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Old July 22nd, 2009 #1
OTPTT
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I was talking with someone earlier today who knows about my interest in alternative energy and specifically solar and wind power. He suggested that I become a certified alternative energy installer (sales included) and also suggested that I look into a trade school for electricians. I'm wondering how long it will take to complete the formal training and what limitations there are on what I can do when, or if, I completed such a program.

It would be necessary to become further certified in solar and wind power installations. I'm interested in being able to wire a solar or wind powered system into a preexisting home. If I completed a trade school course would I be able to do this on my own or would I also need a master (or other) electrician?

Time is a consideration as I don't have six years to do the apprentice thing. Thanks in advance.
 
Old July 22nd, 2009 #2
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Depending on your aptitude, you could learn simply wiring, in a couple weeks. Circuitry will take longer. If you're installing solar panel systems, using a diagram, a couple weeks at a vocational school will do. If you plan on designing electrical connections for different sized panels, a 1 year associates degree in basic electrical engineering will suffice
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Old July 22nd, 2009 #3
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http://www.elec-toolbox.com/
A handy website for aspirant electricians.
In the UK you can give up your job as a poatato picker in Poland get on an allnight bus to London and be wiring up peoples homes the next day.The UK and only the UK allows anyone off the street to install,design and test and inspect installations without any qualifications whatsoever.The cover all "Instructed Person" term is used to protect companies legally from any comebacks.
Virtually the only work I have had for the last 2 years has been putting right and re-comissioning the crap the bosniacks have installed
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Old July 22nd, 2009 #4
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I suppose anybody could get employed as a gynocologist for the NHS. It would help, if one wasn't White
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Old July 23rd, 2009 #5
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A buddy of mine and I have been talking about getting into installing solar panels for months now. Great minds think a like, eh? I was considering a trade school after I got my vehicle paid off.

You need a Journeymen's to do electrical work on your own, which requires 4,000 hours (4 years give or take) of work under a liscenced electrician. However, I believe that anyone, even without formal training, can do electrical work if it is inspected by a liscenced electrician. I'm not entirely sure about that, but I'll try to see if I can confirm it with the master electrician at work tomorrow if I catch him.

On the other hand, it's possible for you to do the roof installation, and then contract out the wiring part to an electrician. Set it up so that they charge a lower fee if you do all of your business through them.
 
Old July 23rd, 2009 #6
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True. If you aren't a licensed electrician, you can get it certified by one who is.
If you are installing a panel at home, no certification is needed, unless your home owner insurance requires it.
If you are going into business installing these panels, you don't have to be certified either. However, you will need someone in your employ that is and certifies your work
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Old July 23rd, 2009 #7
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Originally Posted by Moose View Post
A buddy of mine and I have been talking about getting into installing solar panels for months now. Great minds think a like, eh? I was considering a trade school after I got my vehicle paid off.

You need a Journeymen's to do electrical work on your own, which requires 4,000 hours (4 years give or take) of work under a liscenced electrician.
I've been doing some research and have found a local trade school that offers an electricians course resulting in either an associate degree or certificate. Both tracks seem to be the same with an extra course thrown in for good measure in the associate program. Since I'm already an RN my previous college courses should be sufficient for me to secure an associate without having to take any unnecessary or time consuming courses.

The program is 15 months long. Start this fall and finish Spring of 2011. Would cost about $6,000 plus books and fees. Since I have no real working knowledge of energy systems I'm seriously considering this course. The only drawback is my age. I don't have a lot of time to waste due to age but I wouldn't be doing anything out of the ordinary during this time anyway.

It appears that the course will allow me to take the journeyman's exam since the last course is actually prep for the exam itself.
 
Old July 23rd, 2009 #8
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I don't see how working as a registered nurse with medical college background would relate to learning electricity
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Old July 23rd, 2009 #9
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I don't see how working as a registered nurse with medical college background would relate to learning electricity
It relates only to the electrician degree. They offer both a certificate and an associate degree. The only difference is that in the degree program one must take a couple additional classes that I've already taken such as English, Math, etc. If I enroll it would be for the degree program since I will be taking the same course either way. Does that make sense now? I'm sorry I didn't explain it clearly enough for you in my previous post.
 
Old July 23rd, 2009 #10
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I think you should go for it. I understand the age thing somewhat, even I'm pretty young. Everyone tells me as far behind as I am in college, I'm be 25 or 30 by the time I graduate. Well, I'll be 25 or 30 anyway.

So these years will pass whether I can get an education or not. The only difference is, will I get it?

It sounds like a great field to get into. I'm sure you do have most the of pre-reqs done for it.

You'll come out with a great skill that's in demand. Like you said, you wouldn't be doing anything in that time anyways.

Try a few classes, you'll probably love it.

Good luck T.
 
Old July 24th, 2009 #11
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What's your age.
 
Old July 24th, 2009 #12
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What's your age.
Older than 30 and younger than 80.
 
Old July 25th, 2009 #13
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http://www.yti.edu/ 9 month course 15,000.00
 
Old July 25th, 2009 #14
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http://www.pennfostercollege.edu/indexhtml
 
Old July 25th, 2009 #15
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I can do the local trade school electrician program for less than half of that $15k. I would never pay that much for a trade school.

Since my last post I've found various workshops where I can become certified by a national renewable energy body and likely not have to take the trade school courses. If I need to wire a pv system into the home breaker box I can pay an electrician a nominal amount to do that part. The rest I can do. It may turn out that I will need the trade school knowledge base. Still doing the research.
 
Old July 28th, 2009 #16
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Quote:
You need a Journeymen's to do electrical work on your own, which requires 4,000 hours (4 years give or take) of work under a liscenced electrician.
That's how it is in my state. I have my electrical contractor's license. Had to show 8000 hours, with half or better of it as a lead electrician on the job. State required their forms be filled out by employers and notarized.

