The Difference Between Solar Certificates and Certification

certificate The Difference Between Solar Certificates and Certification

We receive this question a lot -  “What is the difference between solar installation certification and a solar installation certificate?”

The distinction is important because there is no shortage of solar installation schools across the country – many of them excellent, many of them not.

Before signing up, you want to know that you’re receiving training that will actually lead to long-term employment as a professional solar installer.  Understanding the difference between certification and certificate is an important step in this process.

Solar Installation Certification – What Is It?

Solar installation certification is official recognition by a third party organization that accredits, licenses, or regulates the broader photovoltaic, electrical, safety, or educational industries.

In the state of Florida, solar installation certification requires that you meet broadly accepted standards established by any number of agencies, including NABCEP, Underwriters Laboratories, the Department of Education, local school boards, electrical authorities, contractor associations, or similarly themed organizations.

This same general formula applies if you live outside of Florida – solar installation certification typically requires external backing for it to be 100% legitimate.

Solar Installation Certificate – What Is It?

Solar installation certificates don’t carry the same weight as “certification.”

Why?

Because anyone, and I do mean anyone, with a computer can print out a certificate.  Gold leaf, fancy calligraphy, watermarks, raised seals, and countless other enhancements don’t make solar installation certificates official – they just make them “look” cool.

Does This Mean That Solar Installation Certificates Are Worthless? 

So if solar energy certificates are not official documents recognized by other parties, does this make them useless?

Not necessarily.

Solar installation certificates are terrific for putting on your resume.

In fact, we regularly (and proudly) hand out our own certificates at the end of our solar PV training courses.  It’s important that we commemorate the successful completion of our modules.

But…

Our solar energy certificates are more than just pieces of paper.  They are official documents backed by the Florida Department of Education, the Florida Department of Businesses and Professional Regulation, and the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board.

In fact, we’re the only licensed, dedicated solar PV training school in the world, so naturally, we tend to feel that our solar installation certificates carry at least some weight – in Florida and abroad.

But this weight doesn’t come from arrogance or wishful thinking.  Rather – our solar installation certificates carry weight because we’re licensed to provide solar installation certification.

Don’t Be Fooled by Clever Marketing & Gimmicks

When you see “100% Natural” on food packaging, do you read the ingredients?  I definitely do.  I like to know – 100% natural “what” exactly.

I encourage you to use this same approach when selecting solar PV training schools.  When programs advertise solar energy certificates, always ask what organizations, if any, recognize these credentials.

The answer may just surprise you.

Original Article on The US Solar Institute