January 22, 2009

Interview with Craig Stager, SPG Solar

Filed under: News — nabcep @ 11:21 am

Craig Stager is the Design & Compliance Manager for SPG Solar, responsible for all projects designed, with a focus on enforcing the standards of system compliance and performance. For the past six years, Craig has overseen the engineering, design, and permitting of more than 1,200 projects, ranging from smaller residential to large scale projects such as megawatt single axis solar PV trackers. Craig became NABCEP-certified in April, 2005, and is on NABCEP”s Ethics Committee, and is also a Certified General Electrician (California). In between travel and meetings, Craig was kind enough to talk to me about his work and his involvement with NABCEP. Here’s our conversation.

IREC: Hi Craig. So as SPG’s Design and Compliance Manager, how exactly do you spend your days?

CS: I currently manage approximately sixteen project designers in various regions, as well as sustain professional relationships with several outside engineers. I am involved in the planning, design, and approval stages of project integration, and have gained experience with obtaining approvals from many agencies including The Division of the State Architects, Airport Land Use Agencies, Coastal Commissions, Department of Interior, State Dam Regulatory Agency, Army Corps of Engineering – involving wet land delineation, and several others. There is a true art in negotiation and coordinating for a timely project approval.

As a manager, I strive to develop my project designers to obtain higher levels of professionalism in their ability to coordinate and design code compliant and high performing PV systems. Currently my project designers perform everything from on-site analysis, to providing and coordinating the delivery of a full set of plans to include architectural, structural, civil and electrical aspects of the project. A large set of plans may include up to 30 sheets. We currently operate with the latest AUTOCAD design software, using 2009 MEP as our foundation. We incorporate three dimensional models allowing for finer precision.

Our larger ground mounted systems bring in the land development software, Civil 3D, as we incorporate field survey techniques using our Trimble robotic total station used for capturing elevations for generating topographic ground conditions for producing grading plans and site layouts. The results are more detailed oriented drawings with higher levels of quality that truly exceed the standards for PV design. Some ask if so much detail in our drawings is important. I say yes. You have to take it beyond what is just required, push the envelope of this cutting edge industry, and pay attention to the details in order to really ensure success. It takes a good design and plan to support a quality, code compliant PV system.

IREC: How long have you been involved with solar? Do you love what you do?

CS: I’ve been involved with solar for over six years. Interestingly, prior to my start in this industry, I had no real exposure to PV. I brought other skills and attributes to this work, such as permitting and an understanding of AutoCAD, as well as leadership and hands-on field electrical work, gained from my military experience as an Artillery Officer and Q36 radar technician in the California Army National Guard. I was quickly drawn to the code and the desire to raise the bar of knowledge within this great emerging industry.

SPG Solar, Inc. was founded in 2001, by Dan Thompson, our founder, president, & CEO. His initial vision and active leadership and participation in this PV industry, as well as his innovative approaches, have made our efforts more meaningful as we work within this great environment allowing us to excel and professionally grow. I love this job; it’s challenging and rewarding. I am doing something I can be very proud of, and I can get out of bed everyday, motivated to go to work. The days go by fast as we ride the cutting edge wave of the emerging renewable energy industry. It is great to work in an industry with many motivated and forward thinking professionals.

IREC: If everyone at SPG Solar is as enthusiastic as you, business must be booming.

CS: Actually, SPG Solar has had tremendous amounts of growth. SPG Solar started with a handful of employees in 2001, and today we have about 160 employees with nine facilities in California and now serve the western states, including Oregon and Arizona. We continue to grow our operations and staff to meet our customer’s needs. We have expanded our headquarters five times since the company was founded, from a 1,000 sq. foot office in San Rafael, to our new 30,000 sq. foot campus in Novato. Our revenues have kept pace with our physical expansion – $1.5 million in 2001 to $ 56 million in 2007. We project revenues of $90 million for 2008.

In 2005, our installation methods proved so successful, we spun-off a sister company, Thompson Technology Industries, Inc. (TTI) to develop and manufacture best-of-breed solar products that minimize labor time and maximize system performance.

IREC: Wow. No wonder you love going to work every day. But what obstacles have you encountered along the way?

CS: Other than sustaining qualified designers to support the speedy integration of these projects, in a fast growing company, gaining planning approval from the Administrative Hearings Judge (AHJ) or other outside agency has been the greatest challenge. The building side of the house seems straight forward; design code compliant and safe systems will get the approval, unless we’re educators of the code in a new region or adjust to accommodate their own special preferences or interpretations.

