Solar Energy Training Keeps You and Your Crew on the Front Lines


Solar energy has not thoroughly penetrated the energy market yet due to its high initial costs for production and installation, but the push for renewable resources and the environmental cost of fossil fuels as well as their uncertain availability are changing that. Solar companies Melbourne Advances in the solar energy field that show potential for making solar energy the viable and desirable first choice are being made constantly. Keeping up with these advances is important for installers new materials and new construction methods mean there are new installation variables to consider. For contractors, it’s crucial to keep up. You must be able to clearly state the benefits of the available options, prove that you understand which option is best for a customer’s particular need, and maintain a crew of well-trained, up-to-date installers.

Online solar training is readily available and it’s an excellent start. HeatSpring Learning Institute and Solar Energy International are only two of several solar schools that offer extensive training online. In class and in follow-up discussions, you will be brought up to speed on new concerns in the industry. Some of the information will be a refresher for you, but sharing your experience and hearing that of others can gain you insight on problems that have new and improved solutions.

Beyond mere study is the desirable option of hands-on workshops. There is a huge variety of offerings for every experience level: workshops for those just entering the field, for professional electricians now learning to work with solar power, all the way up to advanced skills training for current members of the solar energy profession. You can take a week-long, out-of-state workshop or go local. Local has the advantage of focusing on situations and issues that arise where you are likely to be working; out-of-area workshops will broaden your knowledge base as they deal with concerns you may not routinely see.

To keep your company eligible to bid for the jobs you need, check often on certification requirements in your state and those states in your travel area. You don’t want to have to pass on jobs 50 miles over the state border only because you lack one or two certifications that are readily available to you and your crew. Look for the ISPQ (Institute for Sustainable Power Quality) accreditation certifying that a program has the required facilities and the recognized certification of faculty to offer the best solar training. Board recognized training is one of the requirements to be eligible to sit for the PV Entry Level Exam. The rigorous NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) PV Installer Certification is intended for the contractor or foreman himself (whichever person is responsible overall for the installation) and has prerequisites far beyond those of the Entry Level Exam. You can go directly to the official NABCEP site to research these when considering sitting for that certification exam.

Any of your installers who enroll in cheaper local or online classes that are not ISPQ certified should have a certified mentor on your team with whom to double-check his new knowledge. You don’t want to spread erroneous, out-of-date information but neither do you want your crew to pass up training opportunities. Experience is required for certification, so be certain that whatever one discovers is shared with the rest, verified, and then put into practice. Use every chance you have to keep your advantage of being at the forefront of this growing field.