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Solar Training - Women's Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) - Online

Course ID: PVOL101Status: Open


Category: Solar Training (Electric)

Course Description: With female-only instructors and participants, this online course offers women a uniquely supportive learning environment to build their solar knowledge foundation. This course offers the same curriculum as SEI's co-ed PVOL101, but is intended to further encourage participants to get ALL those solar questions answered and offer networking opportunities with each other and existing women in the solar industry.

Partial scholarships are available!! Click here for more information.  

This course starts with an overview of basic PV system application and quickly moves on to provide students with a fundamental understanding of core concepts necessary to work with PV systems, including:


  • system components and configuration
  • site analysis and solar resource data
  • PV module specifications and selection criteria
  • mounting solutions
  • sizing of residential size grid-direct systems
  • overcurrent protection and grounding
  • safety and commissioning 


This online solar training course establishes fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant design and installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems, with a focus on residential-sized grid-direct solar electric systems.  The goal of the course is to create a fundamental understanding of the core concepts necessary to work with all PV systems, including:  system components, site analysis, PV module criteria, mounting solutions, safety, and commissioning. 

The course will also cover the basics of sizing residential grid-direct systems, wire sizing, overcurrent protection, and grounding – all of which will be expanded upon in PV 202.

To view in-person sessions of this workshop, click PV101.  Click here for more details on online courses and computer requirements.

PVOL101 online students receive 1 full year of FREE access to Home Power Magazine Online. You will receive your login in an email 3 to 4 weeks after your course starts. 

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

Both our in-person and online PV101 Courses cover the same curriculum with varying levels of hands-on experience offered in our in-person sessions.

Course Materials: Solar Electric Handbook: Photovoltaic Fundamentals and Applications (Print and eBook Format).  Materials and shipping cost are included in the price of tuition for this course. (*International students please see disclaimer below)

*For international shipping addresses, course materials will be mailed out by USPS International First Class.  SEI is not responsible for confirming international delivery.  If materials do not arrive and need to be reshipped, student may be responsible for additional shipping cost.  

After successfully completing this course and PV203, PVOL203, or PV203 PREP, you are eligible to sit for the NABCEP Entry Level Exam.  The NABCEP Entry Level Exam includes questions on grid-direct and battery-based PV systems.  For information on NABCEP and signing up for the Entry Level Exam please click here.  Also for more on their recommendations.

NABCEP Hours for Certification (per NABCEP)

  • PV Installer Certification Requirements: If one takes the NABCEP Entry Level Exam and passes, this course will 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 Entry Level Exam, then this course does not count for NABCEP hours. For information on the Entry Level Exam and to sign up to take the Entry Level Exam through SEI, please visit
  • PV Technical Sales Certification Requirements: This course counts for 20 hours, which covers the PV Technical Sales JTA.
  • Solar Heating Installer Recertification: This course counts for 6 Non-Technical continuing education hours.

NEW! NABCEP ENTRY LEVEL EXAM PREP PACKAGE $1295 - Includes PVOL101, PV203 PREP and the NABCEP Entry Level Exam (Computer Based Testing)!  Please CLICK HERE or call 970-963-8855 option 1 to register today! 

PVOL101: Online

Contact Training hours:  60 credit hours

The online version of PV 101 is a comprehensive six-week course that covers all of the material presented in the in-person workshop and listed in the description, without the hands-on experience.  The course is co-taught by two instructors, ensuring prompt attention and encouraging interaction between students and the instructors. 

Time Requirements: It will generally take between 10 - 20 hours per week to complete the course. However this is an average/estimate and will vary based on user's computer/internet connection and previous experience/understanding of the subject matter.

For information on SEI's Solar Professionals Certificate Program please click here.  For information on SEI's workshop and training program policies please click here.

Recent Comments from the November 2012 PVOL101 session:

• I've taken many online courses over the years. SEI has done a tremendous job of putting this course together. There is a great mix of online content including the presentations and "additional reading" resources with the textbook which is an incredible reference. The pace of the course is brisk with several challenging topics. The ability to engage with other students and the instructors online is also very beneficial through the learning process.
• This course is a must before you let ANY employee on the roof. Installers need more than a wrench to be a great worker, understanding what you are doing will lead to a much better end product.
• SEI is great for anyone - from first timers those already working in the PV field. Wonderful course!

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Additional Dates & Locations

* Click on the Date to view instructor and class details
Apr 20-May 31Online$795.00OpenRegister Now