Rating: 8.6/10 (view ratings)
223 students have taken this course
Developed in partnership with SolarPro Magazine.
Learn large-scale solar design and how to get your projects permitted and installed faster and cheaper. This training covers many types of large solar PV systems, with a heavy emphasis on commercial rooftop systems.
Ryan Mayfield, Solar PV Technical Editor at SolarPro and co-instructor Randy Batchelor, P.E. have developed this course to help experienced solar professionals grow in the industry.
The course materials have been recently updated to reflect ongoing changes in this dynamic topic. During the instructor-led session, both Ryan and Randy will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board and reviewing project work you submit. If you really want to dive in and do a full megawatt design of your own you can. You can even use a real world project and they will review it for you and help you along the way.
After the guided session is over, you will continue to have access to all of the course materials for a full year and can complete the course on your own pace. When you have completed all of the assignments you will be able to print a certificate of completion with CEUs for self reporting.
Learn From The Technical Editor At Solar Pro Magazine
Ryan Mayfield developed this with one goal in mind: to give people who take it a competitive advantage on commercial and utility-scale solar projects.
Course Includes Valuable Tools And Templates
We've lined up some really valuable tools and templates to help you in the course and on future design projects, including access to Helioscope.
Use Software To Layout And Optimize System Designs
Included in the course are extended trial versions of two cloud based PV design software platforms. As we go through the course we will develop a site layout, run energy production models and optimize the design based on the project constraints and to meet code requirements. In addition you will learn to create and check electrical single line diagrams and calculations, and how to develop good notes, details, specifications and scope of work documents. You will not be asked to do any drafting of plan sets, beyond the basic layout, and we will not be teaching any specific drafting software.
Self Paced Online Course
You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. Get access to all of the course materials as soon as you enroll. The instructor-led session will begin on the scheduled start date. During the session dates the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board and reviewing project work.
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. 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, 6 NABCEP Elective, 3 NABCEP NEC
The most thorough and well-presented solar course I've ever taken.
- David Beavers, Cadmus
High quality course and exceptional value. As a result of completing this course, I am able to focus my business into taking on utility-scale projects.
- Bob Solger, Solar Design Studio
This course is like boot camp for the experienced solar designer. It will challenge you, help you learn new skills, and fill in missing gaps in your understanding of large-scale system design. By the time you are done, you will be a lean, mean designing machine.
- John Wadley, Meridian Solar
The course provides many great resources to individuals that are in the design and engineering field of large solar PV arrays. Ryan Mayfield is very knowledgeable and shares that knowledge in a well-organized format.
- Gregg Stephens, Absolutely Energized Solar
This course is excellent for sharpening your skills in solar PV design and for filling in knowledge gaps.
- Kyle Ingraham, Compass Solar
This is an excellent course and I would recommend it to anyone who's serious about the solar energy industry.
Ryan Mayfield has been working in the renewable energy field since 1999 and is the President of Renewable Energy Associates, a consulting firm providing design, support and educational services for electrical contractors, architectural and engineering firms, manufacturers and government agencies. Ryan serves as Photovoltaic Systems Technical Editor for SolarPro...[more]
Engineer and Consultant, Sol Rebel Power Systems
Randy Batchelor is a solar energy professional with experience designing and building projects ranging from small off-grid power systems to utility-scale plants connected at medium Voltage. Randy has been working in the solar industry since 2006 at several rapidly growing companies where he has filled various roles in engineering and construction management. Randy has...[more]
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.
MW Course Introduction - Ryan (8:00) (Video) preview
MW Course Introduction - Randy (6:00) (Video) preview
Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
Introduction to HeatSpring (1 minute) (Video) preview
Project Lifecycle, Site Assessment and Investigation
In this opening week, we will review the overall lifecycle of a PV project, to first orient ourselves to the various activities that take place, and give context for the lessons in the course. We will then focus on best practices for technical sales, preliminary engineering, site assessment and detailed site investigation (aka, discovery) on large-scale commercial projects. We’ll cover requirements and best practices for siting ground mount, carports and rooftop projects.
Identifying project goals at priorities is also an important activity a the beginning of a project, but we will discuss that in the context of system optimization, later in the course.
Week 1: Intro Video (2:00) (Video)
Week 1: Project Design Lifecycle (25:50) (Video)
Week 1: Project Design Lifecycle PDF (Download .pdf)
Week 1: Project Design Lifecycle Table PDF (Download .pdf)
Site Assessment and Investigation (Download .pdf)
Site Assessment and Investigation (Video)
Optimizing for Speed (Download .pdf)
Successful Rooftop Photovoltaics (Download .pdf)
From kW to MW (Download .pdf)
Week 1 Homework/Forum post (Download .pdf)
Site Assessment and Investigation Quiz (Quiz)
In this module, we dive into equipment selection. Pricing and equipment efficiencies change rapidly in our industry, so we'll make sure you're up to speed on the latest thinking. Topics include: Identify inverter technologies that best fit your project
• Transformer based vs. transformerless
• PID and Capacitive discharge
• Discuss array to inverter sizing strategies
• Monitoring and SCADA
• Tracking systems
• BOS strategies
Week 2 Intro Video (4:00) (Video)
Week 2: Module Selection (21:00) (Video)
Week 2: Module Selection PDF (Download .pdf)
Week 2: Racking and Power Electronics (38:00) (Video)
Week 2: Racking and Power Electronics PDF (Download .pdf)
Data Aquisition System Equipment Selection (20:17) (Video)
Week 2: DAS PDF (Download .pdf)
Reading and Resources (Download .zip)
Week 2: Homework/Forum post (Download .pdf)
Cooper Pad Mount Transformer Specifications (Download .pdf)
Software Tools to Help the Design Process
What software do you use to design large-scale commercial solar projects? We don't advocate any particular software product, so you're welcome to use what you're used to for this course. We do want to show you what's out there and help you understand how to get the most out of your program to maximize speed and efficiency of your design efforts. Topics include:
• Show different preliminary design tools
• Show/discuss energy estimation tools
• Manufacturer tools
• Drawing programs
Week 3 Intro (3:35) (Video)
Week 3 Lesson - Software Tools (24:28) (Video)
Resources: Week 3 Lesson PDF (Download .pdf)
PVSyst introduction (18:01) (Video)
SAM overview (6:15) (Video)
PVComplete Demo (24:14) (Video)
Reading and Resources (Download .zip)
Resources: Links to Software Programs (Download .pdf)
Resources: CAD drawing examples (Download .pdf)
Week 3 Homework (Download .pdf)
Week 3 HW Upload (Submit File)
Optimizing System Design
Keeping costs down will always be a primary goal for all involved in any PV project. The trick becomes where to cut costs wisely as to impact the overall system performance as little as possible. This week we’ll get into some of the ways we can design our PV systems based on the different criteria we are given.
• Value engineering conductors on dc side
• Array layouts and energy impact
• 1,000 V vs. 600 V
• DC to ac ratios
• Wire management in the design
• Designing with O&M in mind
Resources: HelioScope Optimization spreadsheet (no data) (Download .xlsb)
Fire Code and Structural Connections
Large commercial rooftop systems require a deep understanding of fire codes and techniques for coordinating with fire departments, inspectors and owners. 2012 International Fire Code (IFC) requirements will be covered to help maximize roof safety and rooftop coverage. We will also discuss requirements for the structural portