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New York — The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) has developed new Veterans Pathways for key credentials that support career advancement in the solar and solar-plus-storage industries. By recognizing relevant skills and experience gained through military service, the new pathways make it easier for veterans to qualify for NABCEP certifications and advance their solar careers.

The Veterans Pathways were developed under the Solar Ready Vets Network, a national solar workforce development initiative led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) that connects transitioning service members and veterans with training, career development resources, and jobs. As a partner on the Solar Ready Vets Network, NABCEP plays a key role in expanding training and credentialing opportunities for military talent.

The Network is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

“The Veterans Pathways will make NABCEP’s Board Certifications and Associate Credential even more accessible for those who honorably served our country,” says Shawn O’Brien, President and CEO of NABCEP. “Veteran employees have a proven track record of demonstrating a desire to lead, grow, and foster collaboration. As veterans and transitioning military personnel continue to play a larger role in the solar workforce, we fully expect the PV industry to reap the benefits of an improved labor market. We are extremely proud of the work we have done with IREC and the rest of the Solar Ready Vets Network to provide veterans access to training and credentialing that will facilitate their path towards a solar career.”

NABCEP is a widely recognized certification organization for renewable energy professionals. The most common NABCEP credential, the PV Associate (PVA), prepares individuals for a variety of career options in the solar and solar-plus-storage industries, and is often a first step toward more advanced and specialized board certifications.

With this announcement, NABCEP is offering a new Veterans Pathway to qualify for the PVA exam. Similar Veterans Pathways for certifications that require industry experience (PV Installation Professional, Design Specialist, Commissioning & Maintenance, and Technical Sales) will become available through the fall of 2021.

“Solar and storage companies across the country are increasingly looking to veterans to fill their diverse hiring needs,” says Richard Lawrence, Program Director at IREC. “The new Veterans Pathways for NABCEP certification can help veterans distinguish themselves from others seeking employment and career advancement in this rapidly growing industry.”

Non-veteran candidates qualify to sit for the PVA exam through either an Education Pathway (by taking a course from a NABCEP-registered training provider) or an Experience Pathway (by demonstrating at least six months of relevant work experience). Veterans can choose to follow either of these two pathways or the new Veterans Pathway, which allows them to submit their Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) code and justify at least six months of military experience relevant to the PVA Job Task Analysis.

To develop the Veterans Pathways, NABCEP convened a committee of NABCEP-certified veterans with diverse military and solar experience. Committee members have first-hand familiarity with the rigorous level of training and study required to become Board Certified, as well as ways that skills and experience gained through military service could be applied to the solar industry.

“It has been an incredible process to watch as veterans from different military branches collaborate to make things better for their fellow brothers and sisters,” says Greg Smith, Veterans Committee Chair and Technical Training Director at Tigo Energy. “It has been a pleasure to work with such a knowledgeable group of people.”

Last year, the Solar Ready Vets Network secured approvals from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that costs associated with all NABCEP PV certifications are eligible for GI Bill benefits. Solar industry employers, service members and veterans, solar training providers, and other workforce development intermediaries are encouraged to join the Solar Ready Vets Network to stay current on all opportunities and resources related to veterans’ solar training and employment.

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