NABCEP and U.S. Department of Energy Develop Three New Specialty Certifications in Photovoltaic Design, Installer, and Commissioning & Maintenance

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New Certifications Reflect Specialization in the PV Industry and will be offered via Computer-Based Testing at over 600 Test Sites within U.S. & Canada.

Clifton Park, NY, October 22, 2017 --( The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the most widely respected certification organization in the renewable energy industry, announced three new specialty certifications for the solar industry. Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative, the new certifications are: PV Design Specialist, PV Installer Specialist, and PV Commissioning and Maintenance Specialist. Beginning January 3rd, 2018, the new specialty certification exams, along with NABCEP’s PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Certification exam, will be offered via computer-based testing (CBT) at over 600 test sites in the U.S. and Canada.

Achieving specialty certification demonstrates that PV professionals possess the advanced training, knowledge, and competencies required for their job while conveying that they have earned an externally validated and rigorously developed certification.

“We developed our PV Installation Professional Certification in 2002 as a way to certify PV installers who do it all; they can design, install, operate, commission, and maintain PV systems,” says Shawn O’Brien, Executive Director of NABCEP. “As the PV industry has matured, we noticed that job specialization within the PV industry was becoming the new norm. We developed these certifications with the Department of Energy to reflect the changes in the industry and provide a way for professionals to earn a certification that attests to their level of knowledge and proficiency in their specialty.”

NABCEP’s three new specialty certification exams will only be available via computer-based testing at any of Castle Worldwide, Inc.’s testing centers across the United States and Canada, while the PVIP exam will be available in both CBT and paper-and-pencil format.

“We made the decision to offer these four exams via CBT, and more in the near future, to provide test-takers with more convenience, decrease their cost of travel, and reduce our paper consumption,” said Don Warfield, Chair of NABCEP’s Board of Directors. “We believe that offering more specialty certifications and increasing the availability of our certification exams will have a major impact on consumer protection within the renewable energy industry. Since many PV consumers have difficulty evaluating and verifying what they need, NABCEP’s certification programs are an invaluable tool for consumers to choose skilled and knowledgeable professionals while improving the overall welfare of the PV market.”

NABCEP’s new certifications were developed with the financial assistance of the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. With the SunShot Initiative’s support, NABCEP will implement its new certification suite and offer testing services nationally.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the most respected, well-established and widely recognized national certification organization for professionals in the field of renewable energy. NABCEP offers entry-level knowledge assessment, professional certification, and company accreditation programs to renewable energy professionals throughout North America. NABCEP’s mission is to develop and implement quality credentialing and certification programs for practitioners by supporting and working closely with professionals and stakeholders in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.

About the SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. SunShot aims to make solar energy a low cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Daniel Pickel
Program Manager



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Duke Energy extends paid leave to fathers, increases maternal leave benefits

John Downey , Senior Staff WriterJan 26, 2017, 11:44am EST

Duke Energy has expanded its parental leave policy, adding six more weeks of paid leave for birth mothers and giving fathers six weeks of paid leave as well.

The Charlotte-based company says the expansion is designed to help employees balance their home and work lives. And the expansion is important for Duke’s efforts to recruit and retain highly skilled workers, says Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Anderson.

The additional paid leave for mothers and fathers applies to births, adoptions and foster-care placements. Employees can take the leave within the first 16 weeks of the birth, adoption or placement. That means new parents could extend the time that a child is cared for in the home by allowing one spouse to take leave after the other. Same-sex domestic partners also qualify for the additional benefits.

Piedmont later

The new policy will not, however, immediately extend to the 1,465 workers at Duke subsidiary Piedmont Natural Gas. The more generous benefits are not expected to be afforded to Piedmont workers until Jan. 1, 2018, says Piedmont spokeswoman Loree Elswick.

Duke (NYSE: DUK) bought Piedmont in October. Piedmont employee benefits will remain the same as they were before the acquisition until all benefits are combined into a single offering. Duke expects that to be completed early next year, Elswick says.

Paige Meltzer, director of the Women’s Center at Wake Forest University, says Duke’s benefits are among the more generous being offered by employers in the United States.

Other companies

The Family Medical Leave Act requires employers to offer new mothers and fathers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. But Meltzer says only about 20% of employers offer any amount of paid leave.

