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NABCEP - The Gold Standard in Solar Technical Certification
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May 16, 2014
Sullivan Solar Power
We have always strived to have a well-trained workforce at Sullivan Solar Power, far beyond that of our peers in the industry. This translates into high-quality solar electric systems, a safer work environment, enriched employees, continual talent building, and employee retention. For example, our electricians and installation crews must have at least 5,000 hours of training before being allowed on your roof. Our Sullivan University gives everyone at the company the opportunity to learn anything from the sales and proposal process, to electrical design, to putting panels on a roof. We also pay for college and vocational courses to help people become the best version of themselves possible.
Most companies do not invest in training at this level. The reason is simple; it's expensive, time consuming, and the return on investment is not immediate. Smaller companies cannot afford to pull employees out of their workflow for even a day of training without literally running into cash problems at the end of the month. This is a very real problem without an easy answer. Large companies fail to train their staff adequately for other reasons; executives are accountable to stakeholders who want quantifiable returns. It's difficult to find a quantifiable return on training, unless you know where to look.
We recently took a giant leap forward. We did something unprecedented in the solar industry, not just in Southern California, but anywhere in the United States. We sent basically our entire staff to get NABCEP certified. Let me explain what that is, and why it's so significant.
NABCEP stands for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. NABCEP is the gold standard for training and certification in the solar industry. It is not easy, or cheap, to get certified. I recently spent a week in Murrieta, California, taking a course preparing for the certification exam. The course was tough. The exam tougher.
Why are we the first to do this? We know how to quantify return on training investment. You can see it in our craftsmanship. You can hear it speaking to our employees. We set the standards then exceed them. NABCEP certification is generally reserved for a few top people in a solar power company. Not at Sullivan Solar Power - everyone from our webmaster to our marketing team now holds a NABCEP certificate.
Expect to see the rest of the industry follow in a year or two.