SolarPanelTalk.com: NABCEP Russ
fantastic moderator, and it won’t take long to see why 🙂
#1 02-03-2011 09:18 PM NABCEP Russ
#2 02-04-2011 03:15 AM russ
Hi Russ, A couple of questions if you would –
The NABCEP part – is that sales certification? Installer certification?
The solar engineer part – what discipline is that a branch of? Electrical or electronics engineer specializing in solar possibly?
What does the NABCEP certification specifically qualify you to do?
Solar Integrator? Does that mean middle man? Or is some beneficial service provided?
#3 02-04-2011 04:04 AM NABCEP Russ
I hold NABCEP PV installer certification.
When I said solar engineer I was referring to the electrical engineering of turnkey solar systems. I design systems not components.
NABCEP doesn’t give any specific qualifications. It’s the most widely recognized solar certification in the US and is used by many state incentive programs to qualify installers. In order to get the certification you have to prove a certain level of experience in the field as well as pass a rigorous exam covering design, installation, and safety procedures.
I guess they don’t use the term in Turkey, but in the US, the term integrator is thrown around similarly to installer. It essentially differentiates you from a company that just installs solar. We provide turnkey services including design, rebate assistance, maintenance, monitoring, consulting, etc. There are companies that do only installation that are often hired as subcontractors by a company like us. We however for the most part do our own in house installations.
Thank you for the warm welcome to the site. I have been oh so encouraged to contribute to your site.
#4 02-04-2011 04:14 AM russ
Again, I was born in the US and lived there many years before finally retiring in Turkey.
So you are an electrical engineer?
Flashing a designator like NABCEP in front of your name is a turn off to me. It is a certificate that has nothing to do with anything – other than that you have taken time to pass an exam – Many have the certification and you never hear of it.
Most people have very little idea about the solar field and do not know what the various certifications and ‘green’ courses now being offered really stand for. They are easily led down various paths out of ignorance – unfortunately.
#5 02-04-2011 04:25 AM NABCEP Russ
Unfortunately in this field, there is no universal certification that shows you know anything about the field. Anyone can get a “solar certification” at a local community college in a day. Nabcep is trying to fill that void by offering a certification process that confirms experience in the field and is relatively difficult to attain. It is becoming more widely known and accepted in the US.
You are correct that people can be easily led down a path of ignorance with random “certifications”. That is what nabcep is trying to eliminate by being difficult to obtain. The more widely accepted the better.
Ive only flashed it in front of my name because you took my first choice and it was the first thing solar related I thought of.
#6 02-04-2011 10:19 AM Jason
Welcome to SPT Russ!
Glad you found us and decided to sign up to contribute. It’s greatly appreciated!
I look forward to reading your posts! :julie:
*also please keep in mind there are some occasional folk that join, talk up their “experience”, and have an alternative motive. this is a hyped up market, so seeing fakes is a common occurrence. thats what keeps this board full of high quality content. Our Russ is a fantastic moderator, and it won’t take long to see why 🙂 thanks again.
#7 02-05-2011 06:30 AM jimmychacha
Also from PA
Hi Russ, I am also from Pa, (mount carmel), and I also hold the NABCEP certification (entry level). I would like to start my own business installing, but I need to get this info mastered first. I appreciate the opportunity to share knowledge with you and everyone else on this site. Hopefully I can contribute once in a while as well!
#8 02-05-2011 07:12 AM NABCEP Russ
Good luck! I was in your position before. It’s a tough road ahead. If you have questions or need advice feel free to PM me.
#9 02-05-2011 07:16 AM Sunking
Oh I don’t know about that. Licensed PE or electrician carries a lot of weight and I would take a licensed Master Electrician over a NABCEP certification any day of the week. With a Master Electrician I know that person has at least 2 years formal education, 8 years continual education and at least 10 years experience. With NABCEP I can get some kid that dropped out of high school or a roofer who does not speak English :p.
#10 02-05-2011 07:43 AM NABCEP Russ
Sure but 95% of master electricians and licensed PEs know nothing about solar. There’s more to it than just electrical work. An electrician could be clueless when it comes to the structural end of things. An ideal combination for certification would be a PE or master electrician with NABCEP in addition.