Duke says only 17% extend paid leave to fathers as well as mothers, according to a study compiled in 2015.

Last week, the coffee chain Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced it was offering paid leave to fathers as well as mothers. Meltzer says marquee corporate brands such as Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) also extend paid leave to fathers. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) has offered paid paternal and maternal leave since 2009 and last year extended the paid benefits from 12 weeks to 16.

Life balance

Anderson says Duke began seriously exploring the possibility of adding paid parental leave to its benefits package two years ago. She says that was in response to strong employee interest and growing competition among companies for the best workers.

“Paid parental leave will give Duke Energy employees important quality time to bond with their new children without the financial pressure of having to immediately return to work,” she says. “Coupled with our other work-family benefits, paid parental leave also will help us recruit and retain the next generation of highly skilled workers.”

Meltzer says that paid family leave also improves morale and productivity for workers — another plus for employers.

She says more companies are offering or expanding paid-leave policies for new and expecting parents. That comes despite the lack of any national policy on such paid leave.

She says work-life balance issues such as paid leave have become increasingly important for companies as they seek to recruit millennials, who expect more from employers on such issues than workers in previous generations.

Duke Energy employs about 29,000 people nationwide, including close to 8,400 in the Charlotte region.

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WISE partners with SEI to empower women through solar training


WISE partners with SEI to empower women through solar training

Women in Solar Energy (WISE) and Solar Energy International (SEI) are working to train and empower more women in the solar energy workforce. This partnership will support SEI’s historical outreach efforts to women in the industry and provides discounted training opportunities to WISE’s membership base. All eligible SEI Alumni will be granted membership to WISE at no extra cost, an incredible opportunity for Alumni to connect with an established network of women working in the solar industry.

“Solar Energy International (SEI) is thrilled to announce our expanded partnership with WISE, encouraging even more women to enter the solar industry,” said Kathy Swartz, SEI Executive Director. “Since SEI’s founding in 1991, they have empowered women to enter the renewable energy  workforce through scholarships, women’s-only trainings, and by the incredible women that teach and work for SEI. By partnering with WISE, our alumni will have access to WISE’s expansive networking opportunities for women to interact with and receive support from other women in the industry. The SEI/WISE partnership leverages what each organization does best and women, whether new to the industry or pioneers, benefit!”

“Kathy Swartz, Justine Sanchez, Marlene Brown, Rebekah Hren and others involved with SEI have supported WISE in various ways over the past few years of our development,” said Kristen Nicole, WISE Executive Director. “Through direct feedback, advice and encouragement to shape our mission and programs and keep us true to the heartbeat of the industry. I greatly appreciate their sharing in the vision of WISE as an independent non-profit that leverages technical depth and celebrates diversity and inclusion in the solar energy industry.  We are thrilled be in a position to solidify this formal and positive relationship with SEI and will continue to provide much needed career resources for our community.  We look forward to working with SEI through this MOU to ensure that our community has access to job training resources and career support and that our efforts are complementary and successful for the long haul.”

SEI was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization, and since has trained over 50,000 students around the world. Their mission is to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower people, communities, and businesses worldwide. SEI envisions a world powered by renewable energy.

Headquartered in Boston, Mass., WISE is the only 501c3 non-profit network dedicated to advocating diversity and inclusion in the solar energy industry.

News item from SEI


Hopper at SEIA completes women’s superfecta


Hopper at SEIA completes women’s superfecta

When Abigail “Abby” Ross Hopper assumes her duties as president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association next week, it signals a new course for the national association and ushers in an era when the six most powerful association positions in the U.S. solar industry will be held by women.


Abigail “Abby” Ross Hopper’s ascension to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) top spot, held on an interim basis by long-time SEIA staffer Tom Kimbis after previous President and CEO Rhone Resch stepped down in April, represents two subtle but significant developments in the solar industry.

First, the choice of Hopper, a woman with important state-level experience with the solar industry, may represent a shift for the organization from the focus under Resch, which was primarily on federal policy. With the extension of the federal investment tax credit (ITC) in December 2015, most industry observers believe the bulk of future solar-policy discussions will shift to the states.

