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How to Pass the NABCEP Entry Level Exam

by Alice Stuart, studioD

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is a volunteer board of renewable energy stakeholders, offering certification in renewable energy installation. In order to become certified, you must pass the NABCEP entry level exam. While the NABCEP offers the certifications and exams, they do not offer training programs for those exams, so you will have to look elsewhere for that. Many local energy providers do not provide rebates to customers whose solar panels are installed by a non-certified provider.

Find a training program that will help you prepare for the NAPCEP exam. The NABCEP website suggests you find a program that meets the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's Institute for sustainable power quality guidelines. You should look for a training program that is designed specifically to prepare you for the NAPCEP exam. The NABCEP Website can help lead you towards an appropriate training program in your area.

Complete the training program in its entirety.

Register for the NABCEP entry level exam. The NABCEP offers both a computer based test option and a more traditional pencil and paper option. The exam costs $95 dollars as of 2013, with an additional $25 dollar fee for the computer based option. Pick the option that is best for you. The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and you are given two hours to complete it. The pre-exam procedures can take an additional 30 to 60 minutes, so the entire exam experience can take up to three hours. The results will be mailed to you within four to six weeks.

Study for the exam. There are practice exams available online to help you prepare.

Take the exam. A passing score for the exam is 70 percent. Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your certification from the NABCEP, along with your score report, in four to six weeks.


  • You don't need the NABCEP certification to install solar panels; however, there are benefits to being a NABCEP certified installer. Not only do some companies require NABCEP-certified installers in order to issue rebates to customers, but having the certification separates you from competitors and gives customers confidence in your skills.


  • It can take some time to be adequately prepared for the NABCEP entry level exam. The preparation courses, which are required before taking this exam, are offered in different lengths, ranging from a week long intensive 40-hour seminar to a semester-long course meeting three times a week for several hours. The amount of review you need prior to the test depends on your level of mastery after the training course.

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