Solar Training, Apprentice Programs & Licensing
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There are rigorous requirements to become a solar PV and thermal installer in Oregon. Please refer to the resources below for more information.
Oregon Building Codes Division
Energy Trust of Oregon Trade Ally
The Energy Trust of Oregon offers a set of rebates for the installation of solar electric and solar thermal systems for both residential and commercial customers through their Trade Ally program. Becoming an Energy Trust trade ally requires program training, a contractor's license and insurance. For more information, please contact the Energy Trust at 1-866-368-7878, or check their website for how to join the trade ally network.
Solar Electric Specific Licensing and Training
Limited Renewable Energy Technician (LRT)
The Limited Renewable Energy Technician (LRT) license is a specialty electrician license. LRT's are specialty electricians trained to install renewable energy systems (solar electric, wind turbines, micro-hydro, and fuel cells) up to 25kW AC.
LRT's are regulated in the same way that all other electricians in the state of Oregon are: through the Building Codes Division (BCD) and the Electrical and Elevator Board. More information on the LRT can be found here.
LRT Apprentice Program
The Limited Renewable Energy Technician Apprentice program is a 4,000 hour specialty electrician program. This work can be completed in two years provided the apprentice is working full time, but in many cases extends beyond that due to work flow and some seasonal shift in the amount of work available.
There are 2 main requirements for the program: On the Job Training (OJT- the actual work) and Related Training (RT - required educational courses).
The OJT requirement is 4000 hours total. These hours are obtained through working with one or more approved 'training agents' (the contractors). Most apprentices will perform the bulk of their OJT hours with one training agent, but are allowed and encouraged to work for more than one in the course of their apprenticeship to gain a broader view of the work and methods of performing it.
The Related Training requirement is 144 hours/year for the two years and 24 hours per year each additional year. This is equivalent to about four 3-credit community college courses/year. These courses are available throughout Oregon at local community college apprentice programs, as well as some related training opportunities offered by OSEIA.
The LRT Apprentice program is approved through the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) so it is held to strict state requirements.
For more information on the program contact the program administrators at: NW Apprenticeship Services Lou Long 4727 San Francisco Dr. NE Salem, Or 97305 firstname.lastname@example.org 541.279.1543
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
Entry Level PV Certification - Entry Level Program is designed for those individuals wanting to get into the solar field; achievement of the NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam is a way for candidates to demonstrate that they have achieved a basic knowledge of the fundamental principles of the application, design, installation and operation of grid-tied and stand-alone PV Systems.
NABCEP Professional Certifications
Renewable Energy Training
Clackamas Community College Renewable Energy Program
Clackamas Community College educates about all renewable energies, and offers a one year certificate & a two year Renewable Energy Technician associates degree geared toward individuals interested in the design and installation of renewable energy systems. Clackamas works with apprenticeship programs for the installation of solar electric and thermal systems. At Clackamas Community College you’ll not only learn the theory, but all our classes have hands on learning where you will learn to install Solar PV, Solar thermal, program controllers and design/install systems!
Clackamas CC can be reached at (503) 594-3659, or on the web at https://www.clackamas.edu/Programs/Renewable-Energy-Technology.aspx
Solar Hot Water Specific Licensing and Training
The Solar Heating and Cooling Installer (STL)
The Solar Heating and Cooling Installer (STL) license is a specialty plumbing license available in the state of Oregon for individuals interested in installing solar hot water systems. (See ORS 447 and OAR 918-695.) STLs are specialty plumbers specifically trained to install solar thermal (solar hot water) systems.
A licensed STL is legally allowed to install, maintain, and repair all elements of a solar hot water system except the final connection to a potable water source (which must be performed by a licensed journeyman plumber).
STLs are regulated in the same way that all other plumbers in the state of Oregon are: through the Building Codes Division (BCD) plumbing division. More information on the SLT is available on the here.
STL Apprentice Program
The STL plumbing license is a specialty plumbing license allowing individuals to install solar thermal systems without going through a full plumbing apprenticeship. All individuals who install solar thermal systems in Oregon are required to obtain one of these two licenses (STL or Plumbing).
There are 2 main requirements for the STL Apprenticeship program: On the Job Training (OJT- the actual work) and Related Training (RT - required educational courses).
The OJT requirement is 2000 hours total. These hours are obtained through working with one or more approved 'training agents' (the contractors). In the beginning it is imperative that the apprentice be actively involved in obtaining work. The STL apprentice committee can provide contact information and possible leads, however, the bulk of obtaining the work is up to the apprentice.
The Related Training requirement is 144 hours for the first year and 24 each following year. These hours are available as distance learning coordinated through the RE JATC (Renewable Energy Joint Apprentice Training Committee) as well as classroom hours available from community colleges and other organizations around the state. Most of the apprentice courses are offered in the evening to allow OJT during the day.
The STL Apprentice program is approved through the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).
For more information on the program contact the program administrators at:
NW Apprenticeship Services
4727 San Francisco Dr. NE
Salem, Or 97305
Check out the US Dept. of Energy's website regarding Renewable Energy Licensing in Oregon.