The recent decision in Arizona to end net-metering in all but name, the ballot initiative defeated in Florida that would have kept solar strictly in the hands of the state’s utilities and Nevada’s ongoing struggle to figure out how to integrate solar into its grid are just a handful of the issues Hopper seems particularly qualified to tackle.

Second, when Hopper becomes the first woman to take the reins at SEIA, the six most influential U.S. solar associations will be headed by women. Julia Hamm currently leads the Smart Electric Power Alliance, which is heavily involved in solar at the utility and community scale. Andrea Luecke leads The Solar Foundation, which puts out the annual solar jobs survey and oversees other critical industry research. Carly Rixham is in charge at the American Solar Energy Society.

In addition, Bernadette Del Chiaro and Lucy Mason run the SEIA chapters in California and Arizona respectively. Those two states rank No. 1 and No. 2 in SEIA’s Top 10 Solar State rankings, which put those two associations – and the women who run them – at the apex of influence they wield as the challenges solar faces continue to grow.

According to the industry group Women in Solar Energy (WISE), women made up only 21.6% of the solar workforce in 2014, the last year of available statistics. That realization makes Hopper’s and the others’ leadership even more crucial since the solar industry has emphasized that it wants more women to become part of the industry.

Tony Clifford, part of SEIA’s executive committee and chief development officer for Rockville, Md.-based Standard Solar, had the opportunity to observe and work with Hopper when she worked on Gov. O’Malley’s staff in Maryland. He says he’s thrilled to have someone of her caliber to lead solar’s national association.

“Abby Hopper possesses the skill set, experience and personality to effectively lead SEIA through what are undoubtedly going to be turbulent times,” Clifford said. “Her past work has demonstrated her management capabilities and provided her with broad energy experience at the public service commission, state and federal levels.”

“Of equal importance is her demonstrated ability to work both sides of the political aisle and to effectively deal with a variety of energy industry and environmental stakeholders,” Clifford added. “She is an outstanding choice to lead SEIA.”

For her part, Hopper is excited to join the solar industry at such a pivotal time.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead SEIA,” Hopper said. “I have spent my career working with all sides of the political and ideological spectrum to arrive at pragmatic approaches to energy policy, and I believe I can use that experience to serve our SEIA members.”




Fall 2016 WISE Newsletter


Fall 2016 WISE Newsletter

Dear WISE Stakeholders,

Wow. It's hard to believe that another year has passed and WISE is now stronger than ever!  2016 has been fantastic for WISE thanks to your support and encouragement. Here are a few highlights: 

  • #NationWISE 2016 - This year our second-annual national round table connected 500+ WISE stakeholders in 20 cities across the U.S. SAVE THE DATE The 3rd Annual #NationWISE 2017 will be held on February 23rd, 2017!
  • #WISETribe Membership - Our WISETribe Membership numbers are way up! We gained an additional 200 members in 2016, making it our most successful WISE year to date! Make sure if you are an active WISETribe member to join WISEweb and stay up to date on the latest exclusive content. 
  • #WISETribe Programs - We had a fantastic year of programming for our members - supporting SheSpeaks Solar efforts, discounts at InterSolar, SPI and various GTM and Infocast events. Our mentorship program is getting organized to kick-off the 2017 year! Recruiters, job postings and career services keep growing!  Our Blog is now the WISE Podcast. All of the WISE programming you love, and a few new additions, will be back in full force in 2017! 

Looking forward to next year, our presence will continue to grow, through new and exciting partnerships. We are finally in a position to expand the WISETribe internationally, through WISE Europe, WISE Asia and through our WISE Workshops. New major conferences - both regional and national - are in discussions with us to partner on gender diversity and pool qualified speakers for their 2017 line-up. And everyday employers approach us requesting assistance in hiring more diverse employees into the solar energy industry. Our distribution reach through social media is also on the rise! 

It's been a fun year and 2017 is looking even better. We can't do it without your support and the support of our industry partners.  We are now actively fundraising for our 2017 General Fund to underwrites operation for the year, tell your employers you want to see another year of WISE!

Thanks for believing in WISE.

