If you want to know what’s going on in the solar world in the Coachella Valley, head to the Green Zone in Palm Desert, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday for Solar Professionals Day.
The event is aimed at raising the profile of solar professionals in the area, and particularly the ones who are NABCEP certified.
NABCEP stands for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners – yes, they definitely need to come up with something a bit more compact and kicky — but the certification they offer has become the gold standard for solar installers.
The solar training courses at College of the Desert’s Desert Energy Enterprise Center prepare students to pass the basic NABCEP certification, which is what any installer will look for before hiring them.
What this is about is the professionalizaton of the field. Sure, almost any contractor or electrician can say they are solar installers, but having a specific, rigorous certification standard becomes a market-differentiator. We haven’t reached the point where solar installers are licensed by the state, like contractors or plumbers, but this is the industry’s own effort to professionalize itself.
Renova Energy, which is sponsoring the event, also happens to be the first NABCEP-certified business in the country, which is probably why Ezra Auerbach, the organization’s executive director, is flying out from New York for the day.
Larry McLaughlin, director of COD’s program will also be there, according to Vincent Battalgia, CEO of Renova.
“The U.S. solar industry employed more than 100,000 Americans in 2011, a figure that represents a 6.8% increase in employment from 2010. This means that the solar industry created jobs at a rate nearly ten times faster than the overall economy.” Battaglia said.
The key question for the day, he said, is whether the industry can keep up that kind of growth going forward.
Look for answers, and grilled Italian sausages for lunch.
The Green Zone is located at 75-181 Mediterranean Ave., Palm Desert.