Photovoltaic Technician Career Prep

145 Hours / 12 Months / Self-Paced

Course Overview:

The Photovoltaic Technician Career Prep course covers the principles of photovoltaics and how to effectively incorporate PV systems into stand- alone or interconnected electrical systems. The content includes system advantages and disadvantages, site evaluation, component operation, system design and sizing, and installation requirements and recommended practices. Common scenarios and procedures are discussed throughout.

Curriculum Developer Biography:

Sigrid Ferguson Green, MSEd in Instructional Design for Online Learning, MS Human Resource Management, with over 15 years of experience in training and development/education. Her experience has been to lead teams of Instructional Designers, and managed curricula for companies such as: American Express and Assurant. Her experience includes but is not limited to the following: technical writing, web design, training, instructional design, graphic design, and curriculum development.

Course Outline:

Lesson 1: Introduction to Photovoltaic Systems

In this lesson you will learn about the concerns regarding the future and security of the world’s energy supply, renewable resources such as solar power are becoming increasingly important. Various solar energy technologies have been used through millennia of human history. However, practical photovoltaic (PV) — the direct conversion of solar energy into electricity — has a history of only about 50 years. This field of study and the resulting industry has been rapidly growing and improving and are expected to become a significant part of the world’s energy future.

Lesson 2: Solar Radiation

In this lesson you will become familiar with the importance of solar radiation to designing and installing solar energy equipment. The solar radiation resource varies over time, location, and climate conditions.

Lesson 3: Site Surveys and Preplanning

In this lesson you will learn a preliminary assessment establishes the objectives, resources, and requirements of a prospective PV system. A detailed survey of the site conditions evaluates all the site-specific issues related to a potential PV installation. During a site survey, an installer identifies potential array locations, measures distances and angles, evaluates existing structural and electrical infrastructure, documents relevant site information, and may conduct an energy audit.

Lesson 4: System Components and Configurations

In this lesson you will learn every PV system requires components to conduct, control, convert, distribute, and store the energy produced by the array. The specific components required depend on the type of system and functional requirements, but major components such as: inverters, batteries, charge controllers, as well as wiring, switchgear and overcurrent protection are typically included.

Lesson 5: Cells, Modules and Arrays

In this lesson you will learn PV systems use cells, modules, and arrays to capture sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. PV systems are modular in nature, meaning that basic building blocks of smaller components and subsystems are integrated to construct larger systems.

Lesson 6: Batteries

In this lesson you will learn energy demand does not always coincide with energy production, so many PV systems include electrical storage batteries.

Lesson 7: Charge Controllers

In this lesson you will learn almost every PV system that uses batteries requires a charge controller. Charge controllers manage and monitor battery charging while protecting the batteries from overcharge and overdischarge.

Lesson 8: Inverters

In this lesson you will learn about the solid-state inverters used in PV systems employ the latest in power electronics to produce AC power from a DC power source that is either a PV array or a battery bank.

Lesson 9: System Sizing

In this lesson you learned for electrical systems that use PV arrays, as their only source of electricity, system sizing is critical. The size of the array, battery bank, and other major components necessary to adequately meet the load requirements must be carefully calculated.

Lesson 10: Mechanical Integration

In this lesson you will learn the mechanical design and integration of PV systems require considering the characteristics of the components and the structure and how they are integrated into the electrical design. Many factors in the mechanical design process result from information collected during site surveys, including the available structural support and accessibility.

Lesson 11: Electrical Integration

In this lesson you will learn that PV systems are subject to all of the same general requirements as most electrical systems, such as overcurrent protection and grounding. However, PV systems are also subject to additional requirements.

Lesson 12: Utility Interconnection

In this lesson you will learn interconnection is the technical and procedural process of connecting and operating PV and other distributed generation systems in parallel with the electric utility system. However, since an interconnected PV system may affect the grid network and the safety of electrical workers, the system must adhere to certain requirements, and utilities have the right to approve equipment and installations.

Lesson 13: Permitting and Inspection

In this lesson you will learn the requirements for PV system installations are governed by building codes adopted by local jurisdictions. PV installation approvals are granted by local jurisdictions through the permitting, plans review, and field inspection processes.

Lesson 14: Commissioning, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting

In this lesson the maintenance requirements vary according to the system configuration, installation type, and location. Qualified PV service technicians should have a complete understanding of the system design, equipment, and performance specifications in order to effectively conduct maintenance and troubleshooting activities.

Lesson 15: Economic Analysis

In this lesson you will learn the value of a PV system is often associated with environmental issues and energy conservation. However, PV systems can provide financial benefits as well. A PV system may be able to pay back its initial investment and possibly earn appreciable amounts of money, especially with help from incentive programs.

All necessary materials are included.


System Requirements:

Internet Connectivity Requirements:
  • Cable and DSL internet connections are recommended.

Hardware Requirements:
  • Minimum Pentium 400 Mhz CPU or G3 Macintosh. 1 GHz or greater CPU recommended.
  • 256MB RAM minimum. 1 GB RAM recommended.
  • 800x600 video resolution minimum. 1025x768 recommended.
  • Speakers/Headphones to listen to Dialogue steaming audio sessions.
  • A microphone to speak in Dialogue streaming audio sessions.
Operating System Requirements:
  • Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 9, 10
  • Mac OSX 10 or higher.
  • OpenSUSE Linux 9.2 or higher.
Web Browser Requirements:
  • Google Chrome is recommended.
  • Firefox 13.x or greater.
  • Internet Explorer 6.x or greater.
  • Safari 3.2.2 or greater.
Software Requirements:
  • Adobe Flash Player 6 or greater.
  • Oracle Java 7 or greater.
  • Adobe Reader 7 or greater.
Web Browser Settings:
  • Accept Cookies
  • Disable Pop-up Blocker.


**Outlines are subject to change, as courses and materials are updated.**