This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of solar technologies and a study of the history and current state of the solar photovoltaic industry. Course content includes:
An introduction to solar radiation, photovoltaic technologies and systems
An overview of system types and components
Site survey and analysis techniques and methods
Electricity basics and an introduction to the NEC
Study of the design and use of grid-tied and grid-tied-with-battery-back-up systems
Introduction to inverters, charge controllers and other balance-of-system components
Overview of electrical utility systems and requirements for interacting with electrical utilities
Instruction regarding permitting, inspection, commissioning, documentation and labeling requirements and system maintenance practices and procedures.
The course provides hands-on training exercises and labs. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the tools used to complete site evaluations, perform necessary measurements and calculations, and specify balance of system components required to complete a fully-functional solar PV system installation. Safe use and storage of required tools will also be covered, along with OSHA and NEC safety codes.
There is no prerequisite coursework. No solar industry experience is assumed. Knowledge requirements include basic math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages, use of formulas, algebra and word problems), use of the Internet, problem solving skills, and the use of a calculator. Use of basic hand tools is required for lab participation.
Upon Completion of this course, the student will have the ability to:
Describe the history, development and current state of photovoltaic (PV) technologies, markets and applications
Identify the types of solar energy systems and describe the advantages and disadvantages of each type
Explain how a solar cell converts sunlight into electric power
Define solar terms
Describe how solar energy is received on the earth's surface
Identify how different technologies utilize solar radiation
Identify opportunities for grid-interactive residential and commercial solar systems
Describe photovoltaic system components and configurations
Describe battery, generator and other types of backup systems and how they are integrated into a grid-interactive solar system
Describe practices and procedures for utility company buy-back of power produced by distributed systems
Describe the features, functions, and specifications of inverters used in grid-interactive systems
Identify and configure electrical balance of system components
Analyze load demands and calculate system requirements
Conduct a site survey and specify system components and design
Calculate array and inverter size for grid-interactive solar systems, both with and without backup components
Determine structural integrity and suitability for installation of various PV systems
Describe various mounting systems and perform mounting procedures of PV modules and electrical components
Perform commissioning, maintenance, and troubleshooting procedures for installed systems
Demonstrate proper and safe use of required tools and measurement instruments necessary to conduct a thorough site survey and system installation
Describe inspection, permitting and documentation requirements for grid-interactive solar systems
Describe the risks and safety issues and OSHA regulations to consider when working with PV technologies
Upon successful completion of the course students are eligible to take the NABCEP® Entry Level PV Exam. A passing score on the NABCEP Entry Level Exam grants 18 credits toward NABCEP PV Installer certification.
It is expected that students will attend scheduled classes regularly and on time. If an absence occurs, it is the responsibility of the student to make up all missed work. Students, who must withdraw from a class, will receive credit for work completed and may complete the course at a later date with instructor approval. Attendance will be tracked and maintained for various reporting purposes.
The curriculum for this course is based on the NABCEP Solar PV Installer Job Task Analysis and the course is accredited by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) according to standards set by the Institute for Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) Assessment Framework. In keeping with the standards of this accreditation, students are encouraged to provide informal feedback throughout the course. A survey is distributed to students on the last day of class whereby students are asked to evaluate the class and the instructor. This feedback is used to create an on-going professional development plan for instructors and to inform course improvements.
This institution complies with Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must make their requests knows when registering for a course or workshop. If a disability is identified after class has begun, a non-retroactive accommodation plan will be developed.