what you will learn
This design-based course includes detailed system sizing calculations, equipment specifications, and metering choices for all types of stand-alone PV systems operating independently of the utility grid. Extremely detailed design examples range from small-scale systems – like DC lighting – to larger residential-scale systems utilizing battery-based inverters. Learn how to specify and integrate generators into PV systems, how to maintain battery banks, and how design PV-powered water pumping systems. This course is ideal for solar professionals planning to design, install, and maintain off-grid battery-based PV systems of any variety and size.
- Charge controller and array sizing considerations
- Designing and installing DC-only PV systems
- RV (mobile) applications
- Stand-alone DC lighting
- Rural health clinic (Africa)
- Battery maintenance and troubleshooting
- Specifying battery-based inverters
- Specifying generators
- Stand-alone residential system case study including full design guide, equipment specifications, generator integration, and monitoring.
- Stand-alone system maintenance and commissioning
- PV-powered water pumping system design
Click here for Computer & Software Requirements for online courses.
Prerequisites: PV 101 or PVOL101 AND PV203 PREP or PVOL203 or PV203
SEI online courses cover the same topics as the face-to-face workshops of the similar name, but do not include a hands-on component. You can log on 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 (see computer requirements 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.
These courses include interactive activities, power points, 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.
All required reading for the course is fully downloadable from within the course, so there is no need to wait for your course materials to arrive in the mail. You can also download/save the PDF files that make up the “Digital Course Notebook” for future reference.
The following are the computer and software requirements for taking SEI’s online courses.
Computer and Internet Requirements
Laptop and Desktop Platforms
- PC (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8)
- Mac (Intel-based only, OSX 10.5 or later)
Hardware / Internet Requirements
- Minimum screen / monitor resolution is 1280 x 600
- 256 MB of RAM, 2 GB of free disk space
- Computer microphone or regular telephone for Webinar or Live Office Hours participation
- Built in sound or sound card
- High-speed Internet connection (at least 5 Mb download speed — click here to check your speed)
- Latest version of Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari
- Latest version of Microsoft Sllverlight
1) Satellite, cellular 3G/4G cards, mesh wide area networks, and other similar “non-copper” or non WI-FI connections, while appearing to be high speed, will likely experience performance issues in this course. We do not recommend this type of Internet connection.
2) There are subtle differences among all browsers based on whether using a Windows or Mac computer.
3) The version of your computer’s operating system and your browser version can also have an affect on operation.
4) Video buffering problems have been reported in some cases on slow connections.
5) The video/audio Playback Rate speed control dropdown menu is not available/functional using the Chrome browser.
Video and Audio Presentations
The lecture capture presentations are streaming video (just like Netflix® or Hulu® or Amazon®). To adequately view these lecture presentations, a high speed network connection is preferred. We suggest at least 5 Mb/sec. If your connection speed is slow, is unreliable, or if the connection is shared with other active computers or mobile devices (phones or tablets), you may experience less than optimal playback. If this happens, there are a three options: obtain a faster network connection, turn off all active devices other than the device used to view the presentations, download the presentations from Apple iTunes and view from a mobile device or the iTunes app on your computer.
Smart Phone and Tablet Platforms: Apple iOS Devices (iPod touch, iPhone, iPad) and Android Phones & Tablets.
With smart phones/tablets, you can pretty much do anything that can be done on a Mac or PC.
- Take quizzes
- Read your textbook ebook version
- Download PDFs
- Participate in online forum discussions
- Check your grade book
- Complete questionnaires and surveys
- View video and audio presentations
- Some performance or access may vary
- Microsoft Silverlight (video/audio//PowerPoint presentations)
- Adobe Flash (latest version for presentations & interactive exercises in some courses)
- Oracle Java plugin (latest version)
- Adobe Acrobat Reader (viewing & printing PDF files)
- Microsoft Office Viewers (viewing & printing Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Visio files)
- Open Source Office Suite (viewing & printing Word, PowerPoint, Excel files)
- Apple QuickTime (viewing QuickTime video in some courses)
- Apple iTunes (podcast subscription)
- 6 weeks
- 8-15 hours per week
course materialssee full material list >
Thomas Honey is a U.S. Navy veteran with over 30 years’ experience in the fields of electrical & electronic technology. He founded Honey Electric Solar, Inc. (HES) in 1994, where under his guidance HES professionally installed and maintained hundreds of Solar Hot Water, Solar Pool Heating, and Photovoltaics systems in PA, NC, and VA. Currently, his focus is to maintain and service existing PV systems, while providing technical guidance to other PV installation companies. At SEI, Tom teaches SEI’s comprehensive curriculum to those who are seeking additional skills as-well-as newly aspiring PV professional. He holds Electrical Contracting Licenses in NC and VA, and is a NABCEP certified PV Installation Professional. As an Adjunct Professor within the North Carolina Community College System he’s taught Introductory and Advanced PV design & installation courses, Commercial Electrical Wiring courses (conduit bending), and ConEd classes about the National Electrical Code.
Workshop and Training Program Policies (CLICK HERE for Complete School Catalog)
Solar Energy International (SEI) is approved and regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Division of Private Occupational Schools.*
Enrollment: Prospective students may enroll anytime. Late enrollments will be accepted only one week into the course for online courses, and the first day of class for in-person and hands-on labs courses. Enrollment is on a first-come basis and class sizes are limited. To reserve a space you can register online or call in to register at 970-527-7657 option 1 and make payment in full. If you are sending a check, call first to check on availability and to let us know that you are sending payment.
Lodging & Logistics: SEI’s main campus and Lab Facility is in Paonia, Colorado. For detailed info about Paonia click here. Many of our workshops are held in other parts of the country and the world. Local logistics and lodging for each workshop venue are usually available on the location page for each workshop. More information will be sent upon confirmation of registration.
Waiting List: If a workshop is full we will place you on the waiting list. There is no charge to be on the waiting list. If space becomes available, we contact the first person on the list. You then have 24 hours to register before we move on to the next person.
Transfers: If you choose to transfer your space to someone in your company or family, a $100 administration fee is charged.
Cancellation & Refund Policies: Students not accepted to the school are entitled to all moneys paid. Students who cancel this contract by notifying the school within three (3) business days are entitled to a full refund of all tuition and fees paid. Students, who withdraw after three (3) business days, but before commencement of classes, are entitled to a full refund of all tuition and fees paid except the maximum cancellation charge of $150.00 or 25% of the contract price, whichever is less. In the case of students withdrawing after commencement of classes, the school will retain a cancellation charge plus a percentage of tuition and fees, which is based on the percentage of contact hours attended (if training is offered as distance education: “based on the percentage of no. of lessons completed”)*. The refund is based on the official date of termination or formal documented withdrawal. Please visit ‘Complete school catalog’ link above for full cancellation information and refund table. If you are unable to complete your course due to illness or natural disaster, please contact the administration office.
If SEI Cancels a Workshop: Rarely, SEI must cancel a workshop due to low enrollment, instructor illness or other unforeseen circumstances. We will notify you if a workshop for which you have registered has been cancelled. You may then enroll in another workshop (based on availability) or receive a full refund of tuition. Notification of cancellation will normally occur one month prior to the beginning of the workshop; in rare cases, however, it may be less. SEI is not responsible for losses incurred on housing, travel or other arrangements.
Entrance Requirements: SEI is an open enrollment training organization. However, students still must meet the prerequisites for any course(s) for which they would like to register. Additionally, if a student wishes to be considered for admission into the SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program, a separate application for admission is required. This program is a selective admissions program where we ask students to complete an application that requires an essay where they can indicate their dedication to successful program completion and their relevant transferable skills that would make them a good candidate for this rigorous training program. Please see application for details, https://www.solarenergy.org/sei-solar-professionals-certificate-program/. The school does not discriminate based on race, sex, religion, ethnic origin, or disability. By completing the SEI enrollment form, all students agree to comply with the requirements and directions of the training and supply any information that is relevant to safety and medical issues. Additionally, students completing this enrollment form attest to the fact that he or she is physically capable of performing all requirements of the training and agree to comply with all safety regulations and directions given by instructional staff.
Previous Credits: Credits from another institution will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and SEI only allows the transfer of a PV101 equivalent course with the same amount of contact hours and learning objectives as SEI’s PV101 course. The student may be asked to provide a transcript, certificate of completion, course catalog, link to the course description from the transferring school’s website showing equivalent course, or may be required to take a PV101 opt-out quiz to prove proficiency of course material. SEI does not guarantee transferability of our credits to another institution unless there is an articulated agreement with another institution.
Attendance / Online Course Progress Requirements: Students are expected to arrive on time for class with proper materials. Instructors may request your withdrawal from a course or program if absences or tardiness exceed 50%. In the SEI Online Campus, course participation and acceptable progress is determined by attempting ALL graded activities with a passing grade of 70% or higher averaged across all graded activities. Students who are unable to continue classes for medical reasons or severe personal problems will be required to take a leave of absence until they are able to return to class. Proper documentation will be required and a formal request for withdrawal will be required to substantiate a student’s withdrawal request.
Progress Policy: Students must maintain an 70% grade point average to complete the SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program. Those who do not, will be given an opportunity to retake courses, for a retake fee of ½ the original tuition price of each course. The retake option is available anytime within one year of original course start date. The student may be dropped from the program if acceptable progress is not satisfactory after multiple attempts to pass a course. Dropping of a student from the SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program shall be at the school Director’s discretion. The Executive Director has final authority and shall notify the student of the final decision.
Financial Assistance: SEI has a limited number of partial tuition scholarships available for international and low-income participants. We also offer a work/trade program for people taking 8 weeks or more of workshops. Click here for additional info.
Placement Assistance: Solar Energy International (SEI) offers employment assistance to graduates, consisting of job lead referrals and job skills development. While providing resources to help you in your job search, we make no guarantee, expressed or implied, of future employment. Current law prohibits any school from guaranteeing job placement as an inducement to enroll students.
Conduct Policy: All students are expected to act maturely and are required to respect other students and faculty members. Possession of weapons, illegal drugs, and alcohol of any kind are not allowed at any time on school property. Any violation of school policies may result in permanent dismissal from school.
Dismissal: Any student may be dismissed for violations of rules and regulations of the school, as set forth in school publications. A student also may be withdrawn from classes if he or she does not prepare sufficiently, neglects assignments, or makes unsatisfactory progress. The Executive Director, after consultation with all parties involved, makes the final decision. The Executive Director may temporarily suspend students whose conduct is disruptive or unacceptable to the academic setting. After appropriate counseling, students who demonstrate a genuine desire to learn and conform to school standards of conduct, may be allowed to resume attendance. The Executive Director will review each case and decide upon re-admittance.
Student Grievance Procedure: If a student has a grievance regarding any SEI policy or staff member they should contact, via email, SEI’s Executive Director, Kathy Swartz at [email protected] Students should first discuss any instructional grievances directly with their instructor. If unable to come to a mutually acceptable conclusion, students should contact, via email, SEI’s Executive Director, Kathy Swartz at [email protected] for in-person and hands-on lab courses. For SEI Online Campus courses contact via email, SEI’s Director of Online Learning, Chris Turek at [email protected]. Final decisions may be appealed to SEI’s Executive Director, Kathy Swartz at [email protected]. Once a grievance is submitted via email to the Executive Director, within one week, she will investigate the grievance and arrange an appointment if necessary with the student for discussion. Every effort will be made to resolve any grievance in a timely manner.
Student Complaints: Attempting to resolve any issue with the School first is strongly encouraged. Student Complaints may be brought to the attention of the Division of Private Occupational Schools online at http://highered.colorado.gov/dpos ,303 862-3001. There is a two-year statute of limitations for the Division to take action on a student complaint (from student’s last day of attendance).
Membership: SEI is a membership based training organization that offers training to it’s members. Your registration for a tuition based course includes a one year Basic Membership in SEI’s Friends and Alumni Association. As part of your membership, SEI’s monthly e-newsletter will be emailed to you if you have not already subscribed. You can also use the SEI Alumni and Friends Association Logo on your personal website, blog, social media, or your business marketing materials. Please remember to link back to SEI with http://www.solarenergy.org when possible. For information on other membership levels please visit https://www.solarenergy.org/become-a-member/
*SEI is not regulated in Texas under Chapter 132 of the Texas Education Code.