Request Quote  |  Partner Application
Connect With Us

1-877-858-7479 Call Us

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Home Resources ONTILITY Blog
May 13

Third-Party Inspection and Commissioning Helps Contractors and Customers

POSTED BY Ken Whiteside in solar reputation , solar installation , solar inspection , solar credibility , solar commissioning

Independent, third-party inspection and commissioning is becoming more popular and important. System owners and financial backers are requiring it, property owners are asking for it, and solar contractors are seeing how it can help them grow their businesses.

During the past six months, we’ve seen a significant up-tick in the number of calls from solar contractors who are being required to have an independent party inspect and commission their systems. The requirements are coming from the military and other federal agencies as well as local governments, public schools and private investors. We are also seeing how solar contractors who are offering this on all their jobs are gaining market share by increasing their credibility.

Think of the trust built with customers if you have every one of your systems inspected and commissioned by an independent party. It shows that you have tremendous confidence in the quality of your work – you aren’t afraid to have it inspected, you aren’t cutting corners or hiding anything. And think of the time and money it can save.

We all know that mistakes are made on solar installations; even the best crews occasionally overlook something, get distracted or interrupted, forget to go back and take care of a detail. It happens. We also know that it is virtually impossible to find all of our own mistakes. That’s why writers have copy editors, why software companies have QA departments.  And we are fully aware that it is far less expensive to catch and correct a problem when we are still on the job site, before we “hand over the keys”. Avoiding an extra truck roll alone is worth the cost of an independent inspection, to say nothing of the benefit to your customer relations, reputation – the strength of your brand.

There are a growing number of companies specializing in inspections, commissioning and O&M. Most of them (QESolar in New Jersey for example) are located in areas where a robust market can support them and their operations are local and regional. They stay plenty busy close to home. But if you or your project are not in one of these highly developed solar markets, not in California or the mid-Atlantic, your choices for inspection are more limited. There are only a few companies offering inspection and commissioning nationwide. ONTILITY is one of them. Many of you already know our NABCEP certified master electricians. You’ve taken classes from Eddie Haynes, Janet Hughes and Tim Coats. You’ve called them for advice. Now they are on the road providing their expert advice on job sites all over the country. They’ve inspected and commissioned systems from rural Texas to Oakland, from a straightforward 10kW grid-tied system on a school to the largest whole-house battery backup system in the Southwest.

Third-party independent inspection and commissioning: Start including it in your projects, see how your reputation improves and your business grows.
Apr 04

ONTILITY Announces New Partnership Program

POSTED BY Jeremy Webb in solar supplier , solar products , platinum solar partner , gold solar partner

ONTILITY aligns with key vendor partners that meet rigorous quality and customer support criteria.

ONTILITY, a leading wholesale distributor of solar equipment and provider of solar training, design, and consulting, announced its new vendor partnership program today. This program, based around the company’s strong emphasis on customer and vendor relationships, evaluates partners in order to support ONTILITY’s goal of engaging exclusively with manufacturers and vendors who offer the highest-quality products at competitive prices, and who extend customers top-of-the-line service and support.

In order to sharpen its focus on vendor relationships to only those strong partnerships that will benefit ONTILITY’s customers and support its quality goals, the Houston-based company has conferred extensively with solar equipment manufacturers to determine which would become key partners. ONTILITY established a set of criteria for these vendors, focusing on product quality; responsiveness; availability; willingness to build a strong, flexible partnership; outstanding customer service; and ability to meet specific product needs customers might have, such as off-grid or USA-made parts. Based on these qualifiers, ONTILITY has scrutinized its business relationships and selected the highest-caliber suppliers as either Platinum or Gold level partners.

“Our Platinum and Gold level partners have met our highest standards in order to be designated as trusted suppliers,” said Kirk Wehby, CEO of ONTILITY. “They have been instrumental partners in their support of ONTILITY, providing quality products and attentive service that have helped us to offer our customers only the best. We thank all of them and look forward to strengthening these partnerships as we continue to push our business and our quality forward.”

As a part of its partnerships with these designated suppliers, ONTILITY will feature these supplier relationships on its website ( and in monthly e-blasts, showcase them in its offices, and highlight them in its marketing in order to add visibility to these quality suppliers. In addition, although non-featured manufacturers’ product will be available by customer request, products from these designated sourcing partners will be the first the nationwide ONTILITY sales staff and design team will turn to when bidding or quoting projects. In this way, ONTILITY will be able to extend the high-caliber PV module offerings of its trusted suppliers to the thousands of contractors and solar integrators that comprise its extensive customer base.