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However, I believe that anyone, even without formal training, can do electrical work if it is inspected by a liscenced electrician. I'm not entirely sure about that, but I'll try to see if I can confirm it with the master electrician at work tomorrow if I catch him.
That's a no-no where I live. They consider it: loaning, selling, transferring of license and it can get you in big trouble.

However, my state allows any homeowner to do their own electrical work provided that it is their primary residence-no rental property. The county requires homeowners to take a short course and then an exam. Most people just work with no permits and, thus, don't take the class.

Tony, I have done some solar at my workplace and at my home. It is not very hard to do. So, your last post, IMO, is dead on. There are a lot of sites on the net that give information on putting together solar systems. You don't need to become an electrician to put your solar PV system together. Consider solar hot water, too, for your water heater and even your climate control.

One of my favorite solar sites:
http://www.windsun.com/
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Last edited by Joe_J.; July 28th, 2009 at 03:03 PM.
 
Old July 28th, 2009 #17
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In some places, Texas for example, you need a Master's license to do any work on someone's house. A Master's can be notoriously difficult to get; $100,000.00 bond, plus pass the exam. If the code enforcement bureau of the city or county you are in thinks that area doesn't need any contractor competition, you ain't gonna pass the test. Period.
Even if you work on your own house, or a friend's, you need to pull a permit. Otherwise, you risk heavy fines or a city lien against your property. Permit in Texas requires a Master Electrician to at least sign off on the work before inspection.

My advice as a professional industrial electrician is to look very carefully at the local requirements in your area. And by all means get a copy of at least the 2005 National Electrical Code.
 
Old July 28th, 2009 #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freodheric Jameson View Post
In some places, Texas for example, you need a Master's license to do any work on someone's house. A Master's can be notoriously difficult to get; $100,000.00 bond, plus pass the exam. If the code enforcement bureau of the city or county you are in thinks that area doesn't need any contractor competition, you ain't gonna pass the test. Period.
Ours is bit different. Three license classes.
Limited: 600 volts and no one project to exceed 40K in cost on the electrical work.
Intermediate: Like Limited but project cost up to 110K and some bonding ability.
Unlimited: No limits. Bonding ability required. You don't have to put up a bond, just show the ability from a bonding agency that you can get it if you need it.

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There are 10 different classifications of electrical contracting licenses. Each license has a specific scope and limitation of work allowed. The Limited (L), Intermediate (I), and Unlimited (U) classifications allow a licensee to perform residential, commercial and industrial work. The Residential dwelling license (SP-SFD) permits electrical contracting projects pertaining to single-family detached residential dwellings. There are also six (6) special restricted electrical contracting classifications which allow only a limited phase of electrical contracting work: Low Voltage (SP-LV), Elevator (SP-EL), Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning (SP-PH), Groundwater pump (SP-WP), Electric Sign (SP-ES), Swimming Pool (SP-SP).
http://www.ncbeec.org/modules/content/index.php?id=1

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Even if you work on your own house, or a friend's, you need to pull a permit. Otherwise, you risk heavy fines or a city lien against your property. Permit in Texas requires a Master Electrician to at least sign off on the work before inspection.
Things are different in Texas. Here, when they catch some guy with no license, he gets fined $500 bucks. Non permit work is an underground economy and they really don't try to do much about it. They can't really catch people anyway. I pull permits for every job I do to cover my ass with everyone-property owner, my insurer, the county, etc. Not worth having the Board yank my license for not pulling one.

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My advice as a professional industrial electrician is to look very carefully at the local requirements in your area. And by all means get a copy of at least the 2005 National Electrical Code.
05 won't cut it. They made a ton of changes for 2008. If anyone needs a codebook, you better get the 08 one. For example, AFCI circuit protection went from bedrooms only (05 Code) to pretty much every room in a home that isn't GFCI'd, like bathrooms and kitchens. They also changed the exemption for no GFCI on fixed equipment, such as sump pumps. It still applies for industry, but not for anyone else. We have had trouble with that where I work in dealing with condensate pumps that cause nuisance tripping of GFCIs. Anyway, lots and lots of changes this Code cycle.
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Last edited by Joe_J.; July 28th, 2009 at 06:03 PM.
 
Old July 28th, 2009 #19
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You don't need to become an electrician to put your solar PV system together. Consider solar hot water, too, for your water heater and even your climate control.
My original post was in regard to my wishing to design and install pv and other renewable energy systems for clients who may wish to have such systems installed at their home or business. I'm looking at doing this for a living. It wouldn't hurt to have an associate degree as an electrician but my time is more valuable now than if I were 25. If a solar or renewable energy certification is all that is needed then that may be the way for me to go. After I start making some money with it I can then re-consider electrician's school if necessary and if it will boost the bottom line.

Last edited by OTPTT; July 28th, 2009 at 06:21 PM.
 
Old July 28th, 2009 #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTPTT View Post
My original post was in regard to my wishing to design and install pv and other renewable energy systems for clients who may wish to have such systems installed at their home or business. I'm looking at doing this for a living. It wouldn't hurt to have an associate degree as an electrician but my time is more valuable now than if I were 25. If a solar or renewable energy certification is all that is needed then that may be the way for me to go. After I start making some money with it I can then re-consider electrician's school if necessary and if it will boost the bottom line.
You know, when I went to ncbeec.org, my state's site for the Board, they had a special announcement on PV which states that since PV is covered under the NEC (which it is), a licensed electrician must install it. That's North Carolina. Things might be different where you live. Licensing laws vary depending on where you live.
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