Advanced Solar + Storage


Length: 9 weeks

Instructor: Wes Kennedy

Subjects: Solar: Batteries and Storage, Solar: Design and Installation, Solar: Megawatt Design

Student Rating

Rating: 8.7/10 (view ratings)
98 students have taken this course


Gain an advanced technical understanding of residential, commercial and utility-scale solar-plus-storage systems, as well as expert insight on policy, financial models, and emerging markets and opportunities. The instructor, Wes Kennedy, has experience developing some of the world’s most cutting-edge solar plus storage projects.

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Get Ahead of the Curve on Advanced Solar + Storage Systems

Instructor Wes Kennedy’s experience with battery systems dates back to 1996. Since then he’s helped design and develop innovative projects using advanced energy storage and power conditioning equipment. He is pulling in additional high-level expertise to make this the best training of its kind.

NABCEP Advanced Continuing Education Credits

This course is approved for 30 NABCEP advanced credits, which means they count toward sitting for the NABCEP PV Installation Professional certification exam. It's also approved for 15 credits toward recertification.

Self-Paced Online Course

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. The course will not officially begin until the scheduled start date, but students are encouraged to work ahead when possible.

Access Information and Build Your Training Library

After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible 12 months (1 year) after enrollment. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world.

Earn a Certificate of Completion

When you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our one-click LinkedIn integration.

Earn Continuing Education Credits

Self Report with Certificate: 30 NABCEP Advanced Credit Hours, 6 NABCEP Technical/JTA, 3 NABCEP NEC, 6 NABCEP Elective

If I could pick one person in the world to teach a class on solar-plus-storage, Wes Kennedy would be the one.

- Ryan Mayfield, Principal, Renewable Energy Associates

Very good overview of the current state of storage technology and economics.

- Bill Stewart, SolarCraft

I appreciated the approach Wes took with a holistic view of advanced solar + storage. He took wide-ranging and toothy topics and made them accessible with humour and analogy. He was effective in tying together the common storage components from the smallest off-grid cabin to utility-scale grid support.

- Sam Mason, Sustainable Energy Developments


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Wes Kennedy

Kennedy was most recently the senior application engineer for SMA America’s Hybrid Energy Solutions group. In this position, project scope ranged from residential PV with battery backup to MW-scale stand-alone microgrids primarily in North America and the Caribbean. He has worked in the solar industry since 1996, when virtually all projects were battery-based. He began...[more]

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Course Outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. The course discussion board is a great place to interact with other students and ask questions. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. This session runs for the posted dates and you will receive weekly emails to keep you on pace. Course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after the course ends. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (1 minute) (Video)
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Welcome from Wes Kennedy and Course Overview (8 minutes) (Video)
  • Join the Alumni Network: Add education to your LinkedIn profile in one click (Resource)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
Week 1 - Introduction and Advanced Energy Storage Technologies

The first module introduces you to the course and outlines the weekly topics to be covered. Kennedy will present a general case for energy storage, cover some basics such as power, energy and battery capacity ratings, and then dive right in to advanced storage technologies with a focus on electro-chemical batteries. We’ll wrap up the first week with a discussion of electrical grid types, including microgrids, and related energy storage opportunities.

  • Part 1: Introduction to Advanced Solar + Storage (Video)
  • Part 2: Energy Storage Overview and Battery Characteristics (30 minutes) (Video)
  • Part 3: Battery Chemistry Overview (34 minutes) (Video)
  • Part 4: Terms and Definitions (23 minutes) (Video)
  • Part 5: Grid Types and Opportunity Overview (24 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 1 Quiz (13 questions) (Quiz)
  • Assignment: Investigate an up-and-coming battery company (Text)
  • Week 1 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
Week 2 - State-of-the-Art Stand-Alone Storage Systems

In this module we’ll look at contemporary applications and equipment for stand-alone off-grid projects. This market is experiencing tremendous growth globally. Wes will present technical information for the design and deployment of systems ranging from advanced off-grid residences to remote, stand-alone commercial-scale resorts and industrial facilities.

  • "Stand-Alone System Design" - SolarPro (2010) (Resource)
  • "Inverter and Battery Cables" - Home Power (2014) (Resource)
  • Safety! (Resource)
  • Off Grid - Part 1 - Intro and Terms (33 minutes) (Video)
  • Off Grid - Part 2 - Design Considerations (20 minutes) (Video)
  • Off Grid - Part 3 - Sizing the System (34 minutes) (Video)
  • Off Grid Part 4 The Nitty Gritty (31 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 2 Homework - Design an Off-Grid System (Text)
  • Week 2 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • Off-Grid Quiz (11 questions) (Quiz)
Week 3 - The Residential Grid-Connected Market

The third module’s focus is modern grid-connected residential applications. We’ll cover technology, design parameters, example markets and financial drivers, as well as a technical case study. We’ll take a forward-looking approach to applications including grid-tie with battery backup, self-consumption schemes and system aggregation for grid support.

