In an industry that keeps growing exponentially through continued investment and financing from both private and public funding, the search for quality and recognition will be necessary for the future. Even a medium sized solar system which generates around 815 kWh a month, and cost around $10,000 and has a lifetime up to 30 years, is a major investment for most homeowners. So how does the industry guarantee quality installations across the board for different markets and applications? The answer is the NABCEP Certification, a nationally recognized credential to that indicates an installer has the experience and knowledge to perform safe, effective work. It is not a mandatory certification, but is increasingly becoming more valuable as it demonstrates that you have a qualifying level of solar PV training and thus are competent in the field.
The United States is poised for a major transformation in how it gathers, distributes and uses energy. Not surprisingly, the way in which the country educates its workforce must also be altered to handle this transition. As conventional energy sources become more costly in both economic and environmental terms, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries are accelerating.
The nation possesses a tremendous diversity of renewable energy resources and a solid base of clean energy companies through which to exploit that potential.
These companies are offering innovative, well-paying jobs, but are often not always able to find enough skilled workers to satisfy demand. In order to fill these positions, a system of education must be developed that utilizes existing skills, emphasizes job readiness, and is backed by industry certifications.
Global wind energy capacity has seen spectacular growth in recent years. The United States and China led the pack in 2012, each adding approximately 13 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity. While the most efficient wind turbines are already approaching grid parity, on the whole, wind still requires some form of government support to serve as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
The 2012 third annual National Solar Jobs Census reported that U.S. solar industry employed close to 120,000 people. In the last year, the employment in the industry grew by 13.2%. By 2030, according to the DOE SunShot Vision Study, the solar industry will create 290,000 new solar jobs.
“I see electricians going into the solar market, structural steel companies going into constructing solar mounting systems,” said Avi Yashchin, CEO of CleanEdison, Inc., the nation’s largest clean-tech training provider, in an interview with Bloomberg.
To support this growth, the industry will need skilled professionals. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) created a Solar Career Map to help individual’s locate career opportunities in their area.
Professional Training and Certification
There are three major types of solar workforce training and education currently offered in the U.S.:
Entry-level Solar Training- the most prevalent type of training is offered by hundreds of organizations from colleges to vocational schools. Many of them are registered with North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and use its Entry-Level Learning Objectives.
Advanced Solar Training – targeted to specific jobs, for example installers, or sales professionals, or maintenance personnel. Typically, these people already work in the field and want career advancement.
Continuing Education - for on-going professional development to stay up-to-date with new equipment, installation or sales tools, codes and standards. A lot of this type of classes are sponsored by vendors and manufacturers.Even professionals who are very experienced in other areas of building industry, but not in solar, will benefit from training. The cost of mistakes is high.
The growth of the solar industry may soon face the reality of not having enough skilled workers to satisfy demand, suggests a recent report by The Solar Foundation and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Despite a dragging economy overall, installed solar capacity has increased dramatically in the past few years. In 2011 alone, the cumulative installed solar capacity in the United States nearly doubled from 2,095 MW to 3,950 MW. Should the industry continue along the base-line forecast, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) forecasts that 75% of the U.S. solar market will attain grid-parity by 2015. This could unlock even higher levels of adoption and create a real distance between the demand and supply of solar installation professionals.
The report suggests that this growth has been fueled by more than just government incentives; “evidence shows that a qualified, trained, and certified workforce performs installations that result in fewer problems at the time of inspection and, as such, have a direct impact on lowering costs for project developers, consumers, and inspection authorities.” Furthermore, as the industry matures, labor productivity increases and fewer employees are required per megawatt of equipment production or system installation, lowering the price further.
The best part of this job is getting to know our students and helping them advance their own career as we work together to solve this country’s energy situation. Check out some pictures from our latest Solar PV Installation training course.
