NABCEP’s PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Certification is considered the gold standard for solar PV professionals. It’s intended for folks who have been in the industry for a while and find themselves often (if not always) in a decision-making role that ensures the quality and serviceability of solar installations.
Recognized and demanded by organizations worldwide, the PVIP Board Certification validates your competence to perform in the role of PV Installation Professional, which encompasses PV design, installation, operations, commissioning and maintenance.
The duties that different PVIP certificants do on a daily basis can vary widely, but the expectation is that all those who achieve PVIP certification will be familiar with and capable of executing all the tasks called out within the PVIP Job Task Analysis.
So let’s get into the specifics!
How can you qualify?
Every candidate must submit proof of the following through NABCEP’s PVIP application:
- OSHA 10 for the Construction Industry (or an equivalent safety training for your region)
- 58 hours of advanced PV training – HeatSpring offers many options
- HeatSpring’s most popular course bundle is the NABCEP PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Certification Prep bundle.
- HeatSpring has additional course bundle options available that you can learn more about here.
- All training must be completed within the 5 calendar years prior to submitting your PVIP application to NABCEP.
- Completion of installations where the candidate is in a decision-making role, equaling at least 6 Project Credits
- Project Credits:
- System size of 1-999kW = 2 Project Credits
- System size of 1 MW+ = 3 Project Credits
- Installations must have been completed within the 2 calendar years prior to submitting your PVIP application to NABCEP
- Installation must be considered complete which means having and submitting a permit and final approved inspection to NABCEP for each installation
- Additionally, candidates will need to submit a summary of each installation and proof of being in a decision-making role (if their name is not on permit and inspection documents)
- Project Credits:
What’s covered on the PVIP exam?
The PVIP exam is written by volunteer industry Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) under the guidance of testing specialists. The PVIP Job Task Analysis (JTA) comes directly from NABCEP and provides a blueprint for the exam.
Here are the primary content domains covered by the PV Installation Professional exam:
Reviewing the NABCEP PVIP JTA is a crucial part of preparing for the exam. Be sure to review the document and understand all the concepts listed.
How much is it to take the exam?
Between the PVIP application and exam fees, NABCEP charges $500 to sit for the PVIP exam. In the event you need to retake the exam, the re-exam fee is $275. All NABCEP fees are listed here.
What can I expect with the PVIP exam?
The PVIP exam can be taken in a Meazure Learning test site or at any location via live remote proctoring. The exam must be scheduled and taken within one year of NABCEP approving your application.
Candidates get up to 4 hours to complete the exam. Everyone will have access to the NEC as well as a calculator.
The PVIP exam consists of 70 equally weighted multiple choice questions, with 4 choices per question. 60 of the questions are scored and 10 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 70 is required to pass the PVIP exam.
All of your exam paperwork must match your valid government-issued identification, so make sure to not use nicknames or abbreviated names during the application process.
How can I renew my certification?
The PVIP needs to be renewed every 3 years. The first cycle starts on the day of initial credentialing and will expire 3 years later. You can find the date on your certificate or within your myNABCEP account. NABCEP charges a $390 recertification fee.
To renew, you must complete 30 hours of approved continuing education. The PVIP requires those 30 hours of CEU having the following break down:
- 6 hours – NEC
- 2 hour – Building and/or Fire Codes
- 12 hours – PVIP JTA
- 10 hours – Renewable Energy
The most important areas to pay attention to when recertifying are the NEC and Building and/or Fire Code hours. That’s because the PVIP JTA and Renewable Energy hours are very easy to get because so many topics qualify under those two areas.
Our most popular option to get recertification hours is Sean White’s 30-Hour Advanced Energy Storage and Code Training + CEUs bundle; although we have many other options as well.
You can see all the courses that HeatSpring offers to renew in the Approved NABCEP CEU Hours chart found here on the PVIP page. There is a column titled “Recertification CEU Hours” that shows how much each course counts toward renewing the PVIP.
In addition to 30 hours of CEUs, PVIP certificants must also submit a letter verifying that they are still actively involved in the solar industry.
Looking for more information? Send us an email at NABCEP@HeatSpring.com.