The collaboration will provide members access to a nationally-recognized UL credential, allow them to broaden their skills in an increasingly competitive labor market and improve market access to licensed, qualified electricians for safer PV installations.
In the second quarter of 2012 the U.S. solar energy market grew by 45 percent, lifted by a record 477 megawatts of utility-scale installations, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. It forecasts that 3.2 gigawatts of PV will be installed in the U.S. in 2012, a 71 percent increase over 2011. As solar energy installation continues to grow, qualified electrical installers remain in high demand.
UL's PV Installer Certification, established in 2010, was designed to meet and exceed existing industry requirements through a working cooperation with stakeholders, non-governmental organizations and professional associations. Making the certification exam available to more than 675,000 IBEW members and 119 local NECA chapters builds on that commitment and helps improve the safety and performance of PV systems through a more qualified workforce. Unlike other programs, UL only certifies qualified professionals, including licensed electricians or final year apprentices in the NJATC PV training program.
Our certification designates that individuals have demonstrated the ability to perform safe and accurate PV installations, which is especially important for large-scale projects often with several hundred megawatts of power, said Jill Oakman, General Manager, UL Knowledge Services. The move to collaborate with IBEW supports our mission to empower smarter, safer, more efficient and more effective professionals.