And I wouldn’t be so quick to discount NABCEP. It has education and industry experience qualifications as well as continuing education requirements. The exam itself is also very in depth covering all aspects of solar, not only electrical, but structural design, safety, and best practices. I’d also think you’d be hard pressed to find a dropout or some dumb roofer who can pass the exam.
#11 02-05-2011 10:17 AM Sunking
NABCEP is tailored for sales persons, liscensed electricians and electrical contractors. I know the man personally who wrote the curriculum and NEC Article 690 (John Wiley). I sat on some of the same code making panels he serves on. With a electrical contractor license you can can pull the permits, with a electrical liscense you can do the work for hire no NABCEP certification required in any state.
With a NABCEP certification you cannot do the work or pull the permits without a licensed electrical contractor pulling the permits or do the work unless supervised directly by a licensed electrician. Effectively meaning you are an apprentice working to earn your license some day In other words it is not recognized by any authority having jurisdiction. A PE, Master, or Residential Electrician already has all the skills, education, license, and experience to do solar work. It takes about a day to learn from reading a book written by John and it is free. As for the structural, that takes a PE to sign off for, not a NABCEP certification.
#12 02-05-2011 10:43 AM NABCEP Russ
I agree with you 100%. NABCEP on it’s own is pretty meaningless. It doesn’t give you any authority on it’s own. It’s clearly suited as a supplement to electrician or engineer. It is a worthy certification though because it confirms experience in solar. Like I said before you can have a PE or Electricians license and have no experience or knowledge in solar.
They do have a certification geared towered sales, but that’s not what I hold.
Also, NABCEP is recognized by certain state rebate programs and is a fast way to be approved to work with them.
P.S. I assume you meant John Wiles. I think everyone knows who he is. Nice name drop though.
#13 02-05-2011 11:59 AM Sunking
Yep a typo.
Where I see the benfit of NABCEP is a residential or commercial electrician as it adds a nice entry to the Resume that might be useful to some electrical contracting company to hire him that does solar as part of their business model, or to a salesman who works for an electrical or roofing contractor to go out to the customers home, pitch the product, and gather the required information to give to the designer or engineer.
I do mostly commercial solar for telephone and oil companies, no residential to speak of because there is no real money in it for my architectural design/build firm. Most of the work is off-grid battery for telemetry and cellular radio in remote areas. Have done some large scale grid tied for large business with Walmart 500 Kw being the largest single project. 90% of all the contractors i hire are commercial electrical contracting. When a roof is involved they sub contract out to a roofing contractor. A small percentage of solar contractors I have dealt with are roofing companies who sub contract the electrical out.
Then the small stuff we do with solar is retainer contracts with roofing and electrical contractors who do cookie cutter installs where we pre-design all their systems, and when they make a sale gives us the details and modify for the project and Stamp It for permits and construction.
But all in all solar only makes up about 5 to 10 % of all our business. If it were only green energy, I would have no business or employing people. The real money is in utility power generation, transmission, and industrial electrical. If the government would get out of the way I could employ a hundred or more people instead of just 9 or 10 which I might have to start laying them off.
#14 02-05-2011 03:03 PM jimmychacha
Or, you might get a well-versed English speaking former Steelworker and CNC machinist, who lost his job after 15 years of service, then when back to school and earned an AAS in Electronics Engineering, a Certificate of Specialization in Sustainable Energy, the LEED Green Associate accredidation, as well as the NABCEP certification.
No disrespect to journeymen or master electricians who put in their time, but there are those eager to learn the right way to do things. In addition, PA residents are only eligible for solar rebates if they use a contractor on a certain list managed by DEP. NABCEP certification is one path to get oneself on that list.
#15 02-05-2011 03:20 PM Sunking
Jimmy without the electrical or electrical contracting license you cannot do the work for hire. No authority having jurisdiction will allow it. The key is the license, not the certification. The AEES degree is the first step to get the electrical license, then the required 2 to 5 years of documented apprenticeship (2000 hours of pay check stubs), then take the license written test. Any electrician can spend a couple of days reading the NABCEP material and pass the test as they already know most of all the principles and math involved.
