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Learn with PV courses and certification

Photovoltaic systems offer consumers a green, renewable source of energy for their homes, and interest in photovoltaic systems is growing as energy costs continue to rise. Although the initial cost of solar power systems remains high, costs are expected to decline as the technology continues to develop. As costs drop, the demand for certified PV installation technicians will increase.

Those interested in the growing field of renewable energy should consider enrolling in photovoltaics courses to prepare for the future job market. The classes are also beneficial to construction contractors, home designers, and homeowners who want to go off the grid. Basic PV courses are available for homeowners; More advanced practical classes are required for certification purposes.

Classes are available in most states, and some community colleges now offer short courses to the public. Online classes are also available for people who live in rural areas or parts of the country where courses are not currently offered. Costs vary widely, depending on the subjects taught and the general popularity of the courses; In areas where PV is more common, instructional costs are often lower, sometimes costing just a few hundred dollars.

When looking for an instructor or class, be sure to check that courses count toward NABCEP certification credit. The North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals website contains information to help prospective photovoltaics students determine which courses they should take to receive certification. The site also includes helpful guides for finding PV installation programs and registered instructors.

Student scholarships are available in some areas to help cover the cost of classes and certification. Other student financing options should be discussed before enrolling in any training program. Private funding for PV certification can also be found through clubs, green living groups, and individual donations. Those with limited funds but good credit can get a student loan. Educational loans and grants for renewable energy classes are also sometimes found through employers and local government offices.

Once certified, PV installers can register with NABCEP, their state’s BBB, and local green energy groups. Doing so will provide instant credibility with clients and employers alike. While income levels vary by area and experience, the average PV technician can expect to earn between thirty and fifty thousand dollars per year. That number is expected to rise as photovoltaics becomes less expensive and more accepted by homebuyers and builders.

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