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Installing Solar? Your State Might Require This Certification If You Want Incentives

When it comes to home solar installations, the number of certifications, acronyms, and obscure bills bombarding your research can be enough to cause the sort of migraine you might get from staring too long at the sun.

But after slogging through all that work of shopping for the just the right panels, inverters, and a battery storage solution, it would be a shame to miss out on state rebates and incentives because you didn’t have someone involved on your project with this one, crucial, certification:

North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)

Founded in 2002 as a non-profit, this accreditation was established as an industry stamp of approval to let homeowners know which installers have the specialized knowledge and expertise to install a solar system correctly.

The requirements to attain a NABCEP are so rigorous that it quickly became the industry gold standard. It wasn’t long before some states made it a preferred or mandatory for a contractor with this certification to be involved in solar systems installations to be eligible for incentive programs.

“What most of these states are looking for is that person with a NABCEP-cert is engaged somewhere along the process to look at the equipment and say whether it’s legit or not,” explained Go Green Solar’s NABCEP Certified Senior Design Engineer Dave Donaldson. “If a state is going to pay you for the solar energy you’re generating they want to make sure it’s been installed or reviewed by someone that knows what they’re doing.”

Go Green Solar’s NABCEP-certified Senior Engineer Dave Donaldson (purple shirt) directing city of Los Angeles workers how to mount the solar panel

In Utah the NABCEP-certification is a prerequisite to qualify for a state solar contractor license and Austin, Texas won’t allow electricians to build a grid-tied system without it. Minnesota, Maine, and Wisconsin are among the states that require a NABCEP-certified professional to install PV solar systems to make it eligible for rebates. And still, other states including California, Massachusetts, and Delaware, take a less stringent approach “recommending” PV solar systems are installed by a professional with NABCEP certifications making permits and rebates much easier to attain.

For its part, NABCEP does not encourage or discourage state regulatory efforts. The credentials, which much be renewed every three years, are voluntary and are intended to act a professional differentiator in the same way a realtor that sells houses is able to become a broker after passing his/her license exam.

An opinion blog post published by NABCEP argues why the organization feels its certifications should not become mandatory as there might not be enough certified professionals in America to keep up with the demand for solar projects:

“It is admirable that program planners charged with dispersing public funds seek to apply the consumer protection offered by an industry recognized professional standard. However, it is not necessary to mandate a requirement for certification – a voluntary program that promoted the benefits of choosing certified installers and perhaps even paid a higher incentive for a system installed by certificants would achieve the desired ends without constraining the growth of the installer base.”

The sentiment across the industry is mutual, with the majority of solar installers supporting the NABCEP program and everything it stands for. A 2018 Solar Installer Survey by Energy Sage report surveying thousands of solar contractors revealed nearly 68% feel the certification positively impacted their careers.  

The Installer Survey asked how NABCEP-certified installers felt that certification has affected their careers. Only one-third of installers say the certification has not impacted their career, while the rest experienced a range of positive career outcomes as a result of their third-party certification.

Companies such as Go Green Solar that are known for competitive solar systems pricing and encourage DIY solar builds are able to help homeowners make sure they receive state rebates incentives by having a NABCEP-certified Senior Engineer like Dave Donaldson onboard.

“It helps because I’m able to review plans, pictures, and videos, and get on the phone to speak in detail with DIYers, city code enforcement, and workers in detail about what they are looking for,” said Donaldson.

To find out how to get a NABCEP certified professional to sign on your home and make it eligible for your state’s rebates all you need to do is call Go Green Solar at (866) 798-4435 and ask to speak with one of their home solar system experts.

Author: Harold Tan

I believe clean, renewable energy is key to the evolution of society as a whole. Solar powers our planet, why not harness it to power humanity? Let's power our homes, our work, and our vehicles with solar energy. It begins with raising awareness and encouraging those around us to go green.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this! It’s important for people to be informed on all of the necessary routes they must go down before they start to see all of the benefits of going solar. I’ll share this with my friends who are also going solar!

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