Installer certification: are more standards better?

Since 2002, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) has been certifying renewable energy practitioners, including solar PV, solar thermal, and later this year, small wind.  Since the first certifying exam was administered in October 2003, more than 1,091 have attained NABCEP PV certification and 132 have their solar thermal certification. The first small wind certifying exam will be administered in September 2010.

Underwriters Laboratory (UL),  the organization known for certifying products like dishwashers and light bulbs, has recently entered the practitioner certification arena with UL University.

As competition comes to the credentialing space, what does that mean for the practitioner?  Whose standard will be recognized?

“It’s a very chaotic and confusing market out there,” says Weissman. “I want to make sure that we have safe competent workers on the roof and that the public isn’t confused about who’s doing what under what kind of competencies.”

Ezra Auerbach, Executive Director of NABCEP, feels that using an existing certification program is the more efficient way to go.

IREC’s Jane Weissman, NABCEP’s Ezra Auerbach, and UL University’s Brad Smock, square off in a roundtable discussion about this topic at ASES 10 in Phoenix. Listen to the podcast


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