PVOL202: Advanced PV System Design and the NEC (Grid-Direct) (60 hour course)
Take a deep dive into National Electrical Code 2020 standards as well as other best practices that pertain to designing grid-direct PV systems. The focus of this course is on residential and commercial-scale systems, but the Code requirements, design parameters, and best practices are applicable to all types and sizes of PV installations, including utility-scale. Detailed lessons address requirements for disconnects, overcurrent protection, and wire sizing; interconnection requirements and calculations; grounding, ground-faults, and surge protection; calculations for system sizing, inverter selection, and electrical configuration; ground and roof mount details; and commissioning and performance analysis procedures.
This course focuses significantly on the National Electrical Code, including interconnection calculations, grounding, workspace clearances, and disconnect and overcurrent protection sizing and considerations.
Commercial system equipment specifications including inverters, racking, and three-phase interconnection are covered; as well as site considerations for roof- and ground-mounted arrays, including layout and inter-row shading. PVOL202 thoroughly addresses array sizing with various inverter configurations, in order to assess design options and optimize performance. Students will learn to evaluate system performance under various operating conditions, and identify and correct installation errors including ground-faults. This course combines class lectures with individual problem solving exercises covering common design considerations. The online course is six weeks long and covers all of the material presented in the in-person workshop.
Students who successfully complete the course will be able to perform the following:
- Determine requirements for disconnects and series fusing, including labeling
- Perform interconnection and labeling calculations for single- and three-phase AC services
- Specify inverters based on system variables, and size inverter subpanel combiners
- Perform calculations related to mounting PV arrays, including inter-row shading and uplift forces
- Examine array mounting options for large systems
- Size grounding conductors for the AC and DC side of the system, and identify causes of, and troubleshooting procedures for ground-faults
- Optimize the match between an inverter and array, and perform sizing and interconnection calculations for commercial-scale systems
- Identify installation considerations to meet NEC requirements and ensure long-lasting, safe systems
- Locate and troubleshoot common installation errors when commissioning a system
- Perform production analysis calculations to compare expected output to measured output for an operating 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 60 State of California Journeyman Continuing Education or Electrician Trainee hours. It additionally results in any of the following NABCEP Training Hours:
- PV Installer Certification Requirements: This course counts for 60 advanced training hours.
- PV Technical Sales Certification Requirements: This course counts for 20 hours, which covers the PV technical Sales JTA.
- PV Installer Recertification Requirements: This course counts for the following:
- 6 NEC (Code Based) hours
- 6 Job Task Analysis hours
- 6 Non-Technical/Other hours
- PV Technical Sales Recertification Requirements: This course counts for the following:
- 6 Job Task Analysis hours
- 6 Non-Technical/Other hours
- PV Associate Recertification: 12 training hours
- Solar Heating Installer Recertification: This course counts for 6 Non-Technical continuing education hours.
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 non- NEC course materials will be accessed through the course.
Prerequisites: Completion of PVOL101
Required Course Materials:
A 2020 National Electrical Code Book (NEC) is required. (ISBN 10: 1455922978, ISBN 13: 978-1455922970)
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 Fees:
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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