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Evolution of the Solar Industry

As things grow, they change. This is a matter of evolution and survival. In this manner of progress, many great inventions have been forged, great people have grown to reflect change upon their environment and people. Today, industries are birthed, and flourish in an abstract sense – we have become an internationally connected economic machine that would shock the eyes of our ancestors.

solar industryIn this manner of growth, the solar industry has been multiplied exponentially every year.  Those who have been involved since the beginning have seen a lush solar garden grow up through the cracks, pushing forth to become a literal threat to those who don’t want to lose their share of an energy market.  The availability and abundance of free solar energy offers power to the people quite literally- in the form of energy, and in the form of sustenance.

This evolution and growth has paved the way for job development like no other industry since the development of computers. The solar industry has an employment growth rate that is nearly ten times the national average is undeniable (2011 National Job Census Report).

Despite this clearly documented flux, there are many struggling to find their foothold in this industry. People are flocking to solar not only because they believe in it, but because it offers a clean honorable opportunity to make a living. As many people discover this opportunity, they ask- what do I need to know, who will teach me, and where and when can I start working?

The NABCEP organization is dedicated to changing with the evolving solar industry, and has modified the eligibility requirements as well as the scope of the Job Task Analysis (JTA). Still many people have questions regarding what’s next. Even more importantly, how will the industry continue to grow and provide the trained workers necessary to support its growth with such incredibly difficult standards that don’t offer flexibility and flexible angles that help people move into the field?
solar industrySince being founded in 1998, NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) has offered a foundation for training and credentialing workers in the field of renewable energy. The NABCEP organization provides a standard that is accepted throughout North America. If you have succeeded in working your way through the rigorous procedure of being accepted to sit for the NABCEP Photovoltaic Installer Exam , and you have passed that exam, you have proven to be knowledgeable in this field. People can trust you know what you are doing. The questions arise when you see falling numbers of people passing the exam and even falling numbers of those who are recertifying while at the same time you see an industry expanding exponentially while lacking the trained workforce that will be required to maintain momentum.
SolPowerPeople will offer a rare opportunity to speak with the Executive Director of NABCEP, Ezra Auerbach, on Thursday January 17th at 6PM Central time as he presents a #SolarMOOC (Solar Massive Open Online Course) lecture. This will be an opportunity to hear a first hand account and participate in a professionally engaged discussion on the future of NABCEP and how it is evolving with the growing solar industry.


  1. June 9, 2013


    The solar industry is evolving. In October 2012, “UL’s PV Installer Certification Earns Formal Endorsement from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers”


    In addition, there’s an increased emphasis on safety with the OSHA 30 requirement a higher pass point and other things. For those individuals involved in inspection and installation, I suggest also the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). There are workshops and continuing education including + non vendor specific workmanship and best industry practices applicable to the PV industry.

    As you evolve in the solar industry there’s the “solar career map explores an expanding universe of solar-energy occupations, describing diverse jobs across the industry, charting possible progression between them, and identifying the high-quality training necessary to do them well.”


    For example, a career path may be from solar installation helper or solar site assessor at entry level, to a mid-level Solar PV installer, then to an advanced level as Solar Installation Contractor which requires four (4) years of applicable experience or Solar Energy Systems Designer which requires “Work Experience: 5+ years” and a degree …

    What do you think?


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