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NABCEP Profile Interview

March 28, 2011

Kelly Provence is one of a very small number of people who holds three NABCEP Certifications: PV Solar Installer, Solar Thermal Installer and PV Technical Sales. Kelly is the owner of Solairgen School of Solar Technology located in Dahlonega, Georgia. Solairgen is a training company which offers a complete program for electric solar panel installers and PV technical salespeople. Kelly is also an IREC/ISPQ Certified Master Trainer and a licensed master electrician.

In a personal interview, Kelly said, “I have always been an environmentalist, so in the late 1990s I felt it was time to take a serious look at my own ecological values, so I began incorporating PV installations into my electrical business.

“In 2002, I began focusing my efforts solely on PV, installing mainly off-grid and battery back-up systems. I branched out into solar thermal installations from there and sought certification in that area. Getting my NABCEP PV and Solar Thermal Installer certifications definitely opened doors for me; I received multiple job offers because of my NABCEP Certifications.

“After three years volunteering as a Director with the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA), lobbying state and federal politicians on environmental issues, I realized there was a need for competent installation training, and there was no training facility in Georgia.

“It became clear that the solar installation industry needed a way to recognize experienced installers, and I shared NABCEP’s core purpose of maintaining high industry standards. I sat for my first certification, NABCEP PV Installer exam, and since then I have consistently advocated for NABCEP Certifications to all my students.

“In 2005 I transitioned the company to solar training exclusively, and it’s now my full time occupation. Approximately 50% of the people installing in the state have taken Solairgen training, and many of them have gone on to become NABCEP certified professionals. Today, many entities in the state, such as Georgia Electrical Membership Companies (EMCs), recommend or require installations to be performed by NABCEP certified contractors.

“My NABCEP Certifications tell customers I have achieved high-level skills, and lets them know I didn’t get into this yesterday. NABCEP Certification distinguishes individuals within the industry.

“I went for the PV Technical Sales Rep certification because students needed to be confident I have expertise in the subject I’m teaching, and I needed to know what the test was like.

“My customers respond positively because they understand NABCEP is the best example of self-regulation within the industry. I support it 100%. My students know what NABCEP Certification means to their careers; most are on track to become NABCEP Certified Installers or PV Technical Sales Reps.

“I will definitely be re-certifying when the time to do so comes up.”

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