Anticipating the desire for people to advance their knowledge and skills in renewable energy technology and begin advanced-level careers in the solar PV industry, ETA® International hosted an advanced-level solar panel, or photovoltaic (PV), certification workshop with trainer Jay Warmke, PVI1, SWI1, of Blue Rock Station, LLC, in Ohio.

The ETA Photovoltaic Installer Level 2 (PVI2) certification is designed for individuals who have significant experience in the design and installation of PV systems. Attendees must provide proof of completion of education in photovoltaics with a minimum of 60 contact hours, hands-on field experience, and a passing score of 75% on the PVI Level 1 PPVI1) prerequisite exam.

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Individuals pursuing the PVI2 certification are expected to have an extensive background in designing and installing PV systems, solar systems project management experience, an OSHA 10 card or equivalent, and will have earned ETA’s Customer Service Specialist (CSS) certification.

It is ETA’s intention that an individual seeking to hold the PVI2 certification demonstrates a wide range of skills and abilities. The more varied the experience, the more weight will be assigned to it as part of the application process.

“The PVI Level 2 training was intense and appropriate to prepare people for advanced skills in the Solar PV industry,” commented Chris Hoffa, Director of Facilities Operations at DePauw University. “In combination with ETA’S PVI Level 1 certification, the PVI Level 2 certification will clearly provide people with a well-defined career path and meaningful credentials that will create advancement for them in this rapidly growing industry.”

ETA-certified advanced level PV Installers gain:

Marketable skills and knowledge in solar PV installation and design, with an emphasis on commercial systems, as well as project management abilities.
Solar PV Installer certification from a 40-year accredited and internationally-recognized professional association.
Solar PV knowledge and hands-on skills training from ETA-approved providers. All PVI instructors are tested for their PV knowledge and their curriculum approved before instructing any ETA solar PV class.
Unique hands-on training not offered nor required for certification by any other solar energy organization.
Demonstration of certification in construction safety (OSHA 10) as well as workforce development and related soft skills, which are included in ETA’s Customer Service Specialist (CSS) certification.
Demonstration to potential employers and customers that the credential holder has extensive field experience in the photovoltaic industry.

“The ETA PVI2 certification is a great way of helping me get a broad picture of the industry as it develops, pushing me into areas I may not see in my day-to-day job installing PV,” commented Eduardo Sandoval of Ohio Power Solutions and a participant in the pilot program.

According to the 2017 US Energy and Employment Report, more people now work in the US solar industry than in oil, natural gas, and coal extraction – combined. A recent study by The Solar Foundation (TSF) shows that solar jobs are growing at a rate 10 times the national average and that solar PV installers average entry-level salaries are in the $20-24 per hour range.

ETA awarded its first entry-level Photovoltaic Installer (PVI) certification with the introduction of its Renewable Energy program in 2010 and today, nearly 1500 installers can call themselves ETA-certified professional Solar PV Installers. Learn more about ETA’s Photovoltaic certification program at: http://www.eta-i.org/renewable_energy.html.

About ETA – Since 1978, ETA has delivered over 200,000 certification examinations successfully. Widely recognized and frequently used in worker job selection, hiring processes, pay increases, and advancements, ETA certifications are often required as companies bid on contracts. ETA’s certifications are personal and travel with the individual, regardless of employment or status change and measure competencies of persons, not products or vendors. All ETA certifications are accredited through the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC) and align with the ISO-17024 standard. ETA is a member of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), and Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA). http://www.eta-i.org

About Blue Rock Station – Blue Rock Station’s (BRS) goal is to merge engineering, art and re-use of existing materials. This is accomplished by creating buildings made out of re-used materials to demonstrate a series of alternative building techniques, including the Earthship, straw bale structures, earth bag walls, and whatever else seems to make sense. Workshops at BRS include photovoltaics, tiny house projects, Earthship construction (homes made of recycled materials), sustainable farming, and more. Blue Rock Station also offers a variety of publications and is open periodically for llama trekking around the beautiful hills of Southeastern Ohio, special events like Earth Day and special open house tours, plus skill building weekends. http://www.bluerockstation.com