“Today, we see emerging as a pressing priority quality third party validation of specialty skills both for clean energy allied professionals whose jobs ‘touch’ solar in some way and for add-on skills for full-scope credentials that currently exist within the clean energy professions.”
Anna Sullivan, Director of Credentialing
The rise of full-scope clean energy certification schemes to support early growth provided rigor and helped to structure job definitions and much-needed competency-based assessments of personnel. But with continued market expansion, full-scope certification schemes alone have not always met the needs of employers to recruit and promote personnel with the right blend of validated skills.
The drivers behind IREC’s development of a micro-credentialing framework are in direct response to an identified gap in the credentialing landscape.
IREC developed a nimbler framework to validate specialty skills and competencies that would co-exist alongside full-scope certification schemes. The term ‘micro-credential’ was selected as the best descriptor for the product, although the term is still in flux in the market. A micro-credential as defined by IREC is viewed as an opportunity for individuals to demonstrate competency in a specialty area.
Candidates for a micro-credential may or may not be in the core profession, but some portion of their job might call for a specific set of knowledge and skills associated with the relevant core profession to be performed competently and safely. In other words, a micro-credential does not typically cover a full job description.
Micro-credentials can also apply to practitioners in a specific field who wish to add defined specialties to existing certifications or to reach a higher credentialed status through stackable credentials.
For example, practitioners who are already certified as photovoltaic system (PV) installers may need to demonstrate proficiency in integrating the latest technology in energy storage or other specialty skills that were not originally validated when the certification was attained.
National Apartment Association Micro-credential
IREC’s partnership with the National Apartment Association, IREC added an energy efficiency micro-credential to the group’s existing certified apartment maintenance technician track. The add-on credential covers everything from recognizing when energy efficiency maintenance is needed to sourcing contractors to communicating with residents about energy efficiency. This strategy could be used similarly with solar, adding solar installation as an add-on skill for roofers or builders or other related fields.