PVOL101: Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct)(60 hour course)
PVOL101 is your gateway to a career in the solar industry. It all starts with the fundamentals, and a solid understanding of various components, system architectures, and applications for PV systems. Other topics include site analysis, system sizing, array configuration, and performance estimation; electrical design characteristics such as wiring, overcurrent protection, and grounding; a detailed look at module and inverter specifications and characteristics; mounting methods for various roof structures and ground-mounts; and an introduction to safely and effectively commissioning grid-direct PV systems. This course focuses on grid-direct PV systems, the largest and fastest growing segment of the PV industry, but covers material critical to understanding all types of PV systems. These core concepts are expanded on in SEI’s upper level PV courses, which focus more specifically on particular system types, applications and design methodologies.
Students who complete the PVOL101 online course will be able to perform the following:
- Differentiate between various renewable energy sources and types of systems
- Perform power and energy calculations
- Evaluate utility bills and rate plans, perform a load analysis for a grid-direct system, and compare system production to energy consumption
- Describe energy efficiency measures that can be implemented to reduce electricity usage and PV system size
- Analyze different net metering rules, rebates, and incentives that affect the final cost of a PV system
- Diagram and list the features, applications, and components of the following PV system types: DC direct, stand-alone, grid-direct, and grid-tied with battery back-up
- Obtain and apply specifications for PV modules and determine their performance given various environmental and operating conditions
- Identify various types of digital multimeters and explain how to use them safely
- Diagram and determine the power, current, and voltage characteristics of PV modules in different series and parallel configurations
- Determine the magnetic declination, define azimuth and altitude angle and evaluate the shade potential for a given site
- Estimate energy production of a PV system based on location specifics including orientation and tilt angle
- List the pros and cons of different mounting systems (ground, pole, roof, and trackers) and determine the number of modules that can fit in a given roof space
- Given specific site criteria, evaluate what type of inverter is appropriate
- Decipher balance-of-system equipment specification sheets to determine the critical information needed for system design
- Design a residential grid-direct system including the array, inverter, circuit conductors, and overcurrent protection
- Define equipment grounding, system grounding, and components and conductors used for grounding
- Identify the following wires and components on schematics of residential grid-direct systems: disconnects, inverter, equipment grounding conductors, ungrounded conductors, grounded conductors, the grounding electrode(s), and the AC and DC system grounds
- Identify potential safety hazards and the proper personal protective equipment for working on grid-direct PV systems
- List the order of installation, commissioning, and decommissioning of a grid-direct PV system
This course is entirely online and does not include a hands-on lab component. You can log into this course at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the full duration of the specified course. You will generally need between 10-20 hrs/week to complete the lesson materials and graded activities. The earlier lessons generally take less time than the later lessons. Students can access the course anytime, from any computer with an internet connection (access computer requirements link below). There are no specific times that you need to log on; the course is self paced but you must finish all graded materials by the end date of the course. The live instructors are there to give feedback, grade your work and you can contact them with questions on the forum discussion boards, or by email.
This course includes interactive activities, powerpoints, readings and quizzes, and exercises and homework to test student comprehension. There is also a forum where students can post questions to the instructors and network between each other. Online courses last six (6) weeks and will end on the Sunday night of the last week. All graded course activities (e.g., quizzes, forum discussion assignments, any other assignments with a score) need to be completed within these 6 weeks, with a 70% or better cumulative grade, to pass and receive a Record of Completion. After the course end-date, you will have two additional weeks for instructorless review-only time. During this time you will not be able to complete any graded activities. However, this is an ideal time to finish saving and reviewing any course materials of particular interest.
Successful completion of this course results in State of California Journeyman Continuing Education or Electrician Trainee hours, and also counts as one of the two courses required to qualify students to sit for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. The other is PVOL203
. If one takes the NABCEP PV Associate Exam and passes, this course will additionally count for 18 hours of “non-advanced training hours” towards taking the NABCEP Installer Certification requirements. If one does not take or doesn’t pass the PV Associate Exam, then this course does not count for NABCEP hours.
Recommended Prerequisites: Solar Energy International highly recommends completion of their free, online RE100 Introduction to Renewable Energy course before enrolling in PVOL101.
All course materials are included in the tuition price of this course. Students will receive a confirmation email from Solar Energy International with course log on instructions within seven business days prior to their class start date. All course materials, including the Solar Electric Handbook (ebook), will be accessed through the course.
All course hours must be completed within Solar Energy International’s designated course timeline for this instance in order to receive credit.
Total class hours available:
Standard Tuition Fee:
Please review the System Requirements by clicking here.
Minimum Points and Hours:
To earn credit hours for this course, students are required to attend a minimum number of course hours and earn a minimum number of points. Zero (0) credit hours will be awarded if the minimum attendance and/or minimum points are not met. See the points and hours matrix
for specific requirements for this course.
Refund and Cancellation Policy:
to see Solar Energy International's refund and cancellation policy.
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