“It’s our goal to offer our customers only the best, in products and in service,” said Wehby. “The only way to do this is to partner with only the best. We’re confident our designated Gold and Platinum partners more than meet this standard.”

ONTILITY’s Platinum-level partners include Canadian Solar, Advanced Energy, UNIRAC, ET Solar, Solectria Renewables, and SolarBridge Technologies. ONTILITY’s Gold-level partners include Panasonic, ReneSola, Schneider Electric, Fronius, DPW Solar, Xunlight Corporation, and OutBack Power System. To see the listing of these designated partners, visit ONTILITY’s newly-launched “Solar PV Products” page.

Mar 25

NABCEP Certification Exam: Are You Ready?


The NABCEP PV Installation Professional certification exam is next month. If you are approved to take it, we hope you’ve read the books on the resources list published by NABCEP, including their Study Guide, and that you’ve become very good friends with your code book. If you haven’t been reading and studying, get started now – there’s still time if you focus. And note, just because you have years of solar experience, you may not be well prepared for this exam – knowledge gained in the field does not always equate with successful test taking.

Even if you have been studying for months, you can do one thing that will do more than anything else to help you pass the test: Take an exam preparation class.

There are a couple options for test preparation classes. There are online courses in various form; Webinars, a MOOC, and self-paced independent study. These are all good classes for what they are, but they lack a couple of things that only a live, instructor-led class can offer. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a strong proponent of using technology in education – I’ve built a career on it. In fact, ONTILITY Solar Training offers a full assortment of online classes, from introductory level to advanced installation and design.

So, while I fully support and use the Web for instruction, I also know its limitations and I know that regardless of the format, online classes are a compromise, giving up highly personalized direct interaction with a talented teacher in favor of convenience and low cost. Sometimes, perhaps often, that compromise is worthwhile; the content and what you want to learn is such that it can be taught very effectively at a distance. I don’t need to be in the room with you to teach you how to produce a PV array layout or calculate conduit fill. Test preparation, on the other hand, is less objective.

Sure, there is plenty of content to cover in preparation for the NABCEP exam and no shortage of calculations to perform and data to review. But there is also the stress of preparing for an exam, and the fact that there is not much time to prepare. Instructors need to see your posture, your facial expressions, hear clearly the tone of your voice, to know that you understand a particular point. You need to be able to ask a question and get an answer instantly – and if you don’t understand, get another answer or a more detailed explanation. You need to interact directly with others who are also preparing for the same exam. Your fellow students will ask questions you never thought of, instantly triggering an exchange with the instructor leading to greater understanding and increased preparedness.

The second reason to take an in-person class is focus. You are busy. Your phone doesn’t stop ringing until you turn it off, and who has the discipline to turn it off during a self-imposed study time. Not me and very likely not you. We multi-task; which really means that we shift our attention quickly from one thing to another. To be fully prepared to succeed on the NABCEP test, you need to focus, quickly discover the areas where you are ready and those where you aren’t, and take immediate action to strengthen those weaknesses. You need to get away from your normal routine and do nothing but prepare for this exam.

So, take a pass on the once-a-week Webinars and the online courses that are nothing more than downloadable lectures, reading assignments and practice tests. Online discussion groups are fine, but are they really productive? How much knowledge are you really gaining for the amount of time invested? And don’t be taken in by the “pass the exam and take the class again for free” guarantee – when not much is invested in creating a course, it’s easy to give it away. Take the NABCEP exam seriously and prepare for it effectively. ONTILITY Solar Training offers its two-day NABCEP Certified PV Professional exam preparation class in five cities in early April. Don’t miss the chance to get serious about your professional development.

NABCEP PV Installer Certification Exam Prep (AS210)

April 4-5: Houston, Denver and Morristown, NJ
April 11-12: New Orleans and Baltimore
Feb 06

SolarBridge Technologies Shines in Hawaii

POSTED BY Jeremy Webb in solar tour , solar technology , solar energy , Solar Bridge , Roadshow , ACPV

Improved Opportunities for Solar Bolster the ACPV Revolution Roadshow’s Honolulu Tour Stop

AUSTIN, TX February 6, 2013:

SolarBridge Technologies (SolarBridge), the leading provider of integrated microinverters for certified AC modules, continued its U.S. ACPV Revolution Roadshow last week with a stop in Honolulu, Hawaii, where groundbreaking plans by the local Hawaiian Electric (HECO) utilities will allow more rooftop solar systems to connect to Hawaii’s grid. With HECO’s new “Proactive Approach” for rooftop solar planning in place, this stop offered a prime environment for SolarBridge to offer its free ACPV technology training, AC module installation demonstrations, and hands-on rooftop solar installation practice.

The SolarBridge ACPV Revolution Roadshow, which has traveled around the U.S. since its November 1, 2012 kickoff, has offered solar installers localized in some of the fastest-growing U.S. solar markets the opportunity to see and work with emerging AC module technology and software monitoring tools, and to compete in installation “bake-offs” at each of its stops. Training consistent with the NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) PV installer job task analysis has been provided in partnership with ONTILITY, a leading provider of solar training and education committed to solar industry growth and the mainstream adoption of ACPV.

Solar growth in the mainstream has been gaining purchase lately, as discussed in this January 29th press release by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), which details the steps Hawaiian Electric has just taken to remove obstacles in the way of organic rooftop solar growth. With a statewide boom in rooftop solar growth over the last several years, Hawaii has been a stage where conflicts between solar integration and arbitrary limitation by utilities have played out. With “[u]tilities nationwide traditionally [taking] an unwelcoming approach to connecting rooftop solar and other on-site generation,” HECO’s latest plans are a dramatic development for the local solar industry.
As IREC’s press release details:

“[T]he Hawai’i utilities’ new proactive approach aims to get ahead of such holdups…HECO will take the initiative to determine how continued growth in rooftop solar may affect the utility circuits, and how the grid needs to be upgraded to enable further expansion. This should ease the way for Hawai’i homes and businesses to install more rooftop solar. It also offers a model for other utilities across the country to follow as the levels of renewable energy increase on their grids.”

The ultimate goal in these new measures will be to remove the unnecessary limits that have kept the percentage of produced solar energy fed into local utilities low as rooftop solar has begun to be integrated into mainstream grids. Without these limitations in place, these solar installations will begin to be able to supply energy at levels increasingly closer to their production capabilities, further strengthening the value of rooftop solar investment in Hawaii and moving toward a grid that is able to fully integrate green energy technologies.

With Hawaii taking a leading role in the nation in integrating small-scale solar technologies, the environment was primed for SolarBridge’s tour stop, where the provided ACPV training, AC module demonstrations, and hands-on installation practice provided valuable information to local installers – and continued to spread the word about the vast growth potential for solar technologies and markets as solar continues to move further and further into the mainstream.

Feb 01

NABCEP PV Installer Certification Renewal

POSTED BY Ken Whiteside in PV Installer , PV certification , NABCEP job task analysis , NABCEP , Commercial Solar

Were you one of the 1,500 or so solar pros who received their NABCEP PV certification in 2010? If so, your renewal is due this year on the anniversary of the date on which you were initially awarded the certificate. For quite a few of you, that date is coming up this spring.

We’ve heard from a number of you recently that you haven’t yet fulfilled the continuing education requirement for renewal. That’s no surprise – you’ve been busy. To review, the CE requirement is 18 hours, six of which must be NEC related. The other 12 need to address the NABCEP PV installer job task analysis. Many of guys we’ve heard from lately have taken care of the six hours of NEC training, but still need the other 12 hours.

So, once again, the super-agile team at ONTILITY Solar Training has stepped up with a solution. And as usual, the OST solution is better than it needs to be. PV System Design – NABCEP PV Installer Certification Renewal (course #AS-312) is an advanced system design course that will fully satisfy the NABCEP requirement and provide a day and half of commercial system design instruction.

While there are a number of ways to get the credits you need, why not spend your time and energy really learning something you can use, really sharpening your skills.
Jan 08

New Leadership for ONTILITY

POSTED BY Jeremy Webb in solar training , solar industry , solar distribution , Smith & Associates , ontility , Kirk Wehby

ONTILITY Announces Appointment of New CEO

HOUSTON, TX January 8, 2013:

ONTILITY announced this week that Kirk Wehby has been appointed CEO. Mr. Wehby brings to ONTILITY deep leadership experience in technology distribution and quality management. He will be overseeing all aspects of operations at the three year old, nationally recognized solar distribution, training and consulting company.

Prior to joining ONTILITY, Mr. Wehby was Vice President of Global Operations for Smith & Associates from 2008 to 2012. While at Smith, the world’s largest independent distributor of electronic components, he led worldwide operations, logistics and quality, and oversaw the expansion of in-house testing laboratories and third party certification programs. From 1997 to 2008, Mr. Wehby was Director of Operations and Supply Chain for Cardone Industries, where he managed start-up and integration of operations in Belgium and Mexico.

