How Do You Protect Your Solar, Wind or Energy Efficiency Investment?

New Coalition Says Start Asking for Quality Credentialed People, Products and Programs

(Chicago, IL) - Groundbreaking growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency industries makes it more important than ever that consumers, energy incentive programs and industry can distinguish people, products and programs that meet the highest standards for quality, safety and efficiency.

In response, a group of well-established, nationally accredited credentialing organizations announces the formation of a unique Clean Energy Credentialing Coalition (CECC). They have joined together to demonstrate and promote the collective importance of third-party quality assessment, and the value it brings to building strong and competent renewable energy and energy efficiency markets.

The announcement was made at Solar Power International (SPI), the solar energy industry's most powerful, comprehensive educational conference and product exhibition, October 21-24 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The coalition is creating a campaign to build awareness of the value of credentialing - particularly as a distinguishing tool for consumers, energy incentive programs, employers and industry. A quality credential is a mark of excellence that can boost consumer confidence in renewable energy and energy efficiency professionals, products and programs. A new landing page introduces the coalition and the campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to educate, enlighten and elevate interest in the benefits associated with clean energy credentialing - from consumers and educators, to manufacturers and government decision makers.

"United in the pursuit of quality, safety and efficiency, the coalition will work to encourage consumers and other stakeholders to look for credentialed renewable energy and energy efficiency professionals and products," explains coalition member Larry Zarker, of the Building Performance Institute (BPI).

As employers look to hire certified technicians who were trained by accredited education and training programs, the full circle that instills confidence in a quality workforce and industry then begins to close.

"Quality is invisible. Mistakes are not," says Jane Weissman, president/CEO of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) on the importance of standards, credentialing and third-party assessment. "The strength of this group is the collective commitment to better workmanship, better products and better training." She adds: "It is evident that the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries place high value on raising the bar for quality assurances."

Recognized quality credentials send a strong signal that a rigorous standard has been met, offering a mark of distinction that strengthens the credential holder. Consumers can look for products that are certified for quality and safety, and credentialed professionals trained for appropriate, effective, safe installation and service. Together they ensure that once products are installed, they do what they were intended to do, save or create energy.

Educational programs can use accreditation to improve enrollment in light of a competitive training market. Installers of solar systems, weatherization products and other home energy efficiency retrofit work can set themselves apart from others who are less qualified. And clean energy programs that provide financial incentives to consumers have an added assurance of safety, performance and reliability to justify their investment.

"For customers to be happy and the industry to thrive, quality must be central to every aspect of renewables and efficiency," adds Richard Lawrence, executive director of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). "To have a solar system successfully operate for decades, the components must be reliable and perform as promised, and they must be installed properly by competent personnel. Respected credentialing organizations assure that customers are getting the quality they expect."

"Credentialing is the best tool we have to instill confidence in clean energy products and professionals," says Jim Huggins, technical director of the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation™ (SRCC). "Certification has filtered out inferior products that were unable to improve."

"As consumers are gaining more confidence in clean energy industries, certification is helping to expand the market and ensure growth for the future," adds Larry Sherwood, chair of the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC).

Eileen Prado of the SRCC adds one more note for perspective: "Whether we're looking at credentialed people, products or programs, increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency is another way to increase American jobs and our nation's energy independence."

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