Design and Installation

Free Onboarding Bundle for New Residential Solar Installers - Self Study

Scott Sklar and 3 others

Course description

This a bundle of 4 courses taught by Scott Sklar, Dr. James Rand, IronRidge Training Team, and Christopher LaForge:

Even the best solar installers started with no experience. This is a series of foundational, free courses for new solar installers. Our goal is to give you an understanding of the basics of the industry, electricity, solar construction, and energy storage that lays the groundwork for a career in solar.

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Continuing Education Units

Approved for: NABCEP Advanced Credit Hours, NABCEP NEC, NABCEP JTA, NABCEP RE Elective, NABCEP PV Associate Renewal.

Approved NABCEP CEU Hours
NABCEP Credential Advanced Hours for Exam Recertification CEU Hours NEC JTA RE Elective Building or Fire Code
2 2 0 2 2 0
0 2 0 0 0 0
2 2 0 2 2 0
2 2 0 2 2 0
2 2 0 2 2 0
0 2 0 0 2 0
NABCEP Registered Provider

This course counts towards the training requirements for taking NABCEP professional certification exams and CEUs for renewing all certifications.

Get NABCEP Certifications

Course Outline #1 - Solar Power 101


  • Renewable Energy Overview Part I - Introduction (01:10:41 hours)
  • Powerpoint Slides - Introduction to Renewable Energy Technology and Markets (.pdf)
  • November 2023 Update: Impact of the Infrastructure Bill & Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) (34:37 minutes)
  • Totally optional: iPhone App for taking this class (50 seconds)

  • Renewable Energy Overview Part II - Government & Finance (32:55 minutes)
  • Presentation Slides - Part II (.pdf)
  • Interstate Renewable Enery Council (IREC)
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
  • Recent Renewable Energy Publications from Lawrences Berkeley Laboratory's Electricity Markets & Policy Group
  • New Energy Outlook - Bloomberg New Energy Finance
  • Solar Career Pathways Chart (.jpg)

  • Renewable Energy Overview Part III - Technology Overview (45:47 minutes)
  • Presentation Slides - Part III (.pdf)

Topics for this week include: An introduction to solar technology, photovoltaics, hybrid systems, net metering, and energy storage.

  • Lecture 1 - Photovoltaic Systems Overview (41:40 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (.pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - Grid Intertied and On-Site Generation: The Big and Small Picture (49:29 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (.pdf)
  • Florida Solar Energy Center
  • North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
  • Solar Pathfinder
  • Solmetric
  • NREL's PVWatts Calculator
  • Homer Energy
  • HelioScope
  • Amerian Solar Energy Society (ASES)
  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
  • "Interconnection of Distributed Generation to Utility Systems" - Regulatory Assistance Project
  • Detailed Summary Maps - DSIRE
  • Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST) - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • System Advisor Model - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Topics for this week include: Power purchase agreements (PPAs), leasing, lending, the state of the art, environmental drivers, the Clean Air Act, climate change, and funds.

  • Lecture 1 - Photovoltaic System Issues (41:13 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (.pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - PV Financing (36:25 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (.pdf)
  • PV*SOL - The Solar Design Company

Topics for this week include: Codes and standards (UL, NABCEP, SRCC), local permitting studies, house value studies, remote diagnostics, quick deploy systems, modular and inter-operable systems, aesthetics, and blending with high-value energy efficiency and other renewables.

  • Lecture 1 - Integration Issues: Microgrids and Community Grids (01:01:51 hours)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (.pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - Sklar's Top 10 PV Points (27:46 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (.pdf)
  • Federal Smart Grid Task Force
  • "Importance of a Distribution Management System (DMS) in Grid Modernization" - Microgrid Knowledge (Oct. 2015)
  • Renewable Energy Data Books (NREL)
  • "Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis" - Lazard
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Interactive Map of Cooperative Solar

Course Outline #2 - 5 Things You Should Know About Silicon PV Panels

Module 1 - 5 Things You Should Know About Silicon PV Panels

  • 5 Things You Should Know About Silicon PV Panels (53:34 minutes)

Course Outline #3 - IronRidge’s Installing on Pitched Roof – Comp Shingle – Course

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This is a free course. We take pride in our free courses, but keep in mind that this is only a taste of what we do in a full HeatSpring course. You can get started immediately after you enroll.