The requirements of the planning side of the house can be debatable, especially if you have to go before a public hearing, go through the process of a formal Environmental Impact Assessment (CEQA) or work with a federal outside agency. These processes can take a long time, and time is something that we generally do not have much of in this industry given the short construction time frames needed to maximize the rebates and tax incentives that may be available for our clients.

IREC: So it really requires you to know your stuff and be ready to respond quickly to the situation. Have you found your NABCEP certification to be a plus for you in your work? Do you find people know about NABCEP, or do you have to educate them?

CS: Yes, NABCEP has been a plus, more for boosting my confidence and providing a national recognition for my knowledge and experience. People in the industry seem to understand what NABCEP symbolizes, yet most hardly know what is means. I must admit that saying the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is a mouth full. It’s much easier to say NABCEP.

Outside of the PV industry of designers and installers, I find myself having to educate about NABCEP, explaining that the program is for professional PV installers in the nation trying to lead the way by being certified to a national standard of competency and upholding a code of ethics to install the highest quality photovoltaic electrical systems for our clients.

IREC: It’s great to have a cheerleader like you. In addition to being NABCEP-certified, you’re a member of NABCEP’s Ethics Committee. That seems consistent with your SPG role of Compliance and Design Manager.

CS: The NABCEP Ethics Committee is dedicated to the enforcement of the NABCEP Code of Ethics and the NABCEP Standards of Conduct. As a committee, we investigate allegations of misconduct by members and recommend disciplinary action. I am honored to be part of a group that upholds the highest level of professionalism for a certification that emphasizes the best in system design and installation of code compliant and optimal performing systems. As an adult Eagle Scout, I live by an oath supported with values that offer a great way of life. As a NABCEP member, I feel that I am part of an organization that promotes strong ethical and professional ways toward building systems that we should all be proud of, and that will strongly support the growth of our emerging industry.

IREC: As a certificant and a board member, what do you see as challenges for NABCEP?

CS: The biggest challenge for NABCEP from my perspective would be the growth of new members into this organization as the industry continues to grow immensely, while sustaining the highest level of respect from both the PV industry, as well as other electrical organizations. This could be more easily achieved with the proper synchronization of developing code compliant training programs across America that will support the cause. NABCEP’s Entry Level Certificate Program is the exact thing for those wanting to get started in solar. As the market grows for PV, those holding an Entry Level Certificate will find it easier to obtain employment, and it will also overall benefit the industry to have more qualified installers.

I also think that NABCEP sponsored projects would also be a great offering. For example, projects having a NABCEP certified installer could receive better incentives, and possibly be offered higher priority during the AHJ review process.

IREC: Sounds like you’ve been giving this some thought. Any surprises about being NABCEP-certified?

CS: No real surprises, yet the benefits have been greater recognition, confidence and additional opportunities. I can only hope that the organization will continue to thrive and support the professionals that are dedicated to building the highest quality PV systems.

IREC: With active, involved certificants like you, Craig, NABCEP is in especially good hands. Thanks for spending time with us.

CS: My pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.

Interview with Todd Stafford, National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC)

Filed under: News — nabcep @ 11:03 am

Todd Stafford, Senior Director the NJATC, is tasked with oversight and development of Renewable/Distributed Generation technologies. The NJATC was a charter member of NABCEP, and Todd has been an invaluable member of NABCEP”s Board of Directors. He’s incredibly busy, traveling constantly, but was his usual gracious self to take time between airports to chat about his involvement with NABCEP.

Here’s our conversation.

NABCEP: Todd, what does the NJATC do, and what exactly do you do for them as Senior Director of Renewable/Distributed Generation?

TS: “The NJATC provides training for approximately 40,000 apprentices annually as well as Journeymen upgrade training for those that have completed apprenticeship and desire to further their abilities in the electrical construction industry.

As Senior Director for the NJATC, I provide oversight and develop Renewable/Distributed Generation technologies. This refers to curriculum creation for use within our industry but also technical committees, certification boards (NABCEP) play a part as they further development and creation of standards for the affected industries. There are other areas in which I am tasked with as well such as instrumentation distributed controls systems, power quality and electrical theory.

NABCEP: NJATC was one of the charter members of the NABCEP board. How did that connection happen?

