Project Name: Personnel Certifications for the Design, Installation, and Maintenance of Photovoltaic Systems
Funding Opportunity: Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP)
SunShot Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Clifton Park, NY
SunShot Award Amount: $1,119,195
Awardee Cost Share: $186,600

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is developing three new industry-validated personnel certifications for individuals working in photovoltaic (PV) operations and maintenance and in mid-scale PV system design and installation. These new certifications fill the need for third-party validation of the skills and competence required for the solar labor force, as represented in professional credentials in these sectors. NABCEP is also improving and updating its current PV Installation Professional Certification program and examination. In addition, NABCEP aims to have certified at least 100 new solar professionals in these programs by completion of the award.

The STEP funding program was announced in May 2016. Read the announcement.


This project will create three new credentials:

  • System Designer Certification
  • Installation Lead Certification (project management and electrical/mechanical installation), intended for the mid-scale PV project manager
  • Maintenance Technician Certification (commissioning, diagnosis, and maintenance)

By creating new online learning and testing formats, this project will create stacked, incremental credentials for solar professionals in various fields that are more specialized than current certifications, and can be completed serially in less time. NABCEP will hold an industry summit one year into this award in order to gather input on its courses.


The market impact of this work will be commensurate with the impact that the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification has already demonstrated for the residential and small commercial markets. New and updated worker certifications help ensure the safety of solar installations, protect their production, raise the quality and reduce defaults in solar installations, while recognizing the increasingly specialized skills and knowledge developing within the solar industry.