This blog can be used as a resource for the dynamics of this legislation. Look for updates and information, as well as opinions from others who share our goal of responsible licensing in the state of Massachusetts.
WBJ article on Solar
A well written and objective article on the Solar Controversy with the BSEE by Matt Pilon appeared on Monday the 15th of April in the Worcester Business Journal... look to the right side of this website home page to read the full story in the download "Worcester Business Journal 4-15-13"(2013-04-16 09:39:07)Post Reply | Comments (0)
Feb. 19th Solar Sanctions Hearing
The Cambridge contractor whose noble resistance to BSEE enforcement actions and investigation in 2009, who was then subjected to four years of administrative delay reached its’ final stages this week. Arguments and testimony at the DPL sanctions hearing could not re-argue the arbitrary interpretation of Massachusetts Law by which the BSEE found the contractor guilty last year., only circumstances that would mitigate the BSEE levying a fine or imposing a penalty. You’ll note from blog posts below that the Superior Court Case judgment in July 2012 exonerated this contractor and another from a wider charge by the BSEE that disrupted the entire solar industry. That suit hinged on the BSEE lack of clarity in their interpretations and lack of alacrity in processing this Cambridge contractor’s appeal. There are other cases opposing the restraint of the solar trade by this board wending their way through their appeal process. This is the oldest. Yesterday attorney Shaun Goho and student lawyer Zak Kearns of the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic presented a brilliant , patently persuasive line of logic that established further reasons why, if anything was just , the BSEE should apologize to the contractor rather than impose punishment. The prosecution for the BSEE objected. The hearing officer will report her conclusions to the full BSEE Board. We’ll report their decision here ( don’t hold your breath) but as soon as the transcript of yesterdays hearing is available post a copy. It will be well worth reading.(2013-02-20 17:33:14)Post Reply | Comments (0)
BSEE Appeal Hearing Postponed
A long awaited Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Electricians ( BSEE ) appeal hearing scheduled for this Tuesday December 18th has been postponed until February 2013 . Since the July 2012 Superior Court , summary judgment in favor of solar Massachusetts licensed General Contractors, the BSEE dropped some of the charges in their nearly four year old enforcement actions against two contractors. One contractor is now free of all charges the other is facing a sanctions hearing on the charge that a person not licensed as a Massachusetts electrician engaged in certain tasks on a PV installation the BSEE continues to interpret as electrical in nature. This enforcement action by the BSEE, appealed by the contractor and represented by the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy clinic is now entering its fourth year. This is not the place nor time to comment on the details of this case except to note that four years is a very long time for the BSEE appeals board which is made up of BSEE board members to clarify their interpretation of the law and their statutory authority over the multi disciplinary tasks involved in solar PV installations. Delay has been their primary strategy in these cases. Meanwhile a concerted effort by interveners in the Superior Court Case ( the National Electrical Contractors Association - Greater Boston Chapter, the Massachusetts Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – Boston Local 103) continues to falsely portray the July judgment against the BSEE actions as vindication of the absurd interpretation that all work on a solar PV system is electrical. This effort includes new complaints against solar general contractors , posting press releases at Electrical Supply houses in the state , and feeding slanted news stories in the solar and electrical industry media. Fortunately not everyone is fooled . The more strident the interveners have become since August 2012, the more people take the time to read and understand the testimony, transcripts and the July summary judgment in the court case . This website is where you can find these original sources on the issue. It gets a lot of visitors and page views. Judge for yourself – these blog posts below will guide you through the documents and history.(2012-12-16 13:33:42)Post Reply | Comments (0)
DOE and IREC Solar Career Map
This post is also a pdf download " Blog Post 11-28-12" for a more readable and linkable format. My apologies to colleagues who know these arguments below well and are working to make solar installation work safe , trusted, teachable and durable. This week a major event in the development of the solar trade occurred with the publication of the Solar Career Mapping Tool by the Solar Instructor Training Network (www.sitnusa.org) a national working group administered for the US Dept of Energy by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (www.irecusa.org) . Please visit and explore the Solar Career Map to understand the job descriptions and proficiencies solar work envelops. The work of this group is an informed starting point for solar licensing in Massachusetts and neighboring states. One lesson from the development of all trade licensing is that a specific solar license classification is inevitable. In energy technologies particularly: gas ,nuclear, oil, - licensed specialties follow the fuel source first then its’ applications. Any new trade has to take on some of the traits and skills of existing trades, add proficiencies and integrate them all to provide its’ specialized equipment and service. Almost a dozen states in the US already, require some credential of specific solar competency , some as a stand alone license others as a qualifying classification to an existing trade license. Short of state regulated proof of solar proficiency, practitioners voluntarily achieve private certification. The NABCEP PV installer and Solar Thermal certifications ( www.nabcep.org) are a good example. Some incentive programs for solar suggest preference for or require NABCEP certification for participating installers. Nascent trades or new specialties of an existing trade invariably develop detailed standards through private certifications. Often it’s the trailblazer designers/ installers and equipment manufacturers who form these independent credentialing organizations. Later as a market grows , as consumer protection becomes an issue, governments may adapt proficiency standards from them to incorporate in their trade license class. One truism of trade licensing in the United States is that almost every state is different. As a result reciprocity between states is rare or very confined . Often , provincial sometimes mutant and restrictive regulations for a particular state and even jurisdictions within states make the portability of a trade license impossible . The states pioneering solar license categories have no reciprocity agreements for their credential. Some are displaying restrictive regulations of solar licensees that favor an established trade; most do not assure the same level of tested competency NABCEP certification proves. The history of other trade license development in our country, a hodge -podge , is no model for solar. Solar PV and Solar Thermal and other applications are an infrastructure adaptation crossing over many traditional trades. Solar technology innovation, the characteristics of our work force in the 21st century , the staggering volume of installations to be completed if we are to stop or forestall the worst effects of climate change all demand a national model for solar competency. It is understood especially with varying consumer protection laws and code regulations that each state may have nuanced solar trade license requirements but testable proficiency and experiential prerequisites of licensees could be standardized. Solar Career training programs and inter state reciprocity would benefit .(2012-11-28 15:32:38)Post Reply | Comments (0)
Last week the annual meeting of the Solar Energy Business Association of New England ( SEBANE) renewed our common ground and aims to meet the multiple challenges facing solar energy in the region. It was a Thanksgiving for SEBANE of sorts; for the accomplishments in net metering policy in 2012 and the court decision in Massachusetts in July to re -establish the standing of solar general contractors. Many new challenges were discussed on solar incentives and solar licensing. National policy came into the members thoughtful remarks. We are well led by current SEBANE president Dan Leary. The intelligence and civility of this meeting and our organization owes much to his work the past few years. Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this blog post and special thanks to those who've helped solar come so far in the region.(2012-11-19 17:21:17)Post Reply | Comments (0)
Southbridge PV Controversy
November 9, 2012 The continuing lack of clarity for PV general contractors, electricians and developers in Massachusetts is illustrated by this installation turf battle in Southbridge reported in today’s Worcester Telegram and Gazette newspaper : http://www.telegram.com/article/20121109/NEWS/111099766/0/NEWS02 There are many similar tales over the last four years. It is the result of allowing solar workforce policy be directed by the police actions of a few executives of electrical associations and unions centered and self centered in Boston .(2012-11-09 21:00:56)Post Reply | Comments (0)
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