Introduction to Solar PV Design, Installation and Code - Self Study


Newly redesigned free course for solar professionals

Author: Sean White

Subjects: Solar: Design and Installation, Solar: Inspection, O&M

Student Rating

8.9 out of 10 (view ratings)
6,759 students have taken this course


This free course will teach you the basics of solar PV. Most of the updated presentation was recorded in Summer 2021. The course is intended for newcomers to the solar industry and can be taken any time. Participants can expect to learn:

Note: This course will continue to evolve and we plan to submit it for NABCEP credits.

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Flexible Online Training for Industry Professionals

This is a self-study, self-paced online course. You can begin instantly upon enrollment and complete the course materials at your own pace.

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. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world.

Certificates of Completion Available for Members Only

Certificates of completion are only provided to HeatSpring Membership subscribers. This course has not been approved by any credentialing organizations (NABCEP, AIA, USGBC etc) for Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). This course is for self education purposes only and completion does not indicate a level of professional expertise or credential.

Sean is a great instructor, and extraordinarily knowledgeable on the subject matter. It is a very good class.

- Tedrowe Bonner, Rubicon Seven

Sean has the unique ability to understand a student's gap in educational understanding and to fill in that gap in an extremely efficient manner. He is able to naturally work through technical information in an engaging path that builds toward proficiency rather than confuses the student. I have been fortunate to receive training from some of the top educators in the world and I would easily consider Sean as one of them.

- Anthony Shaw - Director, Progeneration Energy Corporation

+ Read more student ratings and reviews for this course


Sean White

2014 IREC Trainer of the Year

Sean White was the 2014 Interstate Renewable Energy Council Trainer of the Year. He is an ISPQ Certified Solar PV Master Trainer and has authored several books on solar. He contributed to the development of the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Job Task Analysis and has been a member of the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Technical Committee. Sean is a...[more]

Course Outline

Introduction to Solar PV Markets

Let's get started! In this opening module you'll meet Dr. Sean White, the lead instructor for the course. Sean will dive into a discussion of PV Markets, including: Types of PV Systems, Applications for PV Systems, and Features and Benefits of PV Systems.

  • Welcome & Sean White Introduction (Video - 01:38 minutes)
  • Basic Solar Statistics (Video - 03:02 minutes)
  • PV Markets and Applications (Video - 11:07 minutes)
  • More PV Applications and Tools (Video - 08:23 minutes)
  • PV History (Video - 02:49 minutes)
  • Solar Industry Outlook (Video - 02:02 minutes)
  • New Technologies and Industry Growth Rates (Video - 02:47 minutes)
  • PV Modules (Video - 01:04 minutes)
  • Energy Storage Applications (Video - 01:27 minutes)
  • Solar Market Report Summary (Download .pdf)
Introduction to Solar PV Design

Becoming a great solar pv designer takes a deep understanding of electricity, engineering, and construction. We don't cover all of those things here - but we give you just enough to be dangerous. Work your way through this series of assignments, and you'll be on your way to becoming a solar pv designer.

  • Introduction to the IV Curve (Video - 02:04 minutes)
  • Solar Electricity Basics (Video - 05:35 minutes)
  • Electricity Basics & The Physics of Solar PV Design (Video - 11:16 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - Introduction (Video - 30:50 minutes)
  • String Sizing - Introduction to Voltage Temperature Calculations (Video - 17:46 minutes)
Introduction to Solar PV Installation

Performing thorough and efficient site visits is absolutely critical to the success of profitable solar projects, especially residential projects! You need to be able to capture all of the necessary information to quote the system correctly, design the project, and let the installation crew what to expect. An efficient site visit process will lead to smooth operations and profitable jobs while a complex process can lead to unprofitable jobs and a lot of confusion.

  • Solar Module Mounting Techniques (Video - 43:05 minutes)
  • Solar PV Commissioning Checklist (Download .pdf)
  • PV Safety Basics (Video - 02:30 minutes)
Introduction to Solar Code - Including the 2017 & 2020 NEC

Understanding the NEC is key for a project manager, engineer, or installer. This section covers the basics of solar code so you can determine how much you know and what you need to study.

  • Introduction to the 2017 & 2020 NEC (Video - 12:26 minutes)
  • NEC and Energy Storage Systems (Video - 15:37 minutes)
  • Article 690 and the 2020 NEC (Video - 13:25 minutes)
  • Rapid Shutdown - Article 690.12 (Video - 02:10 minutes)
  • Article 705 (Video - 09:18 minutes)
  • The 120% Rule (Video - 08:18 minutes)

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