally recognized certifications in the PV industry, such as NABCEP, require the applicant to have certified training from an accredited school.
  • Whether you are talking with colleagues, associates or customers, formal training is the only training that will earn their respect.

Does certified training cost more than the benefit? The answer is no; if you are part of the front line of the solar design and installation industry, good quality training will not only save money it will provide a strong foundation of knowledge and the clarity necessary to ensure better job performance. Making certified solar training a part of the business model is essential to building a successful solar company; not only does it make sense, it makes “cents”.

Master PV Trainer Logo

Multi-Credentialed Solar Installer-Trainer

Solar Panel InstallationSolairgen’s Kelly Provence: Multi-credentialed installer/trainer talks with IREC’s ISPQ about the value of credentials

By Jane Pulaski
September 15, 2011

What do you say about someone who was the first PV trainer in the U.S. to hold four credentials (IREC ISPQ Master PV and three NABCEP certifications)? An overachiever? Staying ahead of the competition?  Hip to the importance of credentials to maintain integrity in the solar profession?  All of the above?
Achieving any one of these credentials is an ambitious goal, but four?  I wanted to know what (or who) is behind Kelly’s drive to be multi-credentialed.  Here’s our conversation.

IREC:  Kelly, I’m going to get right to it:  what inspired you to attain so many credentials?
KP:  I was at a dealer conference at the Florida Solar Energy Center in 2003, when I became aware of NABCEP and the importance of certification. It became apparent to me that in order for the solar industry to maintain a high level of installation integrity, there needed to be a national standard to measure professionalism; NABCEP was doing that with their certification program. In 2006 I earned the PV Installer Certification and in 2007 earned the Solar Thermal Certification; these credentials demonstrated my experience and commitment to my customers, as well as support for a national standard.

IREC:  NABCEP awarded its first PV certificants in November 2003. So if you were hearing about it then, you were tuned in to the value of credentials at the very beginning.  The NABCEP credential must have resonated with you.
KP:   It did. I knew that this industry needed to maintain high standards to succeed and time has proven this to be true.  At Georgia Solar Energy Association meetings and in my own work, I supported NABCEP certification as the industry standard we should, and do, support.  I started the Solairgen training program with two goals in mind: to help students enter the market with a high level of competency and guide them toward certification.

IREC:  Before you discovered NABCEP, what kept you busy? Was solar part of your life then?
KP:  Before Solairgen, I owned and operated an electrical contracting company, Provence Electric, from 1995 to 2008. Solar installations were always a part of the business model. In 2002, Solairgen was formed at which time PV and Solar Thermal design and installations became my single focus. I later became involved with the development of Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA.)  It was while serving as an officer with GSEA that I saw the need for solar training in Georgia. It was then I moved from design and installation and shifted focus solely to PV and ST training.

IREC:  Since you recognized the value of an installation credential, when did you recognize the value of the IREC ISPQ credential?
KP: Soon after I designed and implemented our training program, I realized that IREC ISPQ accreditation and trainer certification is just as important to the training sector as NABCEP is to the installation sector of the solar industry. Having the IREC ISPQ credential allows a potential student to make a better decision when selecting a training course – it assures them of the quality of the program they’ve selected – and provides the national training standard they want and need. Moreover, the entire solar industry benefits by having a high national standard of quality and professionalism. We all win.

IREC:  Most definitely.  I’m curious…what was the order in which you went for the IREC ISPQ credential? Was it program accreditation first, then trainer certification, or was it trainer certification first, then program accreditation?
KP:  Program certification came first. The value of accreditation was most important to the company, which of course was important to me.  I had several years of installation experience in PV and ST to draw from in teaching, and two NABCEP certifications, but the class syllabus itself needed the “Gold Seal.” After that, Master PV Trainer certification became my goal.  Solairgen offers both an accredited class, and a certified instructor.  That assures potential students that Solairgen has met the highest quality standards for installation and design training, and keeps us competitive.

IREC:  Having an accredited program and certified instructor does ensure the highest quality teaching/learning experience possible.  I’m wondering what kind of students you’re seeing in your classroom.  Is it a wide range of skills and experience?
KP:   The  students’ varying backgrounds keep my job interesting and challenging.  We offer different classes and each one has its own dynamic. The 40-hour entry level class is usually full each month and consists of electricians, electrical engineers, builders, finance and marketing professionals, with motivated entrepreneurs from unrelated fields. My students are always interesting, and it’s enjoyable to see the high-level of enthusiasm they all show with the opportunity to enter this field.  I’m always impressed by the commitment and hard work the candidates in my NABCEP Exam Prep classes demonstrate to become nationally recognized and proficient in the industry. About half of the exam prep students are electricians, some are engineers with the balance being solar contractors and integrators. Many started out taking my PV-203 class. There’s a lot of combined experience in the classroom. It isn’t uncommon for me to learn something from them in the course of a class.

IREC:  With such a wide range of skills and experience, it must be a continuous challenge to make sure everyone’s needs and expectations are being met.   How do you tackle that?
KP:    My first priority is to teach the design and installation of PV equipment and systems with a high level of competency. Everyone comes into my class with strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important that I “level the information field” as soon as possible by bringing all the students to a common level of understanding. This is something I enjoy and do well.  It’s rewarding to see so many of my PV-203 students pass the NABCEP Entry Level Exam and then see them go on to rewarding careers in the field – then NABCEP Certification. After each of my exam prep classes and the NABCEP certification exam, I start checking the NABCEP site regularly for new certification awardees.  I get a tremendous sense of pride when I see my students who have come through Solairgen classes earn NABCEP certification.  Another challenge I face with my students is to stay current with technology and the industry in general, revising my classes as I do.  Students are more informed and sophisticated than ever, so I consistently “re-educate” myself so that I deliver up-to-date industry and technological information to my students.  If I’m informed, so are they.