TS: Yes, I am a Charter member. Mark Fitzgerald approached me about participating in the creation of NABCEP in the mid 90’s. I must say though, that Mark wanted the training arm of the IBEW, the NJATC to be involved, for he felt that the resources were needed to reach hundreds of thousands of potential workers in the PV industry.

NABCEP: So what’s the connection between NJATC and the IBEW?

TS: The NJATC is a separate training organization created in 1941 to provide training for the IBEW and the unique creation, the Contractors as well. The creation of the NJATC, by NECA and the IBEW, was to assure latest technologies were adopted that suited both parties–labor and Management. The NJATC is a true apprenticeship program in that it has indentures, sponsors, and employment opportunities.

NABCEP: Did NJATC’s membership on the board encounter any difficulties at the beginning of NABCEP? Were there any obstacles?

TS: The NJATC does not feel that the beginning of NABCEP was difficult, for it was created to credential qualified individuals to install PV. All the training the NJATC provides to the IBEW, and NECA, emphasizes quality over quantity. Any credential which promises to raise the qualifications of those within the electrical industry is always looked upon with favor by the NJATC. Any obstacles were more technical than philosophical. Identifying the areas in which electrical work is already licensed and performed was the main issue. Later, it was the determination of how to qualify for the certification, which created the greatest discussion among NABCEP, before it was actually NABCEP.

NABCEP: It seems like NJATC has been receptive helping its members become NABCEP certified. Do you think NABCEP’s affiliation with NJATC has been good for the IBEW? For NABCEP?

TS: From the NJATC point of view, I think the partnership between NABCEP and the NJATC has been a good thing. Again, it goes to raising the qualifications of everyone. Regardless of affiliation, raising the performance levels of electricians and others only increases value to end users of labor. This enhances quality of installations and improves lifestyles of the installers. These are two key values supported by the NJATC.

NABCEP: Have you seen an increase in members becoming NABCEP certified for either PV or solar thermal? How many over the years?

TS: The NJATC has noticed several members that have been awarded credentials for NABCEP. This number will grow as determined by local requirements and rewards for pursuing the credential. I do not know how many have applied nor completed the requirements for certification.

NABCEP: Does NJATC develop the solar training for its members? Does it encourage its members to seek NABCEP certification? TS: Yes, the NJATC does develop the training for our members. There are Federal laws that also mandate this. Specifically, we have to create curriculum that is for the advantage of the apprentice in our programs. In some cases, it does require that we use the curriculum exclusively in our organization. This is from the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT) which requires that monies contributed by participants in an apprenticeship program (in our case our contractors) are used for the sole purpose of furthering the education of the apprentice. In some cases we are able to share curriculum, such as the Photovoltaics Systems textbook, which was written by Jim Dunlop (who works for the NJATC), and it is used as the reference source by everyone throughout the industry.

NABCEP: So NJATC is mandated to offer very specific classes for its members. But does it also offer courses that satisfy NABCEP’s continuing education requirements? Has it developed specific courses for its members to prepare them for the NABCEP certification exam?

TS: The NJATC courses are prepared and delivered for what it takes to install PV systems. Each lesson and course are created and delivered to extend knowledge gained through apprenticeship. We provide training that is in addition to 900-classroom instructor contact hours and 8000 hours on-the-job training. When a certification is developed correctly it reflects actual requirements reflected by knowledge and performance requirements. With NABCEP, some of the knowledge and performance criteria do reflect actual job install requirements. Some test criteria reflect the job tasks of multiple individuals as determined by an existing electrical industry. Most courses developed towards education of the electrical industry are directly applicable to the PV industry. It hasn’t, however, developed courses specifically targeted to pass the NABCEP exam.

NABCEP: What’s on the horizon for NJATC and NABCEP?

TS: The NJATC hopes to have a long and successful partnership with NABCEP. The NJATC does recognize that the PV industry is changing, evolving with market factors requiring change, that the NABCEP certification exam must also reflect current conditions.

NABCEP: What’s been the biggest surprise about NJATC and NABCEP?

TS: Both NABCEP and the NJATC are searching for the proper method to do the same thing: we both want to make the public aware of that quality installations can be performed on PV systems. Both organizations understand that raising the quality of installations overall benefits everyone.

I’d say the major surprise has been the implementation of the NABCEP’s PV certification. Originally, the certification was created to credential one individual that “did it all” as this was the predominate business model for PV installations. That has migrated to the point where large systems contractors are getting involved and these large contractors bring a huge staff to the project. One person may do site qualifications, another estimating of performance, and even more for the actual install, and then the maintenance and checkout crew may be different. This specific breakdown of labor doesn’t fit into any certification category NABCEP currently offers.

