November 13, 2011

NABCEP Invites Comments on Revised PV Installer Eligibility Requirements

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 12:59 pm

November 4, 2011 (Clifton Park, NY)  – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) has revised the eligibility requirements for their flagship Photovoltaic Installer Certification. The new requirements increase mandatory training hours and required installations, better define system size, and provide more definition to allowable forms of education.

The draft revisions are available here.

Ezra Auerbach, NABCEP’s executive director, says, “The criteria to sit for the exam have not changed for many years, while over the same time period the industry has grown and matured.  We have a responsibility to candidates to ensure that the eligibility requirements are meaningful.”

Don Warfield, NABCEP’s chairperson says, “The eligibility requirements that were released today are marked ‘draft’ because our board of directors seeks comments from stakeholders that we can review and deliberate upon before we approve a final version at our December board meeting.”  Comments must be received no later than December 5, 2011 and may be submitted by email to Comments may also be sent by mail to NABCEP’s office at 56 Clifton Country Road, Suite 202, Clifton Park, NY 12065; please mark envelopes with “PV Comments.”

The revised eligibility requirements will come into effect on January 14, 2012 and will apply to all individuals wishing to take the September 2012 PV Installer Exams.

October 18, 2011

NABCEP Releases New Resource Guide for PV Installers

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 3:18 pm

October 19, 2011 (Dallas, TX)  – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) released today the preliminary version of the Resource Guide for PV Installer Certification at the Solar Power International Conference in Dallas, TX.  The document follows the PV Installer Job Task Analysis and provides study and material for candidates who are preparing for the NABCEP exam. It was prepared for NABCEP by two of the industry’s leading authors and trainers: Bill Brooks, PE and Jim Dunlop, PE.

Ezra Auerbach, executive director of NABCEP says, “We are very excited about the depth and quality of the new Resource Guide. While it is clearly not intended to be the definitive or only resource that candidates use to prepare for the exam, we feel that it will prove to be an excellent starting point. Bill and Jim have done an outstanding job.”

The document is marked “preliminary” because another section of secondary references and recommended reading is being added. Mr. Auerbach continues, “We released the Guide in its preliminary form because we felt that, even without the additional resources section, it is a very valuable tool for candidates. I thank the Resource Guide Committee for their huge contribution of compiling references and suggested readings and look forward to adding the results of their efforts to the Guide at the earliest opportunity.”

The NABCEP PV Installer Resource Guide is available as a free download from here.


October 4, 2011

NABCEP Revises PV Installer Job Task Analysis

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 2:01 pm

October 4, 2011 (Clifton Park, NY)  – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) released today a revised version of the Job Task Analysis (JTA) for their PV Installer Certification. Ezra Auerbach, Executive Director of NABCEP, says; “The revisions that were released for publication today address many of the questions and concerns that have been voiced since the JTA was published in the summer of 2010.” He continues, “There are very few changes of major substance; the job of the installer largely remains the same. The revision addresses the focus of the document and clarifies that the installer’s duties include review and adaption of the design of the system and that the installer is expected to start with a set of plans, materials, and manuals.”

The revisions were developed through a collaborative process that involved over twenty leading subject matter experts that serve on the PV Technical Committee. Don Warfield, chairperson of NABCEP, says; “I want to thank the volunteer members of the PV Technical Committee for the huge amount of effort that they have invested in this JTA. These detailed documents are the foundation of our credentialing programs. Their work is central to our ability to deliver meaningful and market-appropriate certifications.”

The JTA is available here.

September 29, 2011

NABCEP Releases Job Task Analysis for Solar Heating Installer Certification

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 2:31 pm

September 29, 2011 (Clifton Park, NY)  – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is pleased to announce the release of the revised and updated Job Task Analysis (JTA) for its Solar Heating Installer Certification. The JTA is the result of a collaborative process undertaken by a group of thirteen subject matter experts that volunteered their time and knowledge. It was then validated through an online survey process, to which more than 100 solar heating installation professionals responded.

Ezra Auerbach, Executive Director of NABCEP, says, “The JTA is a core element of any certification program and regular updates are necessary to ensure that the credential offered is based on most current best practices and technology in use. The JTA we are releasing today was developed in accordance with certification industry standards and, as such, continues to ensure the relevance of the NABCEP Solar Heating Installer Certification.”

