There are a number of widely recognized certification programs available within the solar PV industry. They are primarily offered by two not-for-profit organizations. These are NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals) and ETA-I (Electronic Technicians Association – International).

We focus on four of these programs. Our entry level course (Residential Solar Installation & Design) prepares people for the NABCEP Associate exam and the ETA PV Level 1 certification. The NABCEP Associate program is a “Certificate” program rather than a “Certification” – which is a big deal for those who care about these things (for instance the State of Illinois requires that those installing systems be certified, so the NABCEP Associate program does not qualify but the ETA PV Level 1 certification does).

Comparing NABCEP Certification to ETA  Certifications

NABCEP InstallerETA PV Level 1ETA PV Level 2
Experience3 projectsClassroom Hands on2 years, OJT Completed
Training from Accredited School58 hours40 hours60 hours
OSHA Safety Training10 hoursNone10 hours
Customer Service Certification RequiredNoNoYes
Application Fee
$125 – $175
None
None
Examination Fee
$375 – $425
$155
$155
Exam Covers:
Initial System Design
NoNoYes
Verify System Design
YesYesYes
Commercial System Design
NoNoYes
Managing the Project
YesNoYes
Installing Electrical Components
YesYesYes
Installing Mechanical Components
YesYesYes
System Installation
YesYesYes
Commercial System Installation
A BitA BitYes
Conducting Maintenance
YesYesYes
Troubleshooting Activities
YesYesYes
Commissioning
YesA BitYes
Certification Term
3 Years4 Years4 Years
Passing Score
70%75%75%
Hands on Testing
NoYesJob Task Signoff
Re-certification Education Requirement     
18 hours24 hours32 hours