• In every industry, there are bad and good players: the reliable and unreliable, the trustworthy and the scammers, the experts and the frauds. The solar industry is no different. Solar has been one of those industries that, unfortunately, has been subject to scrutiny because of its many bad players. Many homeowners who have installed solar have had their finances ruined by deceptive sales people with false promises, their homes ruined by inexperienced subcontractors, and their trust in the industry destroyed by the many turn and burn solar companies that make their money and run.

    These bad experiences has sowed a lot of distrust of the solar industry among homeowners. Though these homeowners know the immense benefits of solar, they have heard about so many bad experiences that they may have fear of what could happen if they choose the wrong company. Many people who decide to make the leap do it because one of their neighbors or family members had a good experience with a local company, and they have established that trust. For those who don’t have those connections, they mostly rely on reviews on the internet to make their decision, and while these are mostly reliable, they can also be misleading due to the volume of fake reviews out there. So when it comes to some kind official mark, some certification that a solar company can have to verify it’s legitimacy and expertise, is there something homeowners can look for?

    The answer is yes, and that is the NABCEP certification for PV Installation Professionals. This certification is the gold standard for solar installation certifications in the US, and is granted by NABCEP to solar installers who meet the highest standards of experience and ethics. It’s the only badge of legitimacy in the solar industry, and only truly objective way to know that the company is ethical and professional, so as a solar consumer, you should pay attention to the companies that have it.

  • What is NABCEP?

    NABCEP, or the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, is the largest, most widely recognized, and ubiquitously respected organization of renewable energy professionals in the world. The goal of NABCEP, founded in 2002, is to support the renewable energy industry and its growth by providing top-notch credentialing programs and certifications for practitioners to guarantee the quality of their installations business practices. This is to create a standard of quality which consumers can expect from NABCEP certified companies, and to build bridge of trust between the consumer and the installer.

    Who Qualifies to be a NABCEP Installer?

    To even begin to qualify as a NABCEP installer, the applicant must be 18 years of age, and has to meet a slew of stringent qualifications. First, they must have been in a decision-making role in many solar installation operations, including management and team lead roles. Second, they have to provide examples of installations they have completed in those roles, including detailed information about permission to operate times, system size, etc. They then have to complete at least 10 hours of OSHA training, 58 hours of advanced training, and pass an extremely thorough written and oral test. Everything has to be documented such that NABCEP knows the applicants are legitimate, and that their experience is extensive.

    The NABCEP Code of Ethics

    What really sets NABCEP certified installers apart from the rest is that they have to adhere to a strict code of ethics in order to maintain their certification. That means that they have the motivation to provide the best service possible. If they do something that is considered an unethical business practice, consumers can report them to NABCEP, and, if they find the installer has broken a code, they can remove their certification. This holds the installers accountable for their business practices, and ensures that will act in an ethical manner. Some of these codes include:

    • Deal with clients in a professional manner
    • Provide safe and quality services to the client
    • Only provide services that the installer is qualified to perform
    • Maintain the privacy of customer information
    • Accurately and truthfully represent information and expectations of the product
    • Be truthful in regard to resources of knowledge and information
    • Maintain accurate business records
    • Respect intellectual property of others
    • Behave in a professional and polite manner

    If a homeowner thinks that their NABCEP certified installer has violated one of these codes, they should review the NABCEP Code of Ethics and Conduct, and if they find a code they feel has been violated, they can file a complaint on the NABCEP website.

  • A Consumer Confidence Guarantee

    As we have said, what the NABCEP certification means for consumers is that, if they choose a NABCEP certified installer, that installer is proven to be highly technically experienced, ethical, and beholden to a higher standard of quality than other installers. This is because not only did they go through the strenuous qualification standards and training required to earn the certification, but in order to maintain it, they must behave in accordance to the NABCEP code of ethics. So basically, it allows the consumer to hold the installer accountable beyond something like Yelp or Better Business Bureau. It is a badge of trust, a guarantee of quality, and a symbol of confidence, that, in a world of untrustworthy installers, provides peace of mind to the homeowner that they will not have a bad solar experience. It’s a seal of approval from an organization that has a vested interest in promoting renewable energy industry and keeping the reputation of it intact.

    NABCEP Certified Solar Installer in San Diego

    Luckily for San Diego homeowners, one of SunPower by Stellar Solar’s co founders is NABCEP certified. Our own Brian Grems, who is an Electrical Engineer and certified electrician who studied at Purdue, has his NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification. This means that not only is Brian deeply educated in all aspects of not only solar, but electricity as well, and his NABCEP certification means that he holds our entire company, from the installers to the service technicians, to those high standards set forth by NABCEP. So if you’re looking to hire a NABCEP certified solar installer in San Diego, do your research on us. Contact us today if you’re looking to hire the best in the industry, certified to provide the highest quality installations, with the highest ethical standards in the business.


  • About the Author

    Michael Powers


    Michael is one of the founding partners of Stellar Solar. In 2001, he helped launch The Home Depot’s national solar energy program which is now offering home solar through hundreds of stores in nearly a dozen states. He is a writer and marketing professional with over 30 years’ experience in the fields of energy, market intelligence and leadership training. He currently serves as treasurer and board member of Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), a San Diego-based non-governmental organization that advocates linking renewable energy resources around the world using electricity transmission.