The cost and the PV course certificate is the easy part.
In 1993 the cost of a PV design and installation course was $1200.00 and took 40
hours. There were no PP presentations, CD's or online study guides. The manuals,
2-3 ring binders were 2 inches thick each. There were hours of lectures,
o/h projectors and whiteboard notes as well as the hands on part. A
complete written design was required and was hand graded. You will still get
what you pay for.
I know of almost no PV installation companies in Texas
that didn't begin at the ground up and bust their hump to get whatever
modest income they have achieved. Many others have failed or given up and
vanished from our ranks. Those who hang on will hopefully succeed but it won't
happen until the incentives arrive statewide.
Even AE's decent rebate program has seen installers
startup and still fail. I personally find it hard to believe that a truly
dedicated PV installation company could NOT survive with the "free money"
as is available in the Austin market. Granted the free money brings
installers "out of the woodwork" but only the smart and motivated will survive.
The exception is usually the deep pockets.
Still businesses with deep pockets have no excuse not to
survive, though having adequate business collateral still
doesn't guarantee that a company can do a safe, reputable and
efficient PV installation.
If you are looking for job security you already
posses it. If you are looking for a new career at your age (my age too) you have
as good a chance as any other entrepreneur. But if you don't have the
stomach for a long hard struggle, you won't be happy and you probably won't
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2008 12:17
Subject: Re: [hreg] RE experience
Try looking at the online courses from Solar Energy International.
I have been a residential electrician (some
commercial/industri al) for almost 28 years now. I have tried before
brainstorm how to get RE experience while staying employed to keep my
family finances intact. While exploring the job market nationally most
employers want someone already versed in the trade of Solar lets say.
OK, well I looked at getting certified either in Austin or Colorado to
be able to sit for the NABCEP exam. The courses are quite expensive
and consume precious work time ($$). Being self-employed this presents
quite a situation I have always had a passion for RE, homebuilding,
along with passive/mass solar installations and this has become quite
frustrating. With all of the problem-solving and intelligence from
this group I plead my case for any ideas that you all may have.
Thank you all in advance,
William B. Stange
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