  • Introduction to IronRidge (03:00 minutes)
  • How ICP Works (01:42 minutes)
  • About IronRidge Installer Certification
  • Totally optional: iPhone App for taking this class (50 seconds)
Module 1 - Introduction to Solar PV

  • Intro to Solar PV (04:37 minutes)
  • Rail-based racking systems (03:56 minutes)
  • Codes & Standards (07:10 minutes)
  • Recap (14 seconds)
  • Module 1 Quiz
Module 2 - Introduction to Roofing Systems

  • Roof Types & Pitches (02:34 minutes)
  • Roof Anatomy (01:38 minutes)
  • Composition Asphalt Shingles (02:50 minutes)
  • Roof Attachments & Applications (01:28 minutes)
  • Recap (08 seconds)
  • Module 2 Quiz
Module 3 - Rail-Based Racking

  • Flush Mount System Overview (01:04 minutes)
  • Design Considerations (02:20 minutes)
  • Required Tools & Supplies (01:52 minutes)
  • Roofing Sealant (02:08 minutes)
  • Project Plans (49 seconds)
  • Module Orientation (36 seconds)
  • Roof Zones (01:53 minutes)
  • Know Your Jobsite (01:02 minutes)
  • Ladder Placement & Equipment (02:55 minutes)
  • Roof Hazards & Conditions (01:50 minutes)
  • Staging Tools & Materials (03:18 minutes)
  • Recap (18 seconds)
  • Module 3 Quiz
Module 4 - Marking Array Dimensions

  • Laying Out The Array (03:27 minutes)
  • Module Clamping Zones & Rail Spacing (04:45 minutes)
  • Determining Rafter Locations (04:06 minutes)
  • Marking Attachment Locations (27 seconds)
  • Recap (10 seconds)
  • Module 4 Quiz
Module 5 - Installing Attachments

  • Installing Roof Attachments (49 seconds)
  • Required Tools & Materials (42 seconds)
  • Drilling Pilot Holes (01:43 minutes)
  • Sealing Missed Pilot Holes (01:31 minutes)
  • Preparing Attachment Locations (49 seconds)
  • Flashing Features (01:06 minutes)
  • Removing Nails (01:37 minutes)
  • Aligning the Flashing (01:01 minutes)
  • Pro Tips (38 seconds)
  • Recap (09 seconds)
  • Module 5 Quiz
Module 6 - Flush Mount Racking

  • Flush Mount Racking Assembly (02:12 minutes)
  • Determining Rail Lengths & Making Cut List (01:39 minutes)
  • Cutting & Splicing Rails (02:16 minutes)
  • Squaring & Levelling Rails (02:11 minutes)
  • Array Grounding Components (01:42 minutes)
  • Attaching Module-Level Power Electronics (02:11 minutes)
  • Housekeeping (32 seconds)
  • Recap (12 seconds)
  • Module 6 Quiz
Module 7 - Wire Management

  • Wire Management (03:00 minutes)
  • Wiring Plans (02:23 minutes)
  • Junction Boxes & Conduit (03:03 minutes)
  • Recap (10 seconds)
  • Module 7 Quiz
Module 8 - Module Installation

  • Solar Module Installation (04:54 minutes)
  • Connecting MLPE Devices (02:34 minutes)
  • Securing Modules to Rails (02:37 minutes)
  • Trimming Rails & Hiding Ends (02:40 minutes)
  • Recap (12 seconds)
  • Course Summary (16 seconds)
  • Module 8 Quiz
Conclusion - Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • IronRidge Installer Certification Final Test
  • Take the next step: IronRidge Installer Certification
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate

Course Outline #4 - Battery Capacity - The Basis of Storage

Module 1 - Video, Resources, Call-In Information, and Questions

In this module, you'll watch the video lecture, check out the supporting resources, and download an MP3 recording of a 1-hour Q+A call with Christopher LaForge.

  • Battery Capacity - The Basis of Storage (39:42 minutes)
  • 1-hour Q+A Call Recording (.mp3)
  • Article: Energy Storage Basics for Solar PV by Christopher LaForge
  • Totally optional: iPhone App for taking this class (50 seconds)


Scott Sklar

President, The Stella Group

Scott Sklar runs a clean energy technology optimization and strategic policy firm, The Stella Group, Ltd, which he founded in 1995 and came on full time to lead in 1999. The firm facilitates clean distributed energy projects for commercial, industrial, and military applications. The firm specializes in blending technologies and financing projects, as well as assisting... Learn more

Dr. James Rand

Core Energy Works

Dr. James Rand has over 30 years of experience in the manufacturing, research, and development of solar energy products. His work spans the entire value chain, from raw materials to system level performance. His recent technical projects focused on testing and evaluation of solar modules for performance and long-term reliability. This work led to the formation of Core... Learn more

IronRidge Training Team

Whether you’re a new entrant to the solar industry, training your crew, or just refreshing your credentials, the IronRidge Installer Certification Program was built for you. Learn more

Christopher LaForge

Certified Master Trainer (IREC), NABCEP Certified Photovoltaic Professional - Emeritus , 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... Learn more


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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

This is a free course. Enroll today and get access to all of the materials instantly. This is a self-study, self-paced course and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.

How long do I have access to the materials?

For free courses there is no guarantee for how long the course materials will be available.

Is there a certificate of completion?

Yes, 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 LinkedIn integration.

Can I register multiple people?

Yes, this is a free course so you can share this page with other people from your team.

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