Let me explain this a bit more.

On a large project site, the planning and site survey is done by an electrical contractor who may or may not have any experience with PV installation requirements, OSHA regulations, the National Electrical Code, etc. Then an installation team (in our case, electricians) performs the actual installation. Then the contractor owner, president or representative performs the checkout and turns over the project to the owner. Then there may be a maintenance crew. In each case, the numerous people working on the project haven’t had the benefit of knowing the scope of the entire project. It’s just not a very efficient business model.

For the NJATC, the rapid evolution of the PV industry has presented a special challenge to the electrical industry in how to obtain credentials.

NABCEP: I guess that’s why your presence on the board is so critical to NABCEP. There’s a constant need for awareness of stakeholder issues, and coming up with innovative problem solving and efficiency in the field.

TS: Innovation is the key. The NJATC has to find ways to train efficiently as well as prepare the largest electrical contractor group and their labor requirements for a business model that works for them. NABCEP is nothing different than other industries we are involved with. Each changes as market and work requirements dictate.

NABCEP: Thanks, Todd, for taking time to visit with us, and for being such a constant on NABCEP’s board.

For more information about The NJATC, or to contact Todd directly.

NABCEP’s ANSI Accreditation: A Conversation with PTI’s Dr. Lynn Webb

Filed under: News — nabcep @ 10:30 am

Since 2003, when NABCEP offered its first certifying exam, NABCEP has used Professional Testing, Inc. (PTI) as a full-service provider of assessment, evaluation and certification services.

Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, with offices in Tallahassee and the Metropolitan Washington D.C. area, PTI provides effective, valid, fair, reliable, and legally defensible assessment and evaluation services, helping businesses, industries, professional associations, and licensure/certification agencies ensure that today”s workforce is competent, and that the organizations administering the assessments are viable and credible.

PTI helped NABCEP prepare its application for ISO 17024 American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accreditation that NABCEP was awarded last year. NABCEP visited with Dr. Lynn Webb, Ed.D, psychometrician at PTI, to discuss the ANSI process for an organization like NABCEP.

NABCEP: I know that NABCEP is pleased to be recognized with accreditation through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with ISO/IEC 17024 – but what is that, exactly?

LW: It’s a relatively new accreditation, so many people might not be familiar with it. There have been ISO standards in manufacturing for a long time – and this is an ISO standard, but it’s for the accreditation of certifying persons, instead of products. It’s a world standard, which distinguishes it from other U.S. accreditations. The American National Standards Institute is the U.S. representative for ISO/IEC 17024. Let’s take each one of those in turn:

ISO: The International Organization of Standardization IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission 17024: A voluntary benchmark for organizations responsible for certification of personnel. It was fully enacted on April 1, 2003.

NABCEP: Thanks for the translations, but what is it?

LW: The standard, ISO/IEC 17024, was designed to harmonize the personnel certification process worldwide and create a more cost-effective global standard for workers. It is expected to play a prominent role in facilitating global standardization of the certification community, increasing mobility among countries, enhancing public safety, and protecting consumers.

As the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) empowers its members and constituents to strengthen the U.S. marketplace position in the global economy while helping to assure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment.

NABCEP: So this is an international credential for NABCEP?

LW: Yes, it confirms the excellent work being done by NABCEP in North America – but also opens the door for expansion in the future. Other countries wouldn’t have to put NABCEP’s certification under a microscope, in the sense that the certification process has already been recognized with a world credential.

NABCEP: How was it decided that NABCEP earned the credential?

LW: ANSI accreditation is a lengthy and thorough process. NABCEP had to complete a voluminous application, providing documentation about its certification procedures.

NABCEP: Do you mean the test development process (February 08 newsletter) that we discussed last time?

LW: Yes, that’s a big part of it – but it also includes the organizational structure and governance of NABCEP, policies and procedures, the management system, record-keeping, subcontractors, confidentiality, security, personnel, decision on certification, evaluation, surveillance, and use of logo and marks.

Two trained auditors review the materials presented by NABCEP and then conduct an on-site audit to discuss the documentation, ask more questions, view evidence of procedures, and ask questions. The documentation and recommendations of the auditors are reviewed by a special board at ANSI and then the decision for accreditation is rendered. If the certification organization is granted accreditation, as NABCEP was, they begin a regular program of maintaining the credential. There are annual submissions of documentation, periodic on-site audits, and finally the whole cycle begins anew after five years.

