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PVOL203: PV System Fundamentals (Battery-Based)(40 hour course)

Energy storage has been a part of many PV systems since the beginning, but now the market is growing like never before. In PVOL203 the focus is on the fundamentals of battery-based PV systems. The applications and configurations are many, and their complexity far exceeds that of grid-direct PV systems. Components such as batteries, charge controllers, and battery-based inverters are covered in detail, along with safety and maintenance considerations unique to battery-based systems. Load analysis is critical to system design and will also be addressed along with other design criteria such as battery bank configuration and the electrical integration of the system. Course learning outcomes include:
  • Recognize demand and PV production curves
  • Explain why energy storage is useful
  • Identify the common types of PV systems and their components
    • PV Direct
    • Stand-alone
  • Describe charging options
    • DC and AC coupled
  • Discuss load profiles, modes of operation, energy management, and storage
    • Stand-alone
    • Battery backup grid-tied
    • Peak load shaving
    • Time-of-use peak load shaving
    • Zero-sell/export control
    • Self-consumption prioritization
    • Demand side management
  • Introduce utility scale storage and microgrids
  • Explain the relationship between real power, apparent power, and reactive power
  • Perform basic power factor calculations
  • Evaluate electrical requirements
  • Evaluate electrical requirements of loads
  • Identify and quantify cycling loads
  • Identify phantom loads and efficiency upgrades
  • Estimate starting surge and power factor requirements
  • Complete a load estimate for different system types and for seasonal loads
  • Gather peak sun hour (PSH) data for a given location and array configuration
  • Describe the differences when sizing battery-based systems compared to grid-direct systems
  • Choose a peak sun hour value based on design criteria for various systems
  • Review battery basics and terminology
  • List ways to compare battery chemistries/technologies
  • Describe different battery chemistries/technologies
  • Describe the construction of a lead-acid battery
  • Identify the pros & cons of using valve regulated lead-acid (VRLA) versus flooded batteries
  • Find the capacity & voltage of different batteries
  • Determine the state of charge of a battery
  • Describe how to check water levels in a flooded battery
  • List safety precautions & hazards to be aware of when working with batteries
    • General and chemistry specific
  • Identify appropriate battery enclosures
  • List appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for working with batteries
  • List characteristics of series and parallel circuits
  • Calculate values for current, voltage, and energy for different battery bank configurations
  • Diagram a battery bank in series and parallel configurations, given system parameters
  • Identify factors that affect battery bank size
  • Describe how factors affect battery life cycle
  • Review battery bank design parameters
  • Lead-acid battery bank design example
  • Lithium-ion battery bank design example
  • Review design example costs & compare
  • Calculate maximum charge currents
  • Identify the components that control battery state of charge (SOC) in different PV system configurations
  • Explain the difference between bulk, absorption, float, and equalization charging
  • Describe maximum power point tracking and voltage step-down
  • List some features, options, and metering available on different types of battery chargers
  • Explain basics of lithium battery charging
  • Compare generator types and duty cycle ratings
  • Evaluate different fuel options
  • Examine starter options and generator enclosure types
  • List routine maintenance tasks for generators
  • Examine factors for specifying a generator for a PV / generator hybrid system
  • Identify inverter types used in battery based systems
  • Review different battery-based system configurations
  • Identify specifications critical for choosing appropriate battery-based inverters
  • Review DC system grounding
  • Discuss different overcurrent protection devices and equipment disconnects and when / where they’re required
  • Define the maximum voltage drop allowed for the proper functioning of a battery-based PV system
  • Examine surge protection, ground faults, and arc faults
  • Identify safe installation procedures
  • List proper PPE used in PV installation and commissioning of battery based PV systems
  • List 4 basic commissioning tests which should be completed before a system is operating
  • List 4 basic commissioning tests which should be completed after a system is operating

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 7-10 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 40 State of California Journeyman Continuing Education or Electrician Trainee hours.

This course also counts as one of the two courses required to qualify students to sit for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. The other is PVOL101.

The course additionally results in any of the following NABCEP Training Hours:
  • PV Installer Certification Requirements: This course counts for 20 advanced training hours.
  • PV Installer Recertification Requirements: This course counts for the following:
    • 6 Job Task Analysis hours
    • 6 Non-Technical hours
  • PV Technical Sales Certificate or Recertification Requirements: This course counts for 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
Prerequisites: Before participating in the PVOL203 course, students are required to complete PVOL101, an equivalent course from another organization, or demonstrate field experience and pass a placement quiz. Please contact sei@solarenergy.org if you feel you are qualified to skip the prerequisite for PVOL203; they will notify WECA of your equivalency if granted.

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 will be accessed through the course.

Required Course Materials: You may want to have your copy of the Solar Electric Handbook on hand from your PVOL101 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: 40

Standard Tuition Fee: $695

System Requirements: 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: Click here to see Solar Energy International's refund and cancellation policy.

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04/08/2024 05/19/2024 Online Classes Class Schedule Sign-up Form Sign-up Online**
** You must be paying by credit card to sign-up online.

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