solar-panel-installation-trainingIREC:  That’s the sign of an exemplary teacher, and students know one when they find one.  Not surprisingly, the converse is also true.  So in your experience, and if you can narrow it down, what would you say is your biggest success…or successes?
KP:   Without Solairgen’s credentials, we would have a hard time competing in an increasingly competitive solar training industry.  Bringing my wife, Leigh, into the company is one of my successes.  She was instrumental in getting our PV-203 class IREC/ISPQ accredited, and subsequently my IREC/ISPQ Affiliated Master PV Trainer Certification.  Having Leigh focus on the marketing and administrative demands of a growing company allowed me the opportunity to put all of my energy into designing classes and teaching.  She also encouraged me to get the NABCEP PV Technical Sales certification in their inaugural round of testing. I was the first PV trainer in the U.S. to hold all four credentials: IREC ISPQ Master PV Trainer, with three NABCEP certifications.  Of course other top trainers in the industry were right behind me and earned the same credentials, but it was nice to be the first and only, even if it was only for a short time.

IREC:   Oh…now I understand who’s the boss.  Sounds like a great team.  Does Leigh have other certifications in mind for you?
KP:  I actually had her believing I was the boss during the first month we started working together. We may have other programs developing so I’m sure I’ll get a nudge in that direction when the time comes. But for now I intend to pursue advanced OSHA training certification, and would also like to become involved in code development. But if I can find the time, which is a luxury, I’ll go back to college to study physics and chemistry. There are many areas of energy conversion that are yet to be discovered and developed.

IREC:  Physics and chemistry?  I’m so glad there are people like you. I’m a recovering English major, so if you ever need any help spelling ‘physics’ or ‘chemistry,’ or with diagramming sentences, I’m your go-to.  I know you’re always looking ahead…what do you see in the queue?
KP:  Gaining momentum for Solairgen’s advanced class to teach PV system designers and installers how to analyze system performance is in the immediate queue. I believe this is critical information installers and designers need for their increasingly knowledgeable customers who have expectations of return on investment. Getting this training out to everyone who could benefit is the challenge we are working on now.   Long-range goals may involve helping technical colleges develop and implement their solar programs, both PV and solar thermal. I have had several technical college trainers and professors come though our training prior to implementing solar into their own programs. That’s a training venue we’re eager to develop. We’re also in the early development stages of a program that, if it works out, will enable students to receive installation credits toward qualifying for the NABCEP Installer Certification exam.  It isn’t in place yet, and there are many logistics to be worked out, but that’s next on our expansion agenda.

IREC:  If past performance is any indication of future results, I’d expect to see this as part of Solairgen’s offerings soon (unless you’ve signed up for physics and chemistry classes).  Besides your work, which obviously motivates and energizes you, what inspires you?
KP:    Wilderness inspires me. The times I feel I have achieved the most, professionally and personally, is when I hike.  The reason I entered into the renewable energy industry was to contribute to a sustainable energy balance, lessening the negative environmental impact of fossil fuels. I am inspired when I think that it is possible. When I’m hiking, I imagine that it is.

IREC:   So does Leigh have plans for you to get your hiking certification?  Your work and commitment are inspiring, Kelly.  Thanks a million for your time.

You can reach Kelly directly at, or visit Solairgen’s website at for information about training classes.


What are NABCEP and IREC?

IREC Logo Training Provider-smIf you have been looking into Solar Panel Installation Training, then you have probably heard of NABCEP and IREC, but have no idea who they are, or what they mean to your training. Essentially, they are the regulatory bodies who make sure solar power technicians, and solar training companies, have received the certification or accreditation they need to provide their customers with quality installation service and expert training.

NABCEP Entry Level Exam Final 8 24 09NABCEP – the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners – sets the skill level and background experience a technician will need in order to receive national certification in Solar Panel Installation. The certifications offered are for solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels and wind energy installers. To receive Solar Training Certification, you must attend Solar Classes provided by an accredited Solar Training Provider. It involves a minimum number of training hours and course work in your chosen solar installation field, and you must pass the Solar Training Certification Exam provided by NABCEP. Once you have that you are ready to start your career at the highest level – a NABCEP Certified Installation technician or Certified PV Technical Sales professional.

Master PV Trainer LogoIREC stands for Interstate Renewable Energy Council and is similar to NABCEP, but where NABCEP sets the standards for individual technicians, IREC sets the standards for Solar Training companies. ISPQ is the nation’s highest accreditation for renewable energy training providers and it is awarded through IREC. IREC sends their auditors to the facilities that provide solar classes and solar training in order to observe and approve everything about the company and the training program – from a company’s financial fitness, to the quality of their curriculum. They also ensure that the teachers have the knowledge and experience they need to provide state-of-the-art training. Once the IREC auditors have completed the quality assessments, they submit their reports to the ISPQ board for approval. Accreditation is awarded when the ISPQ board approves the reports.

NABCEP LogoNABCEP and IREC were formed to make sure the solar classes and solar training offered to the public are of the highest national quality. If you are about to start your training for a career in solar power then you should be aware of these two organizations.  Make sure any Solar Classes you take are offered by a provider with IREC Accreditation. Any Solar Training you receive should be approved by NABCEP to qualify you to take the Solar Training Certification exam. Once solar power becomes more widespread, national certification will be even more important to your career. Consumers are rapidly becoming knowledgeable about solar energy and will want technicians with a nationally recognized Solar Training Certification.

This article was written by Tom Johnson with Click Ready Marketing on the behalf of Solairgen.

Visit Solairgen and learn more about solar energy training by following the link: SOLAR CLASSES