NABCEP: Well, you said ‘thorough.’ That sounds like a lot of work for the organization.

LW: Yes, it’s a lot of work to earn the credential, and also to maintain it. That’s true of all ISO certifications.

NABCEP: I guess in this way the organization knows how it feels to be a ‘candidate.’ NABCEP received a credential just as they credential candidates.

LW: Great point, Jane. Both the ANSI and NABCEP credentials should bring a great sense of accomplishment and pride.

Bronx Community College PV Class offered

Filed under: News — nabcep @ 10:21 am

40 hour PV Installation Course at LaGuardia Community College, presented by the Center for Sustainable Energy at Bronx Community College is full.  The next PV class and Math/Electricity Basics will be offered at Bronx Community College in September.  Email jill.cotter@bcc.cuny.edu for updates. For more information, log on to www.csebcc.org

2nd Annual New York City Solar Summit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, June 17, 2008.  Registration open April 11 at www.csebcc.org

NABCEP Exam results

Filed under: News — nabcep @ 10:14 am

Wondering why it’s taking so long to get the results of your recent NABCEP exam?

A Conversation with NABCEP Board member Jane Pulaski and Dr. Lynn Webb of Professional Testing, Inc.

Since 2003, when NABCEP offered its first certifying exam, NABCEP has used Professional Testing, Inc. (PTI) as a full-service provider of assessment, evaluation and certification services.  Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, with offices in Tallahassee and the Metropolitan Washington D.C. area, PTI provides effective, valid, fair, reliable, and legally defensible assessment and evaluation services, helping businesses, industries, professional associations, and licensure/certification agencies ensure that today”s workforce is competent, and that the organizations administering the assessments are viable and credible.

Because this facet of certification is complicated and frequently misunderstood, NABCEP visited with Lynn Webb, Ed.D, psychometrician at PTI, to learn how it works with a client like NABCEP to develop highly specific certifying exams for PV and solar thermal.

Here’s our conversation:

JP:  Lynn, NABCEP has been offering its certifying exams since 2003.  From time to time, NABCEP gets questions about how the tests are developed and vetted.  NABCEP has used Professional Testing Inc. to assist with the development of the certification examination programs.  Can you talk a little bit about how PTI works with NABCEP on its very specific PV and Solar Thermal certifying exams?

LW:  The test development process is quite thorough, probably more so than most people would suspect.  It begins with a study of the tasks that people in the field of photovoltaic energy actually do; in this case, the PV and Solar Thermal Task Analyses.   From the results of the study of what people do on the job, we develop the blueprint for the certification examination.

A panel of content experts volunteer their time and expertise and serve as the examination committee. The examination committee uses the blueprint to write questions that will appear on the test.  All questions are referenced to a published source, rather than reflecting someone’s individual practice or opinion.  After an Examination Committee member writes a question, it is reviewed by the full panel of experts. Because the certification is national in scope, the Committee ensures that each question uses terminology that would be understood nationally, and if there is a regional component to the question (e.g., longitude or latitude), it is stated clearly.

JP:  So it sounds like this takes a long time.  I’m guessing it’s not a process where a couple of folks sit around a table and conjure up questions.

LW:  Exactly.  The Examination Committee is a very dedicated group that donates a lot of time and expertise to NABCEP.  Professional Testing guides the Committee to ensure that each question has only ONE best answer. There may be more than one answer that could be plausible, but one is clearly the best.  Professional Testing also guides the Committee to ensure that each question is properly referenced, stated clearly, and is free from bias or sensitivity issues. We ensure that test-wise examinees cannot guess the answer quickly from a clue within the question, rather than having the requisite knowledge.

The Examination Committee chooses from a pool the 60 questions that will comprise a test. No one is given a score on the test until Professional Testing checks the statistical performance of every question. Even after all the work described above, it may be that a question is interpreted differently by the various examinees – and the statistics will show a problem.  It may be that far more examinees choose an option that was not selected by the Committee as the best. Or, it could be that for a specific question, the people who scored highest on the test answered incorrectly, while the people who scored lowest on the test overall answered this question correctly.

That indicates to me that something about the question was confusing or misleading. The Examination Committee reviews all questions with unexpected statistical performance and decides if there was something vague or flawed in any question. If so, everyone is given credit for the question.  We don’t have many instances of giving everyone credit – but it is a great way to make sure that we are being fair about every question on every test.  The Examination Committee also considers the comments that examinees write when taking the examination.