  • "Hawaii just ended net metering for solar. Now what?" - Rocky Mountain Institute (Oct. 2015) (Resource)
  • "Understanding Growth Drivers for Residential Battery Storage" - Greentech Media (April 2015) (Resource)
  • Residential Grid Tie, Part 1 (29 minutes) (Video)
  • Residential Grid Tie, Part 2 (30 minutes) (Video)
  • Residential Grid Tie, Part 3 (20 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 3 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • Week 3 Quiz (10 questions) (Quiz)
Week 4 - The Commercial and Industrial Grid-Connected Markets

In the fourth week, we’ll dive into grid-connected commercial and institutional storage markets. Topics include benefit stacking, peak shaving, frequency regulation and financial arbitrage. We’ll also explore the status of codes and standards related to energy storage such as NEC requirements, fire codes and UL certification. We’ll wrap up the week with a case study that includes market position, finances, and equipment and design variables for an example commercial-scale energy storage system.

  • "The NEC and Storage Batteries" - Electrical Construction and Maintenance (April 2014) - Site registration required (Resource)
  • "Why You Should Question the Value Proposition of Energy Storage" - Greentech Media (October 2014) (Resource)
  • Commercial Scale Off Grid (12 minutes) (Video)
  • Commercial Scale Grid Tie - Part 1 (28 minutes) (Video)
  • Commercial Scale Grid Tie - Part 2 (23 minutes) (Video)
  • Commercial Scale Grid Tie - Part 3 (29 minutes) (Video)
  • Commercial Scale Grid Tie - Part 4 (22 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 4 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • Week 4 Quiz (10 questions) (Quiz)
Week 5 - The Utility-Scale Energy Storage Market

This week we'll discuss the new wave of applications and technologies for utility-scale energy storage systems. Topics include ramp rate control, peak shifting and ancillary services. We'll finish with a case study that outlines the financial drivers and design parameters for an example utility-scale storage system.

  • Utility Scale Grid Tie - Part 1 (30 minutes) (Video)
  • Utility Scale Grid Tie - Part 2 (37 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 5 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • Week 5 Quiz (10 questions) (Quiz)
Week 6 - Advanced Power Conditioning Equipment and Controls

This module has a technology focus and presents detailed information on the power converters used in modern energy storage systems. We’ll take an in depth look at the major vendors in each market segment, as well as emerging technologies that will soon come to market. Week six will also cover control systems and strategies for solar-plus-storage projects.

  • Equipment and Controls - Part 1 (41 minutes) (Video)
  • Equipment and Controls - Part 2 (34 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 6 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • Homework: Report on a future energy storage element (Text)
Week 7 - All About Finances

Innovative financial models drove the rapid growth of grid-connected PV systems. Most experts agree that the mainstreaming of energy storage will follow a similar developmental path. This module explores the various financial models emerging to drive the storage market forward. You’ll learn where financially attractive solar-plus-storage projects are happening today as well as up-and-coming markets.

  • All About Finances - Part 1 (30 minutes) (Video)
  • All About Finances - Part 2 (39 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 7 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • "The Economics of Battery Energy Storage" - Rocky Mountain Institute (October 2015) (Download .pdf)
  • Economics of Load Defection - Rocky Mountain Institute (April 2015) (Download .htm)
Week 8 - The Policy Puzzle

What policies are in place that are helping, or hurting, the solar-plus-storage marketplace? What’s on the horizon? In week 8, you’ll get a handle on local, state and national programs impacting the energy storage market and policy obstacles that need to be removed.

  • The Policy Puzzle - Part 1 (37 minutes) (Video)
  • Policy Puzzle - Part 2 (26 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 8 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • Battery Balance of System Charrette - Rocky Mountain Institute (Download .pdf)
  • Resilience for Free (Download .pdf)
Week 9 - Key Takeaways and Capstone Project: Designing a Solar + Storage System

We’ll review the important takeaways from the course and prepare you for the capstone project. For your capstone project, you’ll select a viable energy storage market and application and put what you’ve learned to work. You’ll design a solar-plus-storage system, specify the power conditioning and control equipment, and create a financial overview for the project.

  • Updates and Takeaways (24 minutes) (Video)
  • Takeaways - Grid-Tie Marketplace (30 minutes) (Video)
  • Week 9 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • Takeaways - Utility Policy and Finances (40 minutes) (Video)
  • Upload Capstone Project File(s) (Submit File)
After The Course - Feedback and Additional Resources

No matter how great this course is, we know it's just one part of a bigger journey. In this module we'll start thinking about what comes next. You'll provide feedback on the course, request a certificate of completion, and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year). Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. Let us know what you do next and how we can help.

  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)
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