CNM Solar Center of Excellence
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Solar Center of Excellence?
The CNM Workforce Training Center (WTC) has been providing training in Photovoltaic (PV) installation since 2009. In January 2012, CNM was awarded the Solar Center of Excellence grant to continue training by building upon the existing PV Academy and to develop new solar training courses. The Centers of Excellence were established through a 3 year, $6 million dollar American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant awarded through the U.S. Department of Labor and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.
Can the grant still pay for training?
No, as of March 2013 free training through the grant has come to an end. However, CNM will continue to be the Solar Center of Excellence and will continue to serve the New Mexico solar industry by providing training in the PV Academy, Solar Heating Academy, and advanced training classes.
What is a PV or Solar Heating Installer?
Also called solar panel installer, installers assemble, install, or maintain solar panel systems on roofs or other structures.
What is the PV Academy?
Photovoltaics is the field of technology related to the conversion of solar energy into electricity. This academy consists of three modules. The PV Academy consists of three modules. The first is a 16 hour Introduction to Solar Energy and Solar Electricity. The second module is a 30 hour class on General PV and Installation, which includes hands-on training in CNM’s Sustainable Technology Lab. The third module is a 4 hour NABCEP Entry Level Exam Prep. Following the Academy, CNM will administer the NABCEP Entry Level Exam. This all takes approximately 8 days. These days are split up based on instructor availability.
What is the Solar Heating Academy?
The Solar Heating Academy is a 48 hour course which covers the basics needed to install solar heating/solar thermal systems, and to prepare the student to take the NABCEP Entry Level Solar Heating Exam. This course also includes hands-on training in CNM’s Sustainable Technology Lab. Following the Academy, CNM will administer the NABCEP Entry Level Exam. This all takes approximately 9 days. These days are split up based on instructor availability.
What is NABCEP?
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners; once you complete an Academy, you will be qualified to sit for the NABCEP Entry Level Exam. You must attend the entire training to qualify for the exam. Individuals passing the NABCEP Entry Level Exams should not be confused with NABCEP Certified PV Installers or NABCEP Certified Solar Heating Installers. The latter can only be achieved by highly experienced individuals who have passed a much more rigorous examination and have demonstrated the capability to supervise complete system installations, and who have a detailed working knowledge of the electrical and plumbing codes, standards and accepted industry practice associated with PV and Solar Heating installations.
As the market grows for both PV and Solar Heating, students achieving this industry-sponsored Entry Level Exam may find that their employment opportunities are enhanced by starting the job with an understanding of the basic terms and operational aspects of a PV or Solar Heating system. However, completing coursework and passing the exam does not qualify an individual to install these systems.
When are the trainings and how do I register?
To see what is currently scheduled, please click here. There you will see where you can register for either individual PV modules or for the entire PV Academy, for the Solar Heating Academy, or for other renewable energy courses including advanced solar classes.
Who should take this training?
These academies are designed for someone with no prior solar knowledge to learn the skills necessary to enter the solar industry. However, prior electrical (for PV), plumbing (for Solar Heating), or construction experience is strongly recommended and is what most employers are looking for.
I’ve already taken the PV Academy and work in the industry, but now I want to be a NABCEP Certified Installation Professional. Do you offer the necessary training I need?
If you have previously passed the NABCEP Entry Level Exam, you will need an additional 40 hours of training to meet one of NABCEP’s requirements to sit for the Certified Installation Professional Exam. The CNM Workforce Training Center currently offers an eight hour NEC for PV Installers class and a 16 hour PV Operations and Maintenance class. CNM is working on developing an Advanced PV Academy to meet the needs of those hoping to take the NABCEP Certified Installation Professional Exam.
I am already a NABCEP Certified Installation Professional, but I need Continuing Education Credits to keep my certification. Do you offer those classes?
Yes, any advanced solar classes offered at the CNM Workforce Training Center count for NABCEP Continuing Education Credits. They will also count for Electrical Journeyman Continuing Education Units.
Who can I contact for more information?
For more information you may call 505-224-5200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.