NABCEP’s “Entry Level PV Exam” and “Solar PV Installer Certification”
Ontario Solar Academy’s 5-Day PV Design & Installation Course prepares participants to take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) “Entry Level PV Exam.” We encourage all of our students to take this entry level test as a step towards (but not a requirement for) becoming a NABCEP Certified PV Installer™ – the highest certification available in the industry to date. On requirements for becoming a NABCEP Certified PV Installer™, click here.
Growing Demand for Canadian NABCEP-Certified Instructors
While there are now over 1,000 NABCEP Certified PV Installers, as of August 2012 there are only 18 in all of Canada, and 12 of them are from Ontario! (click on the link and compare that with, for example, Massachusetts – a state with much less solar being installed!) World-wide, over 4,500 individuals have passed NABCEP’s Entry Level PV Exam. NABCEP now administers the Entry Level PV Exam via computerized testing at a Prometric Test Centre, a network of 10,000 test centers in 160 countries. To find a text centre near you, click here. Most Ontario Solar Academy students take the exam shortly after completing the 5 day training. The $125 CDN fee is included in the regular price of the course.
NABCEP encourages students who complete an intensive course like Ontario Solar Academy’s 5-Day Training, to spend 2-3 additional hours outside of class for each hour in class prior to taking the Entry Level Exam to “review the subject matter, solve problems, and study reference materials.” OSA is in the process of developing an online review course that will enable our students to take the NABCEP Entry Level Exam within 30 days of completing our 5-Day Solar PV Design & Installation Course.
We ask all students and potential students to review NABCEP’s policies at www.nabcep.org. In sum, NABCEP issues a suitable-for-framing “Passing Score Achievement” document to all successful test takers. This document is a way for recipients to “demonstrate that they have achieved a basic knowledge of the fundamental principles of the application, design, installation, and operation of grid-tied and stand-alone PV Systems.” The knowledge demonstrated by passing this test does not replace the knowledge, skills, or abilities of the electrical or other construction trades, or those of other professions or degree programs that require considerably more academic and/or practical experience.
Individuals passing the NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam should not be confused with NABCEP-Certified PV Installers. The latter can only be achieved by highly experienced individuals who have:
- passed a much more rigorous examination
- demonstrated the ability to supervise complete PV system installations
- have a detailed working knowledge of the electrical codes, standards, and accepted industry practice specific to solar PV installations
NABCEP Certification Update
As of January 2010, NABCEP’s Passing Score Achievement Document is no longer referred to as NABCEP’s Entry Level “Certificate of Knowledge,” and NABCEP requires all candidates who take the PV Entry Level Exam to sign a Disclaimer that acknowledges that they understand that achieving a passing score on the Exam does not make them a NABCEP-Certified PV Installer™.
Passing this exam, however, testifies to a practitioner’s basic knowledge, comprehension, and application of key terms and concepts of photovoltaic (solar electric) system operations suitable for a supervised, entry level position with a dealer and/or installer or other PV industry company.
Check NABCEP’s website for the next deadline to apply for the NABCEP Certified PV Installer™ exam. Ontario Solar Academy anticipates offering preparatory courses for this exam and to facilitate an Ontario exam site.
For more information, visit NABCEP’s Web site www.nabcep.org
NABCEP PV Entry Level Learning Objectives
Ontario Solar Academy’s 5-Day PV Design & Installation Course is based on a set of learning objectives developed by a NABCEP Committee of PV subject matter experts (SME) for the NABCEP PV Entry Level Program. The skills identified in this analysis do not replace electrical trades, technician, technologist, or engineering training.
The Learning Objectives include ten (10) skill sets:
- PV Markets and Applications
- Safety Basics
- Electricity Basics
- Solar Energy Fundamentals
- PV Module Fundamentals
- System Components
- PV System Sizing Principles
- PV System Electrical Design
- PV System Mechanical Design
- Performance Analysis, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting
For a detailed explanation of these objectives, download this PDF.
The North American Board for Certified Energy Practitioners, Inc. (NABCEP) is a national, voluntary, non-profit, professional credentialing organization led by industry stakeholders. NABCEP certifies qualified practitioners in the fields of renewable and sustainable energy and energy efficiency technologies, who have met the professional knowledge standards established by NABCEP. The goal of NABCEP is to assess and measure objectively the professional knowledge of renewable energy industry practitioners and to promote the advancement of the renewable energy industry. NABCEP is dedicated to the implementation of appropriate professional standards designed to protect consumers and the profession.