December 1, 2015

NABCEP Profile Interview

Kelly Provence is one of a very small number of people who holds three NABCEP Certifications: PV Solar Installer, Solar Thermal Installer and PV Technical Sales. Kelly is the owner of Solairgen School of Solar Technology located in Dahlonega, Georgia. Solairgen is a training company, which offers a complete program for electric solar panel installers and PV technical salespeople. Kelly is also an IREC/ISPQ Certified Master Trainer and a licensed master electrician.

In a personal interview, Kelly said, “I have always been an environmentalist, so in the late 1990s I felt it was time to take a serious look at my own ecological values, so I began incorporating PV installations into my electrical business.

“In 2002, I began focusing my efforts solely on PV, installing mainly off-grid and battery back-up systems. I branched out into solar thermal installations from there and sought certification in that area. Getting my NABCEP PV and Solar Thermal Installer certifications definitely opened doors for me; I received multiple job offers because of my NABCEP Certifications.

“After three years volunteering as a Director with the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA), lobbying state and federal politicians on environmental issues, I realized there was a need for competent installation training, and there was no training facility in Georgia.

“It became clear that the solar installation industry needed a way to recognize experienced installers, and I shared NABCEP’s core purpose of maintaining high industry standards. I sat for my first certification, NABCEP PV Installer exam, and since then I have consistently advocated for NABCEP Certifications to all my students.

“In 2005 I transitioned the company to solar training exclusively, and it’s now my full time occupation. Approximately 50% of the people installing in the state have taken Solairgen training, and many of them have gone on to become NABCEP certified professionals. Today, many entities in the state, such as Georgia Electrical Membership Companies (EMCs), recommend or require installations to be performed by NABCEP certified contractors.

“My NABCEP Certifications tell customers I have achieved high-level skills, and lets them know I didn’t get into this yesterday. NABCEP Certification distinguishes individuals within the industry.

“I went for the PV Technical Sales Rep certification because students needed to be confident I have expertise in the subject I’m teaching, and I needed to know what the test was like.

“My customers respond positively because they understand NABCEP is the best example of self-regulation within the industry. I support it 100%. My students know what NABCEP Certification means to their careers; most are on track to become NABCEP Certified Installers or PV Technical Sales Reps.

“I will definitely be re-certifying when the time to do so comes up.”



Solar Energy Classes You Should Take

Solar Panel Training Classes

Solar Panel Training Classes

Solar powered cars and homes have been talked about for years but many people do not realize how mainstream they have become. Well, maybe not the cars, but a lot of people are cutting costs on their utility bills through Solar Panel Installation. Larger PV systems sometimes generate enough power so that customers can actually sell the extra power generated by their system back to the electric company. This is called “Net Metering”. With the popularity of Solar Panel Installation and Solar Thermal Installation on the rise, there is a continual need for technicians with Solar Training Certification. If you are looking for a new career, then it is a great time to start taking Solar Classes and earn your Solar Training Certification.

1. PV (Photovoltaic) Design and Installation – This is the essential in the Solar Training industry. It teaches the basics of Solar Panel Installation. You will learn all about the installation process, from terms and concepts to the specifics of major components, such as the inverter, module (or “panel”) and mounting system.

2. Battery Systems – This class teaches you how to design a dependable battery backup system, whether it is on the grid or off the grid. Taking this course along with the PV Design and Installation course prepares you for the NABCEP Certified PV Installer Exam, Certified PV Technical Sales Exam and the Entry Level Achievement Exam. Taking the two classes is the best way to fulfill your coursework requirements and get a seat for the Certification exam.

3. Solar Thermal System Design and Installation – These Solar Classes are designed to teach the installation of solar thermal (“hot water”) energy systems for the home or pool. Solar Thermal is most popular in the residential market because it can add 100% of its original cost to the resale value of a home – and will continue to save the home owner money throughout the life of the system.

4. NABCEP PV Exam Prep – This is for people who have completed the class hours and experience training, and qualify for the Solar Training Certification test. Exam Prep is an intense study session class, covering everything from troubleshooting PV systems, to finding your way through the NEC, and the formulas that you will need to make calculations on the exam. It is a great way to refresh your knowledge from the course work from your basic Solar Classes, and the best way to prepare for the NABCEP Installer Certification Exam.


IREC Accredited Solar Panel TrainingWhat are NABCEP and IREC?

If you have been looking into Solar Panel Installation Training, then you have probably heard of NABCEP and IREC, but have no idea who they are, or what they mean to your training. Essentially, they are the regulatory bodies who make sure solar power technicians, and solar training companies, have received the certification or accreditation they need to provide their customers with quality installation service and expert training.

NABCEP - the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners – sets the skill level and background experience a technician will need in order to receive national certification in Solar Panel Installation. The certifications offered are for solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels and wind energy installers. To receive Solar Training Certification, you must attend Solar Classes provided by an accredited Solar Training Provider. It involves a minimum number of training hours and course work in your chosen solar installation field, and you must pass the Solar Training Certification Exam provided by NABCEP. Once you have that you are ready to start your career at the highest level – a NABCEP Certified Installation technician or Certified PV Technical Sales professional.

IREC stands for Interstate Renewable Energy Council and is similar to NABCEP, but where NABCEP sets the standards for individual technicians, IREC sets the standards for Solar Training companies. ISPQ is the nation’s highest accreditation for renewable energy training providers and it is awarded through IREC. IREC sends their auditors to the facilities that provide solar classes and solar training in order to observe and approve everything about the company and the training program – from a company’s financial fitness, to the quality of their curriculum. They also ensure that the teachers have the knowledge and experience they need to provide state-of-the-art training. Once the IREC auditors have completed the quality assessments, they submit their reports to the ISPQ board for approval. Accreditation is awarded when the ISPQ board approves the reports.

NABCEP and IREC were formed to make sure the solar classes and solar training offered to the public are of the highest national quality. If you are about to start your training for a career in solar power then you should be aware of these two organizations.  Make sure any Solar Classes you take are offered by a provider with IREC Accreditation. Any Solar Training you receive should be approved by NABCEP to qualify you to take the Solar Training Certification exam. Once solar power becomes more widespread, national certification will be even more important to your career. Consumers are rapidly becoming knowledgeable about solar energy and will want technicians with a nationally recognized Solar Training Certification.

This article was written by Tom Johnson with Click Ready Marketing on the behalf of Solairgen.

Visit Solairgen and learn more about solar energy training by following the link: SOLAR CLASSES