I am not trying to discourage anyone from obtaining the certification, especially electrical contractors, but receiving the certification does not permit you to do any installation work. You would have to hire an electrical contractor to do it. Any electrical contractor needing a NABCEP certified member to qualify for state incentives is easy; Either send one of your electricians to take the test, or hire an electrician with the certification.
#16 02-05-2011 09:12 PM russ
P.S. I assume you meant John Wiles. I think everyone knows who he is. Nice name drop though.
Cute NABCEP Russ. Not much class and wrong but cute.
#17 02-06-2011 03:27 PM NABCEP Russ
Sorry just put off by all of the high and mighty know it all talk down to you attitudes from the people here. Don’t think I’m going to be wasting much more time on here… Too many solar panels to install.
And btw, we’re not an electrical contractor and we pull our permits no problem. I do have an electrician do the required work but not the whole thing. Electricians aren’t necessarily qualified to mount the panels nor have the skills necessary to align the panels and make them look good.
#18 02-06-2011 03:30 PM NABCEP Russ
Jimmy dont worry I’m with ya. I’m in the same boat. No aspiration to become an electrician or electrical contractor. You’ll have no problem doing jobs in PA. All you have to do is sub out the necessary electrical work.
#19 02-06-2011 05:47 PM jimmychacha
I’m getting the same impression about this “forum”.
#20 02-06-2011 06:39 PM Sunking
OK then if not an electrical contractor, then what trade? Roofing, home improvement, mechanical, HVAC?
In PA contractor license are issued on the county or city level, and all contractors are to be registered with the state to comply with Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (PA HICPA), Act 132 (Senate Bill 100 of 2007) for any contract work over $500.
All states require contractors for hire to have license. This is to protect both the contractor and more importantly the consumer. One of the requirements for any contractor liscense is to be bonded and insured to protect the homeowner or business.
That is not picking on anyone, that is just a fact of doing contract work
#21 02-06-2011 06:55 PM NABCEP Russ
Were a home improvement contractor. We’re registered with the state. Fortunately since the state licensing program came into effect, we don’t have to get licenses in each city or county. The state license is pretty much accepted in lieu of local licenses.
#22 02-06-2011 07:04 PM Sunking
That is my point, you have to be a licensed contractor of some kind to pull a permit. Then by your own admission you have to sub contract an electrical contractor to do the work. That is not picking on you.
#23 02-06-2011 07:29 PM NABCEP Russ
Yeah i was just making the point that you don’t have to be particularly an electrical contractor. And also, I was never meaning to say you in particular were picking on me. You’ve been the most reasonable really.
#24 02-07-2011 09:42 AM TNeron-Bancel
Good afternoon everyone,
As an employee and regular representative of NABCEP at conferences, I would like to clarify something that has popped up across this thread.
There seems to be a confusion between the NABCEP Entry Level Exam and the NABCEP PV Installer Certification. The Entry Level Exam is not a certification. It is an exam administered by a network of registered providers that can offer it to students who complete their entry level solar PV course. Achieving this exam shows a basic understanding of the design and installation of solar PV systems and does not qualify anyone to install. In the past, this exam was called the Certificate of Knowledge which is why some people think that it is a certification. As you can see from my this thread, we’re still trying to make this distinction clear.
The PV Installer certification is NABCEP’s flagship program and in order to sit for this exam, an applicant needs to show of combination of experience as the lead installer along with training or education. All NABCEP Certified Installers can be found listed on our website on our Installer Locator.
I’d like to end with saying that we haven’t positioned our PV Installer certification to be a substitute for any electrical or solar installation license. Ultimately, it is up to the states to establish that.
In regards to the usefulness or value of the NABCEP PV Installer certification, I’ll leave that up to your discussion but if you have any questions about our programs which include the new PV Techincal Sales certification, please feel free to contact us at (800) 654-0021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
#25 02-07-2011 09:54 AM russ
Hi TNeron-Bancel – Welcome to Solar Panel Talk!
Thanks for your post and the clarifications. We appreciate you taking time to make the post.
|05-14-2011 01:35 PM #130
How did you get to be a moderator here? You must really enjoy hearing yourself talk because, clearly, you have no capacity for hearing anyone else’s facts or opinions.