Along with the release of this JTA comes a name change for the credential from Solar Thermal Installer to Solar Heating Installer. NABCEP Board Director and co-chair of the Solar Heating Technical Committee Les Nelson says, “This name change reflects the actual work done by NABCEP certificants in the field today, and helps clarify that these individuals have demonstrated knowledge of the various skills required to safely install solar heating systems. Over the last decade, solar thermal has come to mean large-scale solar heating projects designed to produce electricity. NABCEP Solar Heating Installer Certification reflects knowledge of the skills required to install smaller-scale distributed solar heating technologies. This name change will help avoid confusion between these different applications of solar heat technologies.”

The JTA is available on the NABCEP website at Solar Heating Installer JTA.

September 22, 2011

NABCEP Announces Continuing Education Conference

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 1:27 pm

September 22, 2011 (Clifton Park, NY)  –  The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is pleased to announce its first-ever Continuing Education (CE) Conference. This conference will be held from Friday, March 30th, 2012 until Sunday, April 1st, 2012 at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility in Malta, NY. The objective of this conference is to offer NABCEP certified installers and technical sales professionals an opportunity that allows them to fulfill their CE requirements at a single event. In combination with manufacturer’s training sessions, conference registrants will be able to attend workshops on the NEC, financial analysis, safety, and emerging fire codes.

The TEC-SMART location is home to one of the nations most advanced renewable energy training facilities. Available training space includes a PV lab, a computer lab, and classrooms. A number of industry-leading manufacturers have already signed up to participate in this conference including: Direct Power and Water, Magnum Energy, Morningstar, Outback Power, Power One, Quick Mount PV, Solar World, SMA, Solectria, Schletter, Trina Solar, and UniRac. Other companies that offer technical education to PV, Wind, and Solar Heating professionals are invited to contact NABCEP if they wish to take part in this event.

Ezra Auerbach, NABCEP’s executive director says, “We appreciate the support of NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research Development Authority) that enables us to host this event. We are limiting the first round of registration for this event to N.Y. State-based NABCEP certificants to ensure that all New Yorkers who wish to attend this conference have the first opportunity. Conference attendance will be capped at 200 to ensure the highest quality of training experience.”

Registration for this conference will open on October 15, 2011. Anyone interested in registering is invited to visit the conference website NABCEP expects to fill this event quickly and encourages those who want to attend to register early to ensure a place at the conference.

September 8, 2011

NABCEP Announces Availability of Solar Heating Entry Level Exam

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 4:29 pm

September 8, 2011 (Clifton Park, NY) – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is pleased to announce the official launch of its Solar Heating Entry Level Program. Building on the unprecedented success of the NABCEP Entry Level Photovoltaic Program, NABCEP has developed a similar program for the solar heating industry. Like other NABCEP Entry Level Programs this one is based on a set of industry developed and approved Learning Objectives. These Learning Objectives provide educators with guidance of what subject matter should be covered for a student to be successful in the knowledge assessment NABCEP offers in the form of an Entry Level Exam. Those who pass the exam are awarded Passing Score Achievement Documents.

Don Warfield, Chairperson of NABCEP states, “The PV Entry Level Exam Program has proven to be a great way for individuals to embark on careers in the solar electric industry; over 9,000 candidates have passed this exam, and many have gone on to work in PV industry related jobs. Over a quarter of those who have now become certified PV Installers started out in a PV Entry Level Program. We anticipate similar results from the Solar Heating Entry Level Program.”

Like the PV Entry Level Program, the exam will be offered in both paper and pencil and computer-based testing (CBT) format though NABCEP’s network of registered Exam Providers and Prometric testing centers. To qualify to take the exam, candidates will need to complete a training program at one of the NABCEP Registered Solar Heating Entry Level Exam Providers. A complete list of Registered PV and Solar Heating Entry Level Providers can be found at NABCEP’s website. Successful candidates for the Solar Heating Exam will receive a passing score achievement that states that they “…have demonstrated a basic knowledge of the fundamental principals of Solar Heating application, design, installation, operation and troubleshooting.”

Ezra Auerbach, NABCEP’s Executive Director states, “Thanks to the committed and hard work of a number of volunteers, we now can offer those wanting to enter the Solar Heating industry a knowledge assessment program that is meaningful and the first step towards installer certification. As always it is very important to note that a passing score achievement on an Entry Level Exam is NOT a certification, and successful candidates are in no way achieving NABCEP Certification.”