The WISE Warriors

Save the Date: #NationWISE - February 23, 2017

#NationWISE, our annual multi-city round table, is back for the 3rd year! Already 17 cities have signed up. Want to get involved? The deadline for city submissions is January 15th, 2017. Learn more>>

WISETribe Programs

Members - have you joined WISEweb to gain access to exclusive content? If not, please do! Also, if your company supports WISE through corporate sponsorship, you may be eligible for access. Ask! Our mentorship program is getting organized for the 2017 year! If you are a WISE member and wish to opt-in to the 1-on-1 matching program, log in to your WISEWeb account and ensure you opt in to the program via your profile (My Profile > Options > Edit).

Not yet involved? Become a WISE member today.

KidSun Education

Kidsun Education, our partnership with Brightergy, has been under serious development in 2016 and is ready for formal launch! We have partnered with ReCharge Labs, Inc. (Formerly KidWind, Inc.) to bring the latest in solar kits and K-12 solar energy curriculum, all mapped into Common Core. We plan to hit the road this year to showcase our efforts>> make sure your city is on the map! 

Please reach out to inquire about getting KidSun Education locally in your school! Learn More >>>

*NEW* WISE Podcast  

We have formally launched our latest news endeavor, WISE Podcast. Tune in to WISE via SoundCloud in 2017 to hear about the latest happenings, interviews and industry initiatives.  


Portland, OR - August 2016 WISE + OSEIA.  Thank you to Itek Energy and Eoff Electric Supply!


Solar donation will help support domestic violence survivors at YWCA


Solar donation will help support domestic violence survivors at YWCA

SALT LAKE CITY — A donation from a Utah tech company will help Utah’s largest women’s shelter save money.

YWCA Utah Wednesday "flipped the switch" on a new 53.6 kilowatt solar electric system that will allow the local nonprofit organization to save more than $160,000 over the next quarter century on its electricity bills. The savings can be used to provide more critically needed programs for women and families who have been victims of domestic violence, said Shauna Spencer, YWCA chief domestic violence services officer.    

"Today, about 1 in 3 women in Utah will experience domestic violence in their lifetime," she said. "The most important thing we can do is help the individuals here feel safe. And from feeling safe, envision hope."

YWCA Utah provides shelter, transitional housing, education, and supportive services for women and children who have experienced family violence. The new rooftop solar panel system was installed on the organization’s Kathleen Robison Huntsman Residence, offsetting a third of the building’s electricity needs.

The donation was the first of Auric Solar’s "Buy Solar. Give Solar" program in which for every 100 kilowatts of solar installed commercially and residentially, the company donates 1 kilowatt toward a free solar system to a deserving community organization.

“YWCA Utah has a track record of success helping the community, and their inspiring commitment to serving people will have a ripple effect for generations,” said Auric Solar co-owner Jess Phillips. “That commitment aligns perfectly with what Auric Solar is about and who we strive to be.”

**Republished By Jasen Lee @JasenLee1Published: Oct. 26, 2016 3:30 p.m.



Greentech Media Shows that SheSpeaks Solar at U.S. Solar Market Insight 2015

Returning for its fifth year, Greentech Media’s U.S. Solar Market Insight 2015 conference is essential for anyone involved, or looking to get involved, in the U.S. solar industry. Based on over five years of analysis of installation data, the event dissects cost trends, discusses the future of project finance and business models, and examines the potential of individual states and market segments. The event, taking place November 2-4 in San Diego, California, will focus on the future and help you hone your strategy for 2016 while connecting with an exclusive group of industry thought-leaders. Attendees will learn how to navigate complex market dynamics and local policies to access innovative project finance and unlock hidden growth markets.

The speaker lineup features 15 of the industry’s all-star females - and WISE members - including Kristina Peterson, Senior Vice President at Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, Meghan Nutting, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs at Sunnova, Elena Foukes Lucas, CEO of Utility API, and many more! Check out the event website to learn more. Register today to receive 15% off your ticket price with the discount code: WISE15.

Greentech Media is a SheSpeaks Solar conference. WISE works with conference organizers such as Greentech Media, the Midwest Solar Expo, and others to increase the number of female speakers at industry conferences. We do this by sharing our esteemed list of members and their speaker credentials with organizations that we partner with. For more information on making your event a SheSpeaks Solar event, contact