After three years of very rapid growth and significant market penetration, ONTILTY is poised to lead the North American solar industry as it stabilizes and continues to grow. Looking ahead to 2013, Mr. Wehby sees the solar industry developing “a more focused supply chain that realigns itself to the industry’s needs, increases service levels and continues to promote the value of renewable energy.“ Within this dynamic industry, Mr. Wehby defines ONTILITY’s specific role as “a company focused on building strong industry relationships and exceeding our customer’s requirements.”

ONTILITY’s mission is, however, more than supply chain management and good customer relations. Mr. Wehby captured the essence of this in stating his motivation for accepting his new position. “I am excited to be a part of an industry, a company and a committed, knowledgeable team that are having a positive impact on our society. It adds more purpose to the work that we do each day.”

Jan 08

PV Installer Certification Exam

POSTED BY Jeremy Webb in UL exam , solar webinar , solar training online , solar training , NABCEP exam preparation , NABCEP

It is time to prepare for upcoming PV Installer certification exams and again in 2013, ONTILITY Solar Training is here to help. What better way to spend the dark winter months than getting ready for the NABCEP exam in April, the UL Certified PV System Installer exam, or any other solar certification exam. Our AS200 PV Certification Exam Study – Online is comprehensive, in-depth guided study that will go a long toward preparing you for any certification exam.

This is not a cram course – it starts this month on January 16th and runs for two and a half months, ending on March 27th. These exams are not trivial and the reading lists are long, so people need time to study and they need a guide, an instructor, to keep them on task.

The live-online format is convenient and effective. There’s a live Webinar every other week during which you and the instructor talk will about test content topics, code issues and test taking techniques. Between the Webinars, you’ll complete reading assignments and take practice tests. There’s no better way to ensure that you pass the exam the first time.

The schedule is perfect for those who are on track to take the NABCEP exam in April. This study course wraps up just a few weeks before the exam date, leaving time to attend an ONTILITY Solar Training NABCEP Exam Prep class (AS210). On top of the extended study provided by AS200, this weekend long, intensive review class puts the fine edge on your test preparations.

But what if you’re going to take the UL exam? This course will help you prepare for that test too. The course emphasis on the NEC and industry best practices is an excellent preparation for any professional certification exam.

Don’t fool around! You need certification. You want to pass the test the first time and move on. Let ONTILITY Solar Training help. Call Joe Gondron today for more details, 877-495-7863.

Click here to view our class schedule now!

Jan 03

Solar Training Price Drop

POSTED BY Jeremy Webb in solar training , solar fundamentals , Solar Electric Training , reduced training price , online solar training , NABCEP

ONTILITY Announces Reduced Prices for Solar Training

ONTILITY Solar Training announced this week that it has reduced prices for its most popular solar classes for 2013. By streamlining its solar training operations and increasing the number of classes offered online, ONTILITY can offer the same high quality, comprehensive training for which it is well known at lower cost.

ONTILITY Solar Electric Training, its most popular course, has been reduced from $1,595 to $1,295, and is now available as both a face-to-face classroom learning experience, and an instructor led live-online class. This course focuses on real-world knowledge and teaches students about solar photovoltaic (PV) system components; PV system design, estimation, and code requirements; solar electric products and applications; and how to work with solar conversion equipment. The course is based on the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) photovoltaic installation job task analysis and provides 40 hours toward NABCEP PV Installer certification. Regardless of which version is chosen, face-to-face classroom or live-online, students have access to the same ISPQ accredited curriculum and ISPQ certified instructors.

Another popular ONTILITY Solar Training course, Solar Fundamentals – Online is now available for $395. This course is suitable for anyone interested in solar electricity, who's looking for new career opportunities, and contractors interested in expanding their business into solar PV. The self-paced online course addresses solar energy and electricity basics as well as other topics important to those starting in the solar industry and is a good introduction to ONTILITY Solar Electric Training. Those who register for Solar Electric Training, either the face-to-face classroom experience, or the live online version, are given access to Solar Fundamentals – Online at no additional cost.

The rapid growth of the solar market demands a well-trained workforce and is a key element in the growth and long-term success of solar markets. According to ONTILITY Director of Solar Training Ken Whiteside, "A well-trained workforce insures that solar installations will be done safely and that those systems will perform the way they are supposed to." Mr. Whiteside continued, "We are very pleased to offer our high quality courses at lower prices, making them available to a greater number of people.”

Click here to view our class schedule now!

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>
Solar Training
Solar Products
Solar Support Services
Partner / Dealer / Installer
Contact Us
ONTILITY Corporate Office: 5306 Hollister St., Houston, TX 77040
ONTILITY Warehouse: 8820 Clay Rd. Ste. 200, Houston, TX 77080
1 (877) 858-7479 Toll Free
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map
Copyright © 2016 ONTILITY, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.