• Apr
  • duration
  • tuition

PVOL101: Solar Training - Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) - Online

PVOL101 is your gateway to a career in the solar industry.  It all starts with the fundamentals, and a solid understanding of various components, system architectures, and applications for PV systems.  Other topics include site analysis, system sizing, array configuration, and performance estimation; electrical design characteristics such as wiring, overcurrent protection, and grounding; a detailed look at module and inverter specifications and characteristics; mounting methods for various roof structures and ground­-mounts; and an introduction to safely and effectively commissioning grid-­direct PV systems.  This course focuses on grid-­direct PV systems, the largest and fastest growing segment of the PV industry, but covers material critical to understanding all types of PV systems.  These core concepts are expanded on in SEI’s upper ­level PV courses, which focus more specifically on particular system types, applications and design methodologies.

what you will learn

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.  To view in-person sessions of this workshop, click PV101.

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helpful information

Click here for Computer & Software Requirements for online courses.

Prerequisites: Completion of our free online RE100 Introduction to Renewable Energy, is highly recommended.

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.


*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 will be responsible for additional shipping cost.

nabcep certification information

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

NABCEP Hours for Certification (per NABCEP)

  • PV Installer Certification Requirements: If one takes the NABCEP PV Associate 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 PV Associate Exam, then this course does not count for NABCEP hours. For information on the PV Associate Exam and to sign up to take the PV Associate Exam through SEI, please visithttps://www.solarenergy.org/nabcep-certification.
  • PV Technical Sales Certification Requirements: This course counts for 20 hours, which covers the PV Technical Sales JTA.
  • PV Associate Recertification: 12 training hours
  • Solar Heating Installer Recertification: This course counts for 6 Non-Technical continuing education hours.

NEW! NABCEP PV Associate Exam
 – Includes PVOL101, PVOL203 and the NABCEP PV Associate Exam
(Computer Based Testing)!  Please CLICK HERE or call 970-527-7657 option 1 to register today!

SEI Contact Training hours:  60 credit hours

more on nabcep certification > sei's solar professionals certificate program info >

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course snapshot

  • Online
  • 6 Weeks
  • 10-20 hrs/week

course materials

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