NABCEP Entry Level PV Exam

The first step to solar PV






  • Official title of certification: NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam
  • Sponsoring organization: North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
  • Career Benefits: this exam should not be confused with a license to install solar panels, but it does demonstrate some knowledge and competence in the fast-growing field of solar PV and solar heating. Anyone hoping to work as a solar installer should consider it an essential part of their career development, but it can also distinguish salespeople, contractors, and energy auditors who will increasingly be discussing or selling PV systems with clients.  Finally, the test can be seen as a competitive advantage by hiring personnel at utility companies, government agencies, and larger energy companies.
  • Applicable Industries: solar installation, electrical, energy auditing and home inspection, construction and remodeling, utility administration, government agencies
  • Exam Content: the exam tests ten “modules” of content: PV Markets and Applications; Safety Basics; Electricity Basics; Solar Energy Fundamentals; PV Module Fundamentals; PV System Components; PV System Sizing; PV System Electrical Design; PV System Mechanical Design; and Performance Analysis and Troubleshooting
  • Exam Prerequisites: successfully completing a PV training program with an registered training provider sometime in the 6 months prior to taking the exam; completing a “Candidate Eligibility Form” which is signed by the course instructor
  • Training Class required to take exam?: yes (see above)
  • Average Cost of Training Class: ~$500-900 (sometimes includes testing fees – be sure to ask training provider)
  • Typical Training Class Length (excluding testing days): typically 1 week (40 hours class time), but sometimes stretched out over 8 weeks or even longer
  • Components of exam: written only
  • Exam Fee: $75 for paper version and $95 for computer version + provider registration fees of up to $75 for submitting Candidate Eligibility Form
  • Testing Time and Length:   2 hours for 60 questions + registration time
  • Pass Requirements: must get a 65% or higher (39 out of 60 questions)
  • Required Recertification?: No
  • Registration Process: after successfully completing a PV training program and submitting a “Candidate Eligibility Form,” candidates can register for the exam at any Prometric test center in North America
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Hentry October 12, 2011, 9:33 pm

    Hi , I am interested in the NABCEP entry level exam. I have and Elec. Engineering background and I feel I can take the test with min guidance. The questions are –
    1. Do I have to take a class with one of the registered providers or can I study with a study guide and take the test.


  • PRKR October 13, 2011, 5:26 am

    Unfortunately I think you have to take a class for the Entry-Level

  • Vegen March 25, 2012, 4:36 pm

    Hi, I am electrical design engineer and C-10 and Industrial journyman licence holder, I also design solar power system and install the same, I have tried three time the NABCEP installer test where the last one was on 3-24-12. it was so taugh I think I may fail this third attempt too, four our time is very less for such a taugh exam, it need to increase time.
    however How can I take NABCEP basic sertificate exam is it possible to take the exam online?


  • J Smith April 10, 2012, 6:33 pm

    Wow, I found this Nabcep study guide to be thorough and detail ridden.
    Just what I am going to need to pass the entry exem with confidence and flying colors!

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