NABCEP invites all educators who are interested in training individuals for this exam to contact their office at 1-800-650-0021 for more information on becoming a registered provider. The first administrations of the exam in paper and pencil format will begin on October 1, 2011 with computer-based testing at Prometric Testing Centers to follow early in 2012.

August 10, 2011

NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification Next Exam Dates and Clarification of Eligibility Criteria

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 9:30 am

August 10, 2011 (Clifton Park, NY) – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is releasing today clarification of the eligibility criteria to sit for its PV Technical Sales Exam. The clarifications address: verifiable sales experience, what constitutes a proposal and training. The terms of the eligibility are effective immediately and all candidates wishing to apply for the next round of NABCEP PV Technical Sales Exam will be required to meet the criteria as published today.

The most significant clarifications in the criteria are:

Definition of proposal – Sales proposals must include the following information:  proposed PV system size in kW; evidence of a shade analysis; the amount of kWh the PV system is expected to produce annually; the revenue that the electricity generated will produce; the total cost of the system; any incentive or tax benefits that may be applied to the total cost.  Additional information may include the internal rate of return (IRR), payback period, cash flow over the life of the system, non-financial benefits, and any income that will be gained from renewable energy credits.

Definition of verifiable sales experience – Verifiable sales experience = Actively engaged in solar PV systems sales-related activities, including the completion of the number of solar PV system proposals required by the applicant’s Qualifying Category.  See, Section II.

For each of the four (4) solar PV system proposals to be completed in each twelve (12) month period prior to applying for NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification, the following requirements apply:

–  At least two (2) must have resulted in completed sales and installation;

–  At least 2 must relate to systems larger than 2kW DC (peak);

–  At least 1 of the installations must be a system that is grid connected; and,

–  No more than 1 proposal may be submitted to a relative or someone residing at the applicant’s address.  This proposal must have resulted in a completed sales and installation.

Ezra Auerbach, NABCEP’s executive director says, “These clarifications were adopted to make it easier for candidates to understand what is expected of them to qualify to sit for the PV Technical Sales Exam. They are the result of reviewing applications for the previous two rounds of testing and learning which terms required better definition.”

The next round of NABCEP PV Technical Sales exam will be held from January 21 to February 4, 2012. The deadline for submitting applications for this round of exams is November 14, 2011. NABCEP encourages those who wish to sit for the next round of exams to apply early. Application fees are discounted by 25% until October 14, 2011.

Please refer to the NABCEP website for complete details regarding eligibility criteria for the PV Technical Sales Certification.

July 29, 2011

Company Accreditation Survey is Open for Participation

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 9:52 am

July 29, 2011 (Clifton Park, NY) – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is pleased to report that work continues to advance on the Company Accreditation program that was announced earlier this year. Owners and senior management personnel of residential and light commercial PV Installation companies are invited to offer their views on the proposed accreditation program by taking part in an online survey. The survey presents the requirements and electives of the program and asks respondents to indicate their agreement with each standard and the length of time it would take the responding company to meet each proposed standard. There are sections for input on the suggested cost of accreditation and, of course, an opportunity to offer general comments on the accreditation program proposal.

A cornerstone of all NABCEP programs is ensuring that they meet the needs of the renewable energy markets that are served and the company accreditation program is no exception. The accreditation program criteria was developed through a collaborative process involving a committee of business owners and senior managers. The intent of the survey is to validate the work of the committee and gather input that will enable them to review the markets’ response to their efforts and further fine tune the criteria to meet the needs of the PV installation industry.

Ezra Auerbach, NABCEP’s executive director says, “There has been much interest in the past few years in a program that will enable PV installation companies to demonstrate that they meet the highest standards in the industry. The company accreditation program is intended to allow the most outstanding companies in the industry to distinguish themselves. It offers them a way to show their customers that the entire company is committed to quality assurance.”

Individuals should visit to take part in the survey before August 15, 2011.

July 6, 2011

NABCEP Presents First Walt Ratterman Award

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 2:40 pm

June 13, 2011 (Boulder, CO) – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) presented the first annual Walt Ratterman Award for Creative Community Energy to Wade Andrews of Namaste Solar in Boulder, Colorado on June 13, 2011. Wade, a NABCEP certificant, won for a 2010 domestic PV project on the Cal-Wood Education Center in Colorado.

The annual Walt Ratterman Award for Creative Community Energy was created by NABCEP to recognize and honor Walt Ratterman, one of NABCEP’s first certificants, who was killed while working in Haiti when the devastating earthquake struck in 2010. Walt’s astonishing renewable energy work among some of the worlds most needy was truly inspirational. Walt channeled his efforts into the non-profit company he co-founded, SunEnergy Power International (SunEPI). Since his death the company is no longer an active organization, although the website serves as a resource for past projects and a portal for supporting the  Solar Energy International (SEI) Walt Ratterman Scholarship Fund.  The company’s mission was “to promote an increased quality of life in remote, rural regions of the world through the use of renewable energy.” In addition to Haiti, Walt participated in humanitarian relief efforts in many diverse developing countries.

“By awarding this inaugural award to a domestic project, we hope it will inspire others to look around their own communities and see where work close to home can make a positive difference to the lives of their less fortunate neighbors,” said Ezra Auerbach, Executive Director of NABCEP.

Wade Andrews is a Namaste Solar co-owner and PV Installation Project Leader who led the crew that installed the system at Cal-Wood. “Namaste Solar is thrilled to be able to contribute to Cal-Wood’s ongoing mission by donating an 8.28 kW solar PV system to their main building,” said Wade. “Walt Ratterman is an inspiration to me and I look forward in the future to doing work further afield in honor of Walt,” he said during the award ceremony.

The system at Cal-Wood will allow both school students and adults who visit the center to learn about solar PV and its benefits. Many of the school students who visit Cal-Wood are from the city of Denver and often have had few if any experiences in the outdoors. Similarly, they may be unaware of renewable energy and its benefits.

The Walt Ratterman Award is presented each year to the NABCEP certificant who does the most creative public service oriented renewable energy project. Installations can be domestic or off shore and they must be performed at no charge for a not-for-profit or charitable organization. Don Warfield, chairperson of NABCEP says, “We hope the award will encourage more people to submit nominations next year for projects both here and abroad.”

Click here to leave the NABCEP site and go to Renewable Energy World to see video coverage of the award presentation. NABCEP does not endorse any advertisers on the REW site.”

April 1, 2011

NABCEP Announces Company Accreditation Program

Filed under: News — Brownstone @ 2:30 pm

April 1, 2011 (Clifton Park, NY) – The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) announced today that it has progressed sufficiently far with its Company Accreditation program to share basic details of this long awaited program. Ezra Auerbach, NABCEP’s executive director says, “An ever growing number of companies are contacting us and asking how they can become accredited to a NABCEP standard of excellence. We are very pleased to be able to say that companies which focus on PV installation will be the first type of business which NABCEP will offer accreditation to.” He continues, “We could not have gotten this far in the process without the support of our tireless volunteers.”

Working on a consensus basis the NABCEP Company Accreditation Committee, which represents a wide variety of types of solar businesses, has agreed to the basic precepts of the program. In brief all accredited companies will have to be fully accountable for quality assurance, safety, continuity and corporate citizenship. Each employee of the accredited company will be required to sign a code of ethics that binds them to the highest professional standards. Each accredited company will also agree to meet a set of minimum standards with respect to employment of trained and certified personnel along with documented customer service, training, safety and quality assurance programs. Accreditation will be awarded on the basis of meeting all minimum standards and earning at least 60 points based on “elective” company actions including hiring additional certified personnel, offering higher than required degrees of training and other similar commitments to corporate excellence. All accredited companies will agree to accept and pay for independent third party audits of the installation work they perform.

To ensure that this program will meet the needs of the PV industry, NABCEP will enter into an extensive and wide reaching process to gather input from stakeholders before the Company Accreditation Program is launched. The first step will be conducting an on-line survey to validate the standards set forth by the committee. Company owners, their employees, policy makers and consumers are invited to take part in the survey that will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Those who are willing to be surveyed should email with the subject line “Company Accreditation”; doing so will automatically put those individuals on a to-be contacted list when the survey launches.

After the survey is completed and results are reviewed NABCEP will revise their plan as necessary to reflect the feedback received. It will then host a series of web based “town hall” meetings to unveil a revised draft of the Company Accreditation Program and get a final round of input. Only those who have completed the survey will be invited to participate in these meetings.

Don Warfield, chairperson of NABCEP says, “We feel that it is very important to engage in such a far reaching input process to ensure that this program has the full support of the PV industry and look forward to a high degree of stakeholder participation and lively dialogue.”

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