Designing PV Systems with Energy Storage

Online

For Utility-Interactive and Off-Grid Applications

Length: 6 weeks

Instructor: Christopher LaForge

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

Description

Offered in partnership with Home Power Magazine.

This course provides in-depth analysis of the issues surrounding the use of energy storage for residential and commercial PV applications up to 100/Kw & 150 Kwhr ESS. It covers battery design, specification, use, and maintenance.

This is an intensive six-week training with solar legend Christopher LaForge. PV systems that employ batteries require significant design considerations. Whether you're using batteries for back up when the grid goes down or as part of a stand-alone, off-grid system, choose the best fit and size for your project can be challenging.

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Your instructor is one of the best

Christopher LaForge is an ISPQ Master Trainer with more than 25 years of experience in the solar PV industry. He was named IREC Master Trainer of the Year for 2016.

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: 12 NABCEP Advanced Credit Hours

Excellent lectures. I really enjoyed the extra reading; it was very informative. For someone who knew very little about solar arrays with battery backup I now feel very confident concerning sizing and installation after taking this course. Thank you for the opportunity.

- Larry Mulch, Tri County Electric

Christopher is a leader in solar energy. As a nationally-recognized credentialed practitioner and trainer, Chris has consistently promoted demonstrated quality and excellence in policy and practice. He has been a key player in building quality assurances into the market.

- Jane Weissman, Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)

It was great to have all relevant materials in the same place, be provided with an overview by an industry expert, and also have the ability to ask questions. I feel that I gained a lot of knowledge from the course.

- Greg Pisanich, Stinger Ghiffarian Technologies

Chris LaForge knows a tremendous amount about solar and off-grid, grid-tie battery back-up (GTBB) systems. Taking this course helped me get through a challenging GTBB system design and install at my new job in solar. I found myself going back to the content provided many times to figure out and reinforce what I was encountering on the job.

- Brent Groce, Solar States

Instructor

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Christopher LaForge

Master Trainer (IREC), Great Northern Solar

Christopher LaForge is the CEO of Great Northern Solar and a NABCEP certified photovoltaic installer-emeritus. He has been designing, specifying, and installing systems since 1988. He has been an instructor with the MREA since 1993 teaching Advanced Photovoltaic design and installation and is an ISPQ Affiliated Master Trainer. In 2016 he was named IREC's Master Trainer...[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) preview
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Join the Alumni Network: Add education to your LinkedIn profile in one click (Resource)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
Week 1 - Outlining Battery Types and Beginning the Design

Topics covered this week include: client qualification, basic battery types (lead acid, FLA, SLA), why we use flooded lead acid batteries, load profiling, and beginning system design.

  • Reading Assignment #1: Client Qualification - When do they NEED batteries? (Download .pdf)
  • Batteries in Solar PV Systems (13:43 minutes) (Video) preview
  • Reading Assignment #2: Load Analysis - The Starting Point - What are you going to power? (Download .pdf)
  • Resource: Load Analysis Profile Template (Download .pdf)
  • Load Analysis (20:49 minutes) (Video)
  • Reading Assignment #3: LaForge Battery Basics (Download .pdf)
  • Resource: Battery Capacity Calculator (Download .xls)
  • Reading Assignment #4: Battery Sizing Tips for Stand-Alone PV Systems (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #5: How to Size a Deep Cycle Battery Bank (Resource)
  • Resource: Lead Acid Battery Buyers Guide (Download .xls)
  • Take Week 1 Quiz (Quiz)
Week 2 - System Choices: Exotic Batteries, Load Analysis, Battery Bank Design, & Site Analysis

Topics covered this week include: exotic batteries - future of energy storage, expediting the load analysis (profile S), battery voltage choices, paralleling strings, battery wiring, large battery issues, and site analysis.