JP:  So is this one of the reasons why it takes so long to get a score report?  Most people wish they could know their results sooner.

LW:  Yes, reviewing the statistical performance of every question and making the final scoring decisions, and sometimes re-scoring everyone just for one question – that takes some of the time between when people leave the test until they receive results.

JP:  Still, it seems to take forever for people to get the results of the test.

LW:  There is another step that adds to the time of the process. The Examination Committee conducts a study at the beginning of the certification program to recommend the score to pass the examination to the NABCEP Board. The standard to pass is criterion-referenced, which means that everyone who scores at the passing score or higher will pass, and everyone who scores lower than the passing score will fail. It’s the opposite of grading on a curve – it doesn’t matter if you test with the most able group or the least able group – you must meet the criterion to pass (or passing score).  The passing score is based on the 60 items of a specific test.

Instead of conducting passing score studies every six months for the new PV installer tests, Professional Testing statistically equates the tests. It is unlikely that we could make the test exactly the same in difficulty of questions every six months. Yet, if some people take the test in March, and other people take an easier test in September, we can all see that this would be unfair to the people who tested in March.

In order to ensure that the test maintains a constant level of difficulty, we statistically equate the passing standard from one administration to the next.  If the test in March, for example, is a little bit easier than the one from the previous fall, then examinees will need to answer more questions correctly than was required in the fall. The criterion to pass, set by the Examination Committee and approved by the Board, is upheld through this statistical process of equating.  (We’ll use statistical equating on the Solar Thermal examination once the number of people taking the test grows.)

JP:  So let me see if I follow:  after the verification that each of the 60 questions is okay and will count towards the examinees’ scores, AND the standard to pass is statistically equated to the criterion set by the Examination Committee and approved by the Board, then people receive their test results?

LW:  Yes – but the work of the Examination Committee keeps going!  If there were problems with any of the questions, they have to agree on how to fix the questions or delete them from the question pool. The test is different every six months, so the committee writes new questions annually. All those questions are reviewed….

JP:  Over and over and over?

LW:  Yes.  It’s not an inconsequential commitment to be on the Examination Committee.  But it’s a great way to network with other interested professionals, and they have the satisfaction of ensuring that only people with the requisite knowledge are NABCEP-certified.  The certification program is designed to ensure the safety of the public.

NABCEP News: December 2007

Filed under: News — nabcep @ 9:53 am

The December 2007 edition of the NABCEP News is now available.

NABCEP Awarded ISO 17024 Accreditation

Filed under: News — nabcep @ 9:41 am

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the single national organization that certifies Solar Electric/PV Installers, is very pleased to announce that it has earned the prestigious ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 Accreditation. This award validates NABCEP’s Solar PV Installer Certification Program by an independent, unbiased accreditation body.

ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 specifies requirements which ensure that organizations operating certification systems for persons operate in a consistent, comparable, and reliable manner. This accreditation includes rigorous requirements for examination development and maintenance and for quality management systems. ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 has been approved by 85 countries.

NABCEP’s Chair Ezra Auerbach says, “The ANSI award helps to increase solar energy’s acceptability in the marketplace by demonstrating the industry’s attention to quality, safety and standards.”

Jane Weissman, NABCEP Vice-Chair, adds that “With this designation, NABCEP shows that it is qualified to develop, deploy and manage the PV Installer Certification Program. With NABCEP certification and the ANSI accreditation, it can ease the need for government agencies to monitor installers.”

The NABCEP’s PV credential was launched in 2003. To date, there are 365 PV Certified Installers. There are a total of 40 states with PV Certified Installers including the District of Columbia. There are 3 certificants from Canada. The PV certificant pool will increase with the results of the September 29, 2007 exam.

NABCEP offers the PV Professional Certification exam twice a year. There are several ways that an applicant may qualify to sit for the certification examination. NABCEP recognizes that professionals in the field of renewable energy technologies receive their training and work experiences in a variety of ways. Therefore, each requirement to qualify for the exam stipulates specific training and/or experience. In 2008, the PV exam will be given on March 15 and September 13.

For more information on NABCEP requirements and the application and exam process, please contact Karen Christopher, Operations Manager at kchristopher@nabcep.org or 518-899-8186. Check www.nabcep.org for key documents and up-to-date news.

“The ANSI award ensures that we have a quality process…we know that we’re doing it right,” says Auerbach.