If you want to start an exciting career in green energy and become a professional solar panel installer, you should strongly consider becoming certified.
Solar installation is a relatively young field compared to other licensed professions, as many states do not require specialty licensees or certifications. However, as the solar industry matures, that is changing.
For most states, solar is a specialty classification under the general electrical or plumbing licenses and all appropriately licensed contractors can install solar systems without the solar specialty license. On the other hand, contractors may obtain a solar specialty license and install systems without having the full electrical or plumbing license. This cost savings of licensure is an advantage for contractors who only install solar systems.
Certification is necessary as many local energy providers often do not offer rebates to customers whose solar panels are installed by providers who are NOT certified.
Even in states that do not have contractor licensing requirements, financial incentive programs often include installer requirements, such as pre-approval or, some cases, NABCEP certification. NABCEP certification is now either mandatory or preferred for contractors who seek to install systems eligible for state incentive programs. For example, to be eligible for state rebate funds in Maine, Minnesota or Wisconsin and possibly more, a PV system must be installed by a NABCEP-certified professional. California, Delaware and Massachusetts rebate programs prefer or recommend NABCEP-certified professionals. In Utah, NABCEP-certification is a prerequisite for qualifying for a state solar contractor license.
Since incentive programs drive a significant amount of new solar pv installations, it pays to have an NABCEP certification.
Increased Credibility and Marketing Value
Like all professional certifications, a NABCEP certification is a marketing tool that provides instant credibility that will open the door to more opportunities. Companies are giving raises to installers who obtain their certification. Opportunities in solar are growing at a fast pace, and more opportunities translate into more projects, career flexibility and higher pay. The NABCEP Certification is currently the ultimate validation of experience and knowledge in the growing solar industry.
How to obtain the NABCEP Solar PV Installer Certification
The first step in obtaining the NABCEP Solar PV Installer Certification is the application. You’re your application has been accepted, and all eligibility requirements have been confirmed, you will be allowed to take the exam.
To apply for the exam you must have a combination of training AND relevant work experience.
Since the certification program requires real work experience, installers may feel they are faced with the dilemma of trying to obtain work experience without a certificate. This may not as bad as it seems in world of pv installation. Companies understand that a many professionals are new to the young industry and that the NABCEP requires field experience to sit for the exam. However, as the industry matures, the demand for skilled knowledge will grow and companies may expect installers to have demonstrable knowledge.
That is why the best approach is to get the NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam, then apply for projects, and work towards the NABCEP Solar PV Installer Certification.
The NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam is a great place to start, getting you into the field faster and while taking the pressure off passing the NABCEP Solar PV Installer Certification exam. The Solar PV Installer exam is a difficult test and many fail the first time and must retake it to pass. The PV Entry Level Exam may be the fast-track to a career as a professional installer.