  • Exotics (10:54 minutes) (Video)
  • Reading Assignment #6 Nickel-metal hydride battery definition (Download .webarchive)
  • Reading Assignment #6 - Windows users Nickel-metal hydride battery definition (Resource)
  • Reading Assignment #7 Lithium-ion battery definition (Download .webarchive)
  • Reading Assignment #7 - windows users Lithium-ion battery definition (Resource)
  • Reading Assignment #8 Lithium-Ion Batteries for Off-Grid Systems? (Resource)
  • Resource - Load Analysis Consumption Excel Spreadsheet (Download .xls)
  • Using the "Consumption" Spreadsheet (17:55 minutes) (Video)
  • Resource - Battery containment Requirements for containing battery banks (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Battery containment Typical commercial battery containment (Download .pdf)
  • Resource-NiMH Specifications of a typical NiMH battery (Download .pdf)
  • Resource-Lithium-Ion Promotional flyer for LiOn Battery (Download .pdf)
  • Resource-Lithium-Ion Specifications of a typical LiOn Battery (Download .pdf)
  • Resource-Example NiCad MSDS Exotic batteries have serious use issues-see the example (Download .pdf)
  • Voltage, Parallel strings, and Wiring (25:44 minutes) (Video)
  • Exercise 1: Battery Wiring diagram Print and complete the diagrams of Battery banks (Download .pdf)
  • How I review Manufacturer's Presentations (6:18 minutes) (Video)
  • Resource - Manufacturers battery presentation - MK Review the presentation - disregard AD content (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Example of system schematic Review this example system design (Download .pdf)
  • Exercise 2: Battery Wiring diagram Print and complete the diagrams of more Battery banks (Download .pdf)
  • Site Survey - issues for systems with batteries (7:57 minutes) (Video)
  • WEEK 2 QUIZ: 19 Questions (Quiz)
  • Exercise 1: Diagram Key Review the correct wiring for exercise 1 with this Key (Download .pdf)
  • Exercise 2: Diagram Key Review the correct wiring for exercise 2 with this Key (Download .pdf)
Week 3 - Specification, Design, and Detailing Components

Topics covered this week include: battery bank design and wiring, on-grid vs. off-grid design differences, The Energy Master Design Program, and component detailing for charge controllers and inverters.

  • Resource - Grid-tie Battery Back-up Example of GTBB components (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Grid-tie Battery Back-up 2nd Example of GTBB Components (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #9 Component Integration - MidNite In-depth analysis - disregard AD content (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - System Design Spreadsheet Energy Master Excel Spreadsheet (Download .xls)
  • Using the "Energy Master" Spreadsheet (30:24 minutes) (Video) preview
  • Exercise 3: Array Wiring diagram Print and complete the diagrams of Array to Combiner Box wiring (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Charge Controller String sizing Practice array sizing for MidNite Solar's Classic (Resource)
  • Resource - Manufacturer's Presentation-OutBack Review the presentation - disregard AD content (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Manufacturer's Presentation-Schneider Review the presentation - NOTE:BEGIN AT PG. 102 and disregard AD content (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Manufacturer's Presentation-Magnum Review presentation - disregard AD content (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Manufacturer's Presentation-Morningstar Review presentation - disregard AD content (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #10 - XW Installation and Menu Overview Read through the overview carefully noting the extensive menus (Download .pdf)
  • Exercise 4: Array Wiring diagram Print and complete the diagrams of Array to combiner Box wiring (Download .pdf)
  • Resource tip - 2 Getting the most out of HP Articles (Video)
  • Reading Assignment #11 Read through - Choosing the Best Batteries (Resource)
  • WEEK 3 QUIZ: 19 Questions (Quiz)
  • Exercise 3: Diagram Key Review the correct wiring for exercise 3 with this Key (Download .pdf)
  • Exercise 4: Diagram Key Review the correct wiring for exercise 4 with this Key (Download .pdf)
Week 4 - Balancing System Components

Topics covered this week include: The proper blend - loads/PV/batteries/back-up generation, diagramming the overall system, DC coupling - the tradition, Case Study: Kroska, AC coupling - the innovation, component detailing, and AC coupled inverters.

