The PV System Inspector (PVSI) Board Certification has the simplest eligibility requirements of all the NABCEP Professional Certifications. While the qualification criteria are relatively easy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will find the exam easy as well.

The PVSI Certification recognizes the advanced experience and skill required to inspect residential and commercial photovoltaic systems. This Board Certification is for those who are highly knowledgeable of PV systems, applicable codes and ordinances, and assessing the safety and operation of PV systems. These folks often provide inspection services for authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs), utilities, state incentive programs, and financing companies. 

So let’s get into the specifics!

How can you qualify?

For the PVSI Certification, there are no prerequisites. 

Unlike other NABCEP Professional Certifications, there is no required OSHA, no required advanced training (although it’s recommended), and no particular experience needed. 

If you are interested in training to prepare for the PVSI exam, check out the NABCEP PV System Inspector (PVSI) Certification Prep bundle, which includes a crash course on the National Electrical Code and a practice exam. 

Why are there no prerequisites?

With the PVSI Certification, NABCEP made it as easy as possible for those inspecting PV systems, who also often inspect many other types of things, to qualify and take this exam. Because these folks are working for governments, utilities, or in other capacities, solar often isn’t the sole focus for these inspectors. Still, they realize how important it is to understand all the relevant technical information about these systems. 

What’s covered on the PVSI exam?

The PVSI exam is written by volunteer industry Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) under the guidance of testing specialists. The PVSI Job Task Analysis (JTA) comes directly from NABCEP and provides a blueprint for the exam. 

The NABCEP PV System Inspector JTA comprises 15 tasks organized into 4 performance domains. 

Reviewing the NABCEP JTA is a crucial part of preparing for the exam and being a good inspector. Be sure to review the document and understand all the concepts listed. 

How much is it to take the exam? 

There is no application fee to take the PVSI exam (all other Professional Certifications are $125). The exam fee is just $150 (all other Professional Certifications have a $375 exam fee). 

If you need to retake the exam, that fee is $150.

What can I expect with the PVSI exam?

The PVSI exam must be taken via live remote proctoring. The exam must be scheduled and taken within one year of  NABCEP approving your application. 

Candidates get up to 2 hours to complete the exam. 

The PVSI exam consists of 45 equally weighted multiple choice questions, with 4 choices per question. 40 of the questions are scored and 5 of the questions are un-scored pilot questions. A total scaled score is used to determine if a candidate passed or failed and ranges from 0-99. A scaled score of 65 is required to pass the PVSI exam. 

How can I renew my certification?

Like all NABCEP Certifications, the PVSI needs to be renewed every 3 years. The first cycle starts on the day of initial credentialing and will expire 3 years later. NABCEP charges a $150 recertification fee for the PVSI.

To renew, you must complete 8 CEU hours all related to the NEC. 

If you have any questions about the PVSI Certification or other NABCEP Certifications, please reach out to us at NABCEP@HeatSpring.com. Thanks!

Resources

NABCEP PV System Inspector Job Task Analysis

NABCEP Certification Handbook – 2023 Update