Training > Installing Photovoltaic Systems
Installing Photovoltaic Systems
This training program covers the fundamentals of solar photovoltaic (PV Systems), including their specification, design and code-compliant installation.
The specific objectives of this training program are to develop the participant's ability to:
- Conduct site assessments, determine the available solar resource and estimate the performance of PV systems
- Specify components and prepare PV system designs based on customer and site requirements
- Specify appropriate support structure and implement mechanical designs for PV arrays that meet the performance, architectural and structural requirements for given applications
- Implement electrical designs for PV systems that meet the safety, code compliance and functional requirements for given applications
- Conduct acceptance tests and inspections and commissioning for PV system installations
- Evaluate, troubleshoot, and maintain PV systems
This training program involves a combination of self-study and assignments prior to the course, followed by four days of classroom instruction and one day of hands-on exercises. The curriculum and exercises involve the step-by-step process of specifying, designing, installing and commissioning grid-connected PV systems, with a focus on developing the participant's working knowledge of PV systems and equipment. A complete, operational grid-interactive PV system will be installed as part of the exercises in this course.
Course Materials and Registration
The Photovoltaic Systems textbook and an electronic version of the Photovoltaic Systems Study Guide will be provided to each participant prior to the course. Participants will be given a copy of the 2011 Electrical Code and Solar Pathfinder included with their registration. Participants are encouraged to complete the following reading assignments, exercises and self-study prior to the course. These assignment are detailed here.
The registration fee for this 5-day course is $1495 and limited to 20 participants. A minimum of 12 participants are needed to make this course, which will be confirmed with all registrants on or before June 1, 2012. Lunches and refreshments are included with registration, and participants are responsible for making their own travel and lodging arrangements. You can find hotels located near the training facility on this map.
This training program will be held at Virginia Renewable Energy School at The Off-Grid Living Center at 11010 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23235.
Course Agenda and Schedule
The course will begin at 8 am and conclude at 5 pm each day. Lunches and refreshments will be provided. Following are the primary topics covered in this course and correspond with chapter in the Photovoltaic Systems textbook:
Chapter 1: Introduction to Photovoltaic Systems
Solar Technologies - History and Development - Markets and Applications - Industry Sectors
Chapter 2: Solar Radiation
Terminology & Definitions - Geometric & Atmospheric Effects - Solar Power & Energy - Measurements & Data
Chapter 3: Site Surveys and Preplanning
Customer Development - Site Assessment - Locating PV Arrays - Shading Analysis - Project Planning and Preparation
Chapter 4: System Components and Configurations
Major Components - Balance-of-System - System Classifications and Designs
Chapter 5: Cells, Modules and Arrays
Principles of Operation - I-V Characteristics - Response to Irradiance and Temperature - Series/Parallel Connections - Specifications and Ratings
Chapter 6: Batteries
Types and Characteristics - Functions and Features - Specifications and Ratings
Chapter 7: Charge Controllers
Types and Characteristics - Functions and Features - Specifications and Ratings - Sizing
Chapter 8: Inverters
Definitions and Terminology - Types and Applications - Functions and Features - Selection and Sizing - Monitoring and Communications
Chapter 9: System Sizing
Sizing Principles - Interactive vs. Stand-Alone Systems - Calculations and Software Tools
Chapter 10: Mechanical Integration
Design Considerations - Array Mounting Configurations - Structural Loads - Installation
Chapter 11: Electrical Integration
Terminology and Definitions - Circuit Design Requirements - Specifying Electrical Components - Code-Compliant Installation Practices
Chapter 12: Utility Interconnection
Codes and Standards - Utility Considerations - Supply and Load Side Connections - Interconnection Agreements
Chapter 13: Permitting and Inspection
Permit Submittal Guidelines - Plan Review - System Labels - Inspection Checklists
Chapter 14: Commissioning, Maintenance and Troubleshooting
System Commissioning - Maintenance Plans - Diagnostics
Chapter 15: Economic Analysis
Incentives - Value Assessment - Life Cycle Costs Analysis - Financial Tools
Chapter 16: PV System Safety
Hazards and Avoidance - Personal Protective Equipment - Fall Protection - Electrical Safety
Relationship to Certification Programs
This course and associated self-study program are intended to help prepare participants to pursue and attain the PV entry-level certificate and ultimately the advanced PV installer certification credentials offered by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), UL University and others. This training does not result in any certification. Participants will receive a course completion certificate, documenting the course content and hours of training.
James Dunlop, PE is the principal instructor. Mr. Dunlop worked at the Florida Solar Energy Center for 21 years supporting all aspects of its programs in photovoltaic systems and engineering, having evaluated and tested numerous PV systems and components, and delivered hundreds of training programs to contractors, installers, designers and code officials. From 2006-2008, he worked for the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC), authoring the textbook Photovoltaic Systems and other curriculum and instructor resources in support of some 300 local electrical apprenticeship schools across North America. He holds a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Florida, is a licensed professional engineer in Florida, and served on the board of directors and chaired the technical committee for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV installer certification program.