  • Exercise 5: DC system wiring diagram Print and complete the diagram of this simple Dc system (Download .pdf)
  • Equipment Sizing Use and Maintenance (32:12 minutes) (Video)
  • Resource - Stand-alone Design article Review this article on off-grid system design (Resource)
  • Resource - Battery Based Inverters Review this article on Battery Based Inverters (Resource)
  • Resource - Off-Grid Inverter Buyer's Guide Review this article - an excellent inverter buyers guide (Resource)
  • Resource - Grid-tie Battery Back up article Review this article on GT-BB systems (Resource)
  • Exercise 6: DC+AC system wiring Diagram Print and complete the diagram of this System including an inverter (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Manufacturer's Presentation - Trojan Review presentation - disregard AD content (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Manufacturer's Presentation - Rolls Surrette Review presentation - disregard AD content (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #12a Familiarize yourself with The XW equipment 1) Inverter (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #12b 2) Power System Installation (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #12c 3) MPPT 80 600 Charge control installation (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #12d 4) MPPT 80 600 Charge Control Operation (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #12e 5) System Control Panel (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #13a Familiarize yourself with the Magnum equipment 1) inverter (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #13b 2) Magnum Panel (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #13c 3) Remote Control (Download .pdf)
  • Exercise 7: DC+AC system Wiring Diagram Print and complete this final diagram exercise (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #14 Read this AC Coupling White Paper (Download .pdf)
  • WEEK 4 QUIZ: 23 Questions (Quiz)
  • Exercise 5: Diagram Key Review the correct wiring for exercise 5 with this key (Download .pdf)
  • Exercise 6: Diagram Key Review the correct wiring for exercise 6 with this key (Download .pdf)
  • Exercise 7: Diagram Key Review the correct wiring for exercise 7 with this key (Download .pdf)
Week 5 - Components: Continued Use and Maintenance

Topics this week include: Reviewing additional components (combiner boxes, charge controls, and appliances) and finalizing the design by component integration, system labeling and other code issues, aesthetics of design, and important considerations for use and annual maintenance.

  • Resource - PV Combiner Box Buyer's Guide Review this article - an excellent guide - be sure to review the Specifications Page (Resource)
  • Resource - Combiner Box Specifications - MidNite Review this Product Line by MidNite Solar (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #15d 4) Battery monitor - Flexnet DC (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Charge Controller Buyer's Guide Review this article - an excellent charge controllers buyer's guide (Resource)
  • Resource - Battery Monitoring 1 Review this article on Battery status monitoring (Resource)
  • Resource - Battery Monitoring 2 Review this second article on Battery status monitoring (Resource)
  • Reading Assignment #15a Familiarize yourself with the OutBack equipment 1) Inverter-off grid (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #15b 2) Inverter - grid-tie (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #15c 3) Charge Controller - Flexmax (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #15e 5) Flexware - combiner boxes (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #15f 6) Flexware 500 - disconnect containment (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Grounding DC systems Review this article on Grounding in DC systems (Resource)
  • Reading Assignment #16a Familiarize yourself with the Apollo equipment 1) Inverter (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #16b 2) Charge Controller (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #16c 3) Switchgear (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Off-Grid Appliances Review this article on choosing the correct appliances for Off-Grid applications (Resource)
  • Reading Assignment #17a Familiarize yourself with the LinkPRO amp-hour meter installation (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #17b Familiarize yourself with the LinkPRO operation (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #18a Familiarize yourself with the TRI-METRIC Amp-hour meter Installation (Download .pdf)
  • Reading assignment #18b Familiarize yourself with the TRI-METRIC operation (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - PVWatts Example PVWatts Production Estimate (Download .pdf)
  • Creating your Capstone Project (Video)
  • WEEK 5 QUIZ 25 Questions (Quiz)
Week 6 - Summary and Capstone Project

This week you'll tie everything together by finishing your capstone project to demonstrate what you've learned. The purpose is to get practice designing battery-based PV systems.

  • Reading Assignment #19 Ground-Fault Protection, note the difference for battery systems (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #20 Workmanship - note Battery issues (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #21 Permit/Inspection Checklist - note Battery issues (Download .pdf)
  • Reading Assignment #22 Labeling and the NEC - 2014 update (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Required Labels Visual guide to required labels for PV systems (Download .pdf)
  • Resource - Safety for PV Installations Review this OSEIA guide to Safety issues for PV Installations (Download .pdf)
  • Capstone Project Part 1 Upload your Project "Consumption Spreadsheet" (Submit File)
  • Capstone Project Part 2 Upload your Project "Energy Master Spreadsheet" (Submit File)
  • Capstone Project Part 3 Upload your Project "Cost Estimate" from the Energy Master Spreadsheet (Submit File)
  • Capstone Project Part 4 Upload a diagram of your project's system (Submit File)
  • Capstone Project Part 5 Upload a production estimate from the PV Watts NREL web site (Submit File)
  • Capstone Project Part 6 Upload your Product Specification Documents (Download)
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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Free Tools Used in this course

Load Calculator for Battery Based Solar Projects

Author: Christopher LaForge