NORTHBROOK, Ill., April 26, 2010 – Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global leader in safety testing and certification, announced today the introduction of a new program to train and certify installers of photovoltaic (PV) products and systems. The program, available beginning July 2010 through UL University (ULU), represents the first of many the organization will provide for practitioners across a wide range of industries and professions.

The PV System Installer certification program was created to meet and exceed existing industry requirements through a working cooperation with leading PV industry stakeholders, NGOs and professional associations. The new offering from ULU, geared towards licensed electricians, aims to satisfy a need to improve the safety and performance of PV systems through a more qualified workforce. With solar power expected to generate 10 percent of the world’s total electricity by 20351, the safety of installed systems will become even more important.

"ULU will offer hands-on training that will be closely aligned with the knowledge and skills required for practitioners to perform safely and effectively," said Patrick Boyle, President of ULU. "By increasing the number of qualified installers, UL is augmenting its 116-year-old commitment to public safety and helping the PV industry position itself to keep up with burgeoning demand and safely provide clean-energy solutions to the public."

Worldwide in 2009, PV installations reached a record high 7.3 gigawatt (GW), representing growth of 20 percent over the previous year.2 To help sustain this growth, industry personnel can be trained to meet a comprehensive standard that outlines proper guidelines for everything from PV systems installation to the safe manufacture of the product itself. ULU’s new PV installer program will increase the competence of personnel across the board and allow UL to engage its safety arm starting with equipment and extend it through to the actual installation, performance and safety of the end-user.

"The UL University program will streamline and standardize the education installers need to ensure the solar industry can fulfill its role as one of the primary energy sources of the future," said Bill Brooks, Professional Engineer of Brooks Solar and expert in the consulting and training needs of the PV industry. "Training these individuals to comply with an industry standard will provide the human capital needed to continue building upon the rapid and upward progress being made in the field."

In mid-summer 2010, ULU will unveil a new, full-service facility to support its venture into personnel certification. Located at UL’s RTP laboratories in Raleigh, NC, the campus will offer training and personnel certification programs in categories like general laboratory technology, PV testing, food safety, National Electric Code, electric vehicles and fire safety.

For more information on UL University and the PV System Installer certification program, visit http://www.uluniversity.us/certification.

1 2008 Photovoltaic Industry Analysis and Forecast

2 Solarbuzz’s "MarketBuzz 2010" energy market research report