ONTILITY will offer its semi-annual NABCEP PV Installer Certification Exam Prep Course in Los Angeles for the first time on Sept. 15-16. The advanced solar training class for experienced Solar PV Installers will be held at the Wilshire Blvd offices of the Advanced Computing Institute.
The consistent solar industry growth in California is supported by the efforts of local utilities, which are constantly coming up with new and improved incentives. With solar incentives continuing to drive market growth at truly amazing rates, there is no better time for solar installers to get the solar training needed to get this prestigious NABCEP PV Installer Certification. In California, the incentives don't stop coming, recently LADWP announced they are re-launching their Solar Incentive Program on September 1, 2011.
ONTILITY's intensive two-day NABCEP Exam Preparation Course helps qualified professional solar installers through the difficult task of passing the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Solar PV Installer Certification Exam. Solar PV Installers who attend this class will review advanced PV design problems, electrical and safety topics, and discuss test-taking strategies. The enrolment fees for ONTILITY's two-day exam preparatory class is $595, and can be accomplished online. John Berry, ONTILITY's Director of Training Sales notes, "The ONTILITY Solar Training program is a truly comprehensive approach to professional solar training and career development. It's much more than workshops and seminars. ONTILITY Solar Training provides solar energy courses and career paths which are in tune with what the industry and market demand. Following the Los Angeles training program launch in September, ONTILITY will offer a full schedule of solar design, installation and PV technical sales training courses in the following months."
Expanding into California is a logical step for ONTILITY and is a direct response to the continued rapid growth of the solar energy industry nationwide. Tom Pash, President and CEO said, "We are very excited to be opening a customer support and sales office and offering solar training in California. We bring a unique combination of products and services that the West Coast market needs. The solar industry continues to grow very fast, more than 50% last year, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Along with that market growth, business and employment opportunities are growing as well. Job growth this year alone is at about 26%, adding 24,000 new jobs into the solar workforce."
So if you are a West Coast solar professional, you'll want to get to know Patrick Clifford, a solar energy industry veteran who will be heading up the ONTILITY sales and dealer support services in California. Before joining ONTLITY Patrick was President and CEO of SDE Solar Inc., where he gained experience in both the residential and commercial solar markets. Patrick said, "With ONTILITY's world class warehouse and tremendous purchasing power, we can meet the needs of the California market. Couple that with extensive solar project and support services and our comprehensive solar training program and you've got the perfect fit for this market."
And if you are working in the solar industry you've probably heard how rigorous the NABCEP Certified PV Installer exam is. Brian Cunningham, ONTILITY Solar Instructor, Design Engineer and NABCEP Certified PV Installer, puts it this way, "I took the Solar PV Installer test this past March. I have to say that it was probably one of the harder open-book tests that I've taken. Now I'm not trying to scare anyone, but you need to be very well prepared if you want to pass. NABCEP certification has become the de facto standard for installing solar (thermal and PV) in the US. If it's already not required to install solar in your area, it soon may be. You need to be certified." Brian continues, "When I walked out of the exam room, I realized that I was not as ready as I had thought. I had studied every resource and practice exam that I could find to prepare, but in the end the actual exam looked like none of what I had studied. Yet I managed to pass. Why? I think because I had spent so much time trying to solve the problem of passing the test that I practiced the very skill that is the key to passing the test – Problem Solving. And that seems to be the crux of what NABCEP is looking for.
When you look at the NABCEP Certified PV Installer Job Task Analysis, you'll see six major content domains covered and that everything involves finding the best solution to a problem. Whether it's identifying the correct way to deal with potential hazards, finding the best location for equipment or even selecting the best tools for a job, problem solving is required. That's why the itemization of tasks is so extensive and comprehensive, covering every aspect of PV system design, project management and installation, electrical components, commissioning, operation, maintenance and troubleshooting.
So how can you better prepare for the NABCEP Certified PV Installer Exam?
First, read everything on NABCEP's reading list. Second, spend some extra time with the NEC, 2008 edition. Even if you are an experienced electrician, review the sections which pertain to solar and memorize where things are. Other than a calculator, the code book is the only resource available to you during the 4-hour test. And you do not want to spend extra time trying to figure out what part of the code applies to the problems. Third, review the details of every PV project you've ever worked on, no matter how minor those details may seem. Think about issues you had to solve both during the design and on-site during the installation. The kinds of problems you've solved before may show up on a 60 question test in September.
Finally, Attend the ONTILITY NABCEP Exam Prep Class. If you are a licensed electrician or hold certification in any trade, you probably didn't take that exam without a test prep session. Don't try it with the NABCEP exam. And now in addition to Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Houston, you can take this class in Los Angeles.
Improve your problem solving ability, as Brian said, "…this is the key." Being able to think through complex problems quickly, find the information you need efficiently and draw sound conclusions is extremely important. This is precisely the reason that ONTILITY designed its AS210 - NABCEP PV Installer Certification Exam Prep class the way they did. Two days of advanced design challenges, installation problems and code issues. Two days of intense problem solving, lively discussion and instruction from one of ONTILITY's Solar Instructors, all NABCEP Certified PV Installers, so they know what they're talking about, that's how you can prepare for the test.
NABCEP PV Installer Certification continues to gain ground as an industry standard as more utility companies and government agencies require that systems be installed by a NABCEP Certified Installer for those systems to qualify for incentives. ONTILITY, in keeping with its commitment to solar industry growth, wants to help as many qualified solar professionals as possible to become NABCEP certified. If you have the experience and knowledge to qualify for the NABCEP exam, we want to do whatever we can to help you pass it the first time. Our exam prep class is one way we can help.