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Design and Installation
Inspection, O&M

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

Sean White • Last updated 05/2023

4.7/5 (view ratings)
9918 students
4 modules
3:46 hours
36 assignments

Course description

This 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:

  • An introduction to electricity and solar
  • History of the solar industry and market applications
  • Solar design basics
  • Solar installation basics
  • Solar code, including 2017 and 2020 NEC
  • Economics and market dynamics

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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
1 3.5 1 1 2 0
0 3.5 0 0 0 0
1 3.5 1 1 2 0
1 3.5 1 1 2 0
1 3.5 0 1 2 0
0 3.5 1 0 2 0
0 3.5 1 0 0 0
NABCEP Registered Provider

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

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Full course outline

Module 1 - 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 (01:38 minutes)
  • Connect with your instructor Sean on LinkedIn
  • Basic Solar Statistics (03:02 minutes)
  • PV Markets and Applications (11:07 minutes)
  • More PV Applications and Tools (08:23 minutes)
  • PV History (02:49 minutes)
  • Solar Industry Outlook (02:02 minutes)
  • New Technologies and Industry Growth Rates (02:47 minutes)
  • PV Modules (01:04 minutes)
  • Energy Storage Applications (01:27 minutes)
  • Solar Market Report Summary (.pdf)
Module 2 - 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 (02:04 minutes)
  • IV Curves with Bill Brooks (11:02 minutes)
  • Solar Electricity Basics (05:35 minutes)
  • Electricity Basics & The Physics of Solar PV Design (11:16 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - Introduction (30:50 minutes)
  • String Sizing - Introduction to Voltage Temperature Calculations (17:46 minutes)
  • Building Integrated Photovoltaics and Tesla Solarglass (aka Tesla Solar Roof) with Bill Brooks (05:37 minutes)
Module 3 - 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 (43:05 minutes)
  • Solar PV Commissioning Checklist (.pdf)
  • PV Safety Basics (02:30 minutes)
Module 4 - 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 (12:26 minutes)
  • NEC and Energy Storage Systems (15:37 minutes)
  • Article 690 and the 2020 NEC (13:25 minutes)
  • Rapid Shutdown - Article 690.12 (02:10 minutes)
  • Article 705 (09:18 minutes)
  • The 120% Rule (08:18 minutes)


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... Learn more


1575 reviews

9,918 students have taken this course

by Ahmad Williams 09/26/2022

I really enjoy this course everything was good and brief I really enjoyed learning about the PV designs thank you for that

by BreNaia Johnson Roberson 09/26/2022

The course is very informing so make sure you listen up for close details, teaches us new vocabulary and breaks down how things should be done.

by Ahsan Rasheed 08/21/2022

For me its just great, Thank you


It has changed my entire knowledge about solar module installation positively, am happy

by Osama Tantoor 08/13/2022

Hello, iam working in solar panel installation on motorhomes and caravans, this course is excellent , and it is help to understand how solar energy works and what can we do with this great and free energy. Thank you heatspring.

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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 4 module course is delivered entirely online. The lecture video and other materials are available any time. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.

How long do I have access to the materials?

Students get unlimited access to the course materials as soon as they enroll and for one year (365 days) after enrollment. 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. After the one year of access expires, access can be extended by joining as a HeatSpring member. A single membership extends access to course materials for all past enrollments.

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 please visit our HeatSpring for Teams page to get a group discount.

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