Okay, so you’ve got some equipment, you’ve got some know-how and you are ready to get out there and become a solar installer. Sounds easy enough, I mean everyone is talking about it, right? Well yes, but before you start going onto people’s roofs and drawing high-voltage DC electricity from the sun, you should know the common mistakes that others (many others) have made before you. This is by no means a list of all the questions you will have, or problems you will run into, but it should help dispel some misconceptions you may have about solar energy.
I learned that solar PV panels lose their efficiency as they get hotter, but I also know that solar thermal collectors use water heated by the sun for use in the home. I could just use the water to simultaneously cool the PV panels and then get heated for hot water use, I’m a genius!
I don’t blame anyone for thinking this, I know I did at first, as I’m sure 90% of people first learning about solar energy have. The truth is that the math doesn’t work out. In order for your hot water to be a sufficient for uses such a showering and washing dishes, it should be in the tank at 120° Fahrenheit, which means it would have to be 130°F on the roof and the solar panels would have to be 140°-150°F. This is a far cry from the optimal temperature of most solar PV brands at 77°F. So either you’ll be showering in cold water, or you’ll be waiting an awfully long time to get a return on those inefficient solar panels (which you’ll need to combat the 140° temperature outside)
Once you’ve decided to implement solar energy alternatives at your residence or place of business, the next logical step is to choose a reliable solar installer. But how do you find the solar installer that’s right for you? Selecting any installer online or in the Yellow Pages isn’t always the smartest choice. Here are a few tips to find the best solar installers in your area:
- Look for the Right Credentials: A solar installer should be certified by the NABCEP, the most respected national standard certification program in the solar industry at the moment. There are two NABCEP certifications: an entry level and a full professional installer certification, so be sure to look for the latter. This will guarantee that your installer also has at least two years of hands-on experience in the field. Checking with the Better Business Bureau is always a good choice as well.
- Look for the Right Experience: If an installer doesn’t have the NABCEP certification, make sure they have several years of hands-on experience and come with good recommendations in-tow. Look for training experience as well; though you should keep in mind that many of the formal degree and training programs in the field are fairly new. Keep in mind that while traditional electricians are experienced with standard electrical systems, this does not mean they are capable of a full PV installation.
- Look Closely at Warranties/Compare Quotes: Explore the warranties surrounding the parts installers use. This will give you information about when you will need to replace parts and overall costs for the system. Remember that low prices may not always be the best choice in the long run, as you’ll want your system to last a long time in order to have the largest return on investment. Compare quotes from several different companies and use your intellect and instincts to determine which is the best fit for you!
In short, do your research and trust your instincts. If a company offers the lowest rates in town, make sure their service is up-to-par as well. Do you have any other tips for choosing a reliable solar installer? We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave comments!
The Home Star program introduced by the government aims to reward consumers with rebates on purchase of energy efficient products, so that energy efficiency is maximized in residential projects.
To scale down non renewable energy consumption, the home star energy program recommends the use of solar, wind and geothermal energy.
Are you aware that solar energy is available free of cost, and generates no waste?
Experts are of the opinion that to maximize the effectiveness of the concept, Solar Energy Training can train professionals and bring out optimum performance.
Reputed institutes and online training providers have come up with training programs which offers correct technical knowledge to complete solar projects with skill.
Solar Energy Training is targeted to create a line of professionals who can seal the future of the nation by roping in the benefits of the most powerful source of light and energy- the Sun. Pass with flying colors and get absorbed into a lucrative job market.
Companies, who want to gain an edge over others, can come forward and opt for Solar Energy Training for professionals. This would definitely help them in roping in more clients and revenue to their business.
With the recent stress on energy savings through the Home Star program, consumers are sure to make a beeline for services employing alternative sources of energy.
Solar Energy Training mainly concentrates on designing of solar electric system, installation and safety procedures. As a professional you can benefit residential projects. Solar hot water ventures are also in demand now-a-days.
Professionals from every field can avail Solar Energy training. Builders, contractors, suppliers, salespersons and investors – come one, come all and grab this grand chance to create a greener environment through this course.
Many institutes are now organizing Solar Boot camps to give intensive training to the professional through class room schedules, on-field training and special software. The system of solar electricity is laid out in detail in the courses for complete guidance on designing, fitting and safety features.
Professionals who know about photovoltaic will gain from Solar Energy Training as this touches upon the essentials of solar energy utilization.
The course also involves hands-on training to optimize residential solar energy efficiency. It covers training on wiring up different types of inverters, mounting solar panels and fixing with attachments. Techniques and procedures to tie in the utility of AC/DC disconnects and inverters are also included.
Solar Energy Training has been modeled for you into basic and advanced courses.
If you are looking for investing yourself with knowledge about Solar Energy training feel free to visit any reputed institution for guidance. Great initiative for sunny countries!
All reputed institutes offer courses in Photovoltaic designs, installation of solar panels, employing of safety features and solar marketing. With the recent developments in the energy field with Home Star Energy program, the need to tap solar energy, as an eco-friendly alternative has increased.
Go ahead and explore the amazing power of the Sun!
by Robert Gluck
The United States Marine Corps…….….the few, the proud, and now, also the GREEN.
The marines at Camp Pendleton have decided to concentrate on renewable energy and fulfill their duty to the Mother Nature by turning their focus on safe environment-friendly ‘green’ ways.
The ‘greens’ will now have their hands full with the protection of the environment along with the country that they took an oath to safeguard.
Yes, this also translates to green jobs and green jobs training and maybe courses such as LEED AP certification and energy audit certification for marines interested to ‘go green’ in everyway.
According to an article titled “Camp Pendleton Recognized for Green Facility” written by Cpl. Shannon McMilan for the publication Scout, the military is gaining notoriety for going green.
McMilan wrote that the Industrial Environment Association recognized the Camp for its South Mesa Temporary Lodging Facility during the second annual Statewide Environment Summit at the Catamaran Resort Hotel in San Diego.
“Camp Pendleton received special acknowledgment for their sustainable green TLF, which has been designed to let in natural light, has an automated electrical system to turn lights on and off automatically, has employees that are mandated to recycle and the building itself is made of recyclable material,” wrote McMilan.
In her article McMilan quotes George Rogers, CEO of Design and Build, who says that Camp Pendleton is committed to being a great steward to the environment.
“The base is minimizing its effect on the environment, while accomplishing the mission of providing lodging for Marines, sailors and families,” said Rogers who lead the development of the green project.
So hazardous waste will be properly and safely disposed off and oils and lubricants will be recycled.
The facility opened in June 2009 and received certification by the California Green lodging Program and the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard, two green-certified programs.
The lodge has also developed a Green Building Action Plan, which not only includes an employee green operations training program but provides lodging occupants with green-facility brochures.
According to Patty Krebs, executive director of the Industrial Environmental Association – “it’s outstanding that Camp Pendleton is trying to teach Marines, sailors and families how to be green by educating all occupants who stay at the lodging.”
When we talk about green education then who better than Cleanedison and their myriad variety of courses from LEED certification, BPI certification, solar energy training, Energy auditor certification and many more to intrigue you, inform you and qualify you to be become a truly ‘green’ professional.
LEED Green associate is especially for individuals desiring knowledge of environment-friendly designs and construction for schools, homes etc.
“Across the board, Camp Pendleton has a high-level of awareness. They don’t react to compliance. They go above and beyond,” she added.
Camp Pendleton officials and project leaders are proud of their accomplishment and honored to be recognized for their fresh ‘green’ efforts.
“It’s a wonderful thing to be recognized,” Frank Winter, pollution prevention coordinator at Camp Pendleton told McMilan.
“We did something good for the environment. We built a great building, a green building, and we are proud of it. The Marine Corps is saving money and keeping the environment safe. A lot of thought was put into it for Marines, occupants and the environment.”
Kudos to the Marines for joining the ever-expanding green force, capitalizing on renewable energy, acting on sustainable energy-recycling steps, making more ‘green jobs’ and hence making the World a little more green.