Professional Credentialing

Courses at the MREA are based on industry approved task analysis (when available) and are designed to satisfy the knowledge and skill competencies for professional credentialing.

Below are the credentialing programs that MREA courses satisfy. If you'd like to skip to a specific credential, click the links below:

MREA Site Assessor Certificate Program
NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification
NABCEP Entry Level Exam
NABCEP Installer Certification
NABCEP Recertification - Continuing Education
ISPQ Instructor Certification
ISPQ Accreditation

MREA Site Assessor Certificate Program

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association is pleased to announce its Site Assessment Certificate Program (SACP). The MREA is looking forward to aligning the Site Assessment Certificate Program with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Interstate Renewable Energy Council's (IREC) new renewable energy and energy efficiency certificate standard.

On January 1, 2012, the MREA launched the Site Assessment Certificate Program, marking an end to the Certified Site Assessor (CSA) program.

The MREA Site Assessment Certificate provides a framework for the workforce and skills training needed by the growing body of professionals engaging consumers in the development of solar energy systems for their home and business. Site Assessors evaluate the energy consumption of a household or business, as well as the solar or wind resource at the location. They help clients understand system options and their benefits. They work with clients to recommend the site and size of the solar or wind systems. Site assessors also estimate system production and identify the cost, incentives, and financing options available.

Why pursue a Site Assessment Certificate?

The MREA Site Assessment Certificate is an entry-level credential. The certificate verifies MREA course completion, as well as satisfactory completion of site assessment program requirements. All certificate holders have completed the required MREA training, have had their practice assessments approved by a technology mentor, and have passed the site assessment exam.

The site assessment certificate is a valuable credential that: establishes an entry-level competency that is valuable to employers in the renewable energy field; serves as an add-on certificate to other principle skills or credentials in the green jobs industry including system design, installation, sales, finance, research, and policy; is a benchmark in the training and experience required for NABCEP PV Technical Sales certification.

How to get started

The first step to earning a MREA Site Assessment Certificate is for course participants to enroll in the introductory-level courses of the technology for which they desire a certificate (solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, or small wind energy). From there, participants may take the 201-level site assessment course for the same technology.

Once participants have completed their course requirements, they will assess two sites and provide practice site assessment reports to their technology mentor, who will review their assessments and approve them once they are deemed satisfactory.

Once the practice reports are approved, participants are eligible to take the site assessment exam after paying the exam fee of $50. Should they pass the exam, individuals can upload their business information to the Certificate Holder Directory, and then receive the MREA Site Assessment Certificate for the technology for which they are trained and gain access to the site assessment resource portal.

For more information visit the Site Assessment Certificate Program website.

Progression of Knowledge

MREA PV Site Assessment Certificate MREA Solar Thermal Site Assessment Certificate MREA Wind Site Assessment Certificate








NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification

The NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification is a voluntary certifcation that provides a set of national standards by which professionals with skills and experience can distinguish themselves from their competition. Compentency areas include customer qualification, site analysis, conceptual design, financial modeling, performance analysis, and proposal development. For more information, visit

NABCEP PV Technical Sales









NABCEP Entry Level Exam

The NABCEP Entry Level Program is designed for those individuals wanting to get into the solar field; achievement of the NABCEP 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 photovoltaic (PV) and solar heating systems.

Upon completion of the courses taught in accordance with the NABCEP Entry Level learning objectives, and prior to taking the NABCEP Entry Level Exam, participants should have demonstrated a basic understanding of the principles outlined in the learning objectives. The learning objectives for the exam are available at

Individuals passing the NABCEP Entry Level Exam should not be confused with NABCEP Certified Installers. Taking the classes and passing the exam does not qualify an individual to install systems.

NABCEP currently has entry-level exam programs in PV and solar heating.

The MREA is an entry-level exam provider for PV and has applied to become an exam provider for solar heating.

For more information, visit

NABCEP PV Entry Level Certificate NABCEP Solar Heating Entry Level Certificate










The MREA will be administering the PV NABCEP Entry Level paper exam on April 14, 2014 in Custer, WI.

For more information and to register for the PV NABCEP Entry Level Exam: Click Here

If you have completed the required courses and would like to take the NABCEP Entry Level Computer Based Exam. You may register and pay for the NABCEP exam online on our website.

To register and pay: Click Here

NABCEP Installation Professional (Installer) Certification

The MREA specializes in providing hands on renewable energy education. The MREA does not certify installers, but rather provides training based on nationally recognized standards for certification. Our courses, when taken in the recommended progression of knowledge, are shown to satsifty the knowledge and skills necessary for professional competency in the solar industry.

The NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification and Solar Heating Installer Certification are voluntary certifications that provide a set of national standards by which installers with skills and experience can distinguish themselves from their competition. The certifications are designed to: identify installers as professionals, instilling consumer confidence in their work; validate extra resources spent on training and gaining experience; allow for installer mobility as the market moves from state to state; allow installers to distinguish their skills and experience in the field.

For more information, visit

NABCEP PV Installer Certification NABCEP Solar Heating Installer Certification








NABCEP exam dates posted on their calendar here: NABCEP calendar page

NABCEP Exam Study Forum

The Site Assessor website has a section for NABCEP Exam Study Group in our forum. We invite you to post areas you would like to see addressed in an exam preparation class. Feel free to post about any other NABCEP study resources or prep classes.

NABCEP Recertification-Continuing Education

Some of MREA's courses are approved for NABCEP continuing education credits (CECs). To see a list of courses that qualify, visit the CEC page. Click here for more information on NABCEP recertification.

ISPQ Instructor Certification

In July 2005, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council became the North American Licensee for the ISPQ Standard and formed the IREC ISPQ Accreditation and Certification Program. The standard specifies requirements for competency, quality systems, resources, and qualification of a curriculum against which trainers and training programs can be evaluated.

Instructors looking to gain ISPQ instructor certification or master trainer certification need to log practical experience with the technology, including specialized training in renewable energy technologies and relevant professional installation experience.

All MREA PV, Solar Thermal, and Small Wind energy courses count as specialized training credit hours for ISPQ certification. MREA also offers courses designed specifically for PV and solar thermal instructors. As part of these offerings, instructors can participate in the following mentored installation opportunities to obtain professional installation experience:

  • PV 401 Advanced Photovoltaic Installation
  • PV 501 Lead Installer Training - Residential PV
  • PV 711 PV Training Lab Installation
  • ST 401 Advanced Solar Thermal Installation
  • ST 501 Solar Thermal Advanced Lead Installation
  • ST 711 Solar Thermal Training Lab Installation
  • W 305 Residential Wind Systems Installation

For more information on the ISPQ accreditation and certification program, visit

ISPQ Accreditation

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) uses the Institute of Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) international framework to assess content, quality, and resources across a range of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and weatherization training programs. The MREA has achieved this accreditation for many of its courses and instructors, a credential that shows that rigorous standards have been met.

The MREA maintains the following accreditations through ISPQ:

  • Accredited Training Program for Photovoltaics
  • Accredited Training Program for Solar Thermal
  • Continuing Education Provider for Introduction to Wind Energy Systems and Wind Site Assessor Training

In addition to our accreditation, we have many instructors who have received their instructor certification through ISPQ, and still more working toward their certification. Currently, the following MREA courses are accredited by ISPQ in three renewable energy technologies:

ISPQ Accredited Courses in Photovoltaics:

  • Basic Photovoltaics
  • Residential PV Site Assessor
  • Commercial PV Site Assessor
  • Intermediate PV
  • Firefighter Safety and Renewable Energy Systems
  • PV Design & Installation Lab
  • Advanced Lead Installer - Residential PV Installation

ISPQ Accredited Courses in Solar Thermal

  • Solar Domestic Hot Water
  • Residential Solar Hot Water Site Assessor
  • Commercial Solar Water Site Assessor
  • Solar Water Heating Installation Lab
  • Solar Space Heating Systems
  • Advanced Lead Installer - Residential Solar Thermal Installation
  • Solar Thermal Design

ISPQ Accredited Continuing Education in Wind

  • Introduction to Wind Energy Systems
  • Wind Site Assessor Training

Currently certified in photovoltaic technology are:

  • Craig Buttke, North Wind Renewable Energy
  • Cris Folk, Madison College
  • Kurt Nelson, SOLutions
  • Chris LaForge, Great Northern Sun (Affiliated Master Trainer)
  • Jack O'Donohue
  • Matthew Parks, Pieper Power
  • Clay Sterling, MREA
  • Frieda Synnestvedt
  • Ed Zinthefer, Arch Electric (Affiliated Master Trainer)

Currently certified in solar thermal technology are:

  • Andy DeRocher, Full Spectrum Solar
  • Mark Morgan, Bearpaw Design & Construction

Currently certified in small wind technology is:

  • Clay Sterling, MREA

MREA Course Schedule

If you are seeking training towards site assessment or installer certification, please see our current Course Schedule.