Solar Photovoltaic Program Outline & Career Information
The global shift towards planet-friendly development is creating a boom in opportunities for those skilled at Solar Photovoltaic Systems. The Solar Photovoltaic program is your entry to this dynamic and fast-evolving field.
The Solar Photovoltaic Certificate Program will provide you the knowledge and skills to work as an entry-level technician for photovoltaic dealers, installers or contractors. Industry insight and experience are infused into all aspects of our program curriculum to allow for practical learning that you can apply to your future career in renewable energy.
The curriculum includes basic electrical theory, system design, installation methods, safety and maintenance. Course competencies and objectives correlate with the NABCEP Entry Level Exam. This certificate is the foundation that can lead to other solar energy career opportunities including: system design, lead installer, sales, planning and project management. Others may choose to start their own business or expand current business services.
The NABCEP Entry Level Program is designed for those individuals wanting to get into the solar field; achievement of the NABCEP Entry Level Exam is a way for candidates to demonstrate that they have achieved a basic knowledge of the fundamental principles of the application, design, installation and operation of PV and Solar Heating systems.
As the market grows for both PV and Solar Heating, students achieving this industry-
sponsored Entry Level Exam may find that their employment opportunities are enhanced by starting the job with an understanding of the basic terms and operational aspects of a PV or Solar Heating system.
PV Markets and Applications
In this module Students will learn to identify key contributions to the development of PV Technology, common types of PV system applications for both stand-alone and utility interactive systems with and without energy storage. Student will also learn to associate key features and benefits of specific types of PV systems, including residential, commercial, BIPV, concentrating PV and utility-scale.
In this module Students will learn about the different safety precautions that need to be taken, withstanding different weather conditions, special requirements such as reading labels in photovoltaic projects. Students will also learn about the different types of safety equipment they will be require to use/wear.
In this module Students will learn the meaning of basic electrical parameters including electrical charge, current, voltage, power and resistance. Students will also learn the function and purpose of common electrical system components, including conductors, conduits/raceways and enclosures, overcurrent devices, diodes and rectifiers. Students will learn to understand the fundamentals of electric utility system operations, including generation, transmission, distribution and typical electrical service supplies to building and facilities.
Solar Energy Fundamentals
In this module Students will learn the basic terminology including solar radiation, solar irradiance, solar irradiation, solar insolation. Students will also learn to diagram the sum’s apparent movement across the sky over any given day and over an entire year at any given latitude. Students will also learn to understand the consequences of array shading and best practices for minimizing shading and preserving array output.
PV Module Fundamentals
In this module Students will learn how a solar cell converts sunlight into electrical power. Students will also learn how to distinguish between PV cells, modules, panels and arrays. Students will learn to understand the effects of varying incident solar irradiance and cell temperature on PV module electrical output, illustrate the results on an I-V curve and indicate changes in current, voltage and power.
In this module Students will learn the different components, Plate, Active Material, Grid, Separator, Electrolyte, Case, Vent, Sulfation, Primary and Secondary Batteries.
PV System Sizing Principles
In this module Students will learn to understand the basic principles, rationale and strategies for sizing stand-alone PV systems versus utility-interactive PV systems. Included will be the power usage and time of use for various electrical loads, determine the peak power demand and energy consumption over a given period of time.
PV System Electrical Design
In this module the student will be able to determine all PV and electrical components required as well as determine the best location of current devices. They will design a PV system with the necessary electrical components as specified in component manufacturers or solar manufacturer’s installation manual and according to a schematic. They will identify where best to put a battery rack and provide direction for the installation of a grounding system. Importantly, they will maximize the efficiency of the system by designing the most optimal location of panels.
PV System Mechanical Design
In this module Students gain an understanding of the mechanical component integration of photovoltaic arrays which requires an understanding of the site conditions and hazards, the physical and electrical characteristics of PV modules chosen, the desired electrical output for the array, and the mounting system and structural attachments. It also involves considerations for the installation, maintenance and accessibility of equipment, and architectural integration. The objective is to produce the least-cost mechanical installation that is safe, secure and appropriate for the application
Performance Analysis, Maintenance & Troubleshooting
In this module Students will discuss various potential problems related to PV system design, components, installation, operation or maintenance that may affect the performance and reliability of PV systems. Students will also learn how to identify and describe the use and meaning of typical performance parameters monitored in PV systems, including DC and Ac voltages, currents and power levels, solar energy collected, the electrical energy produced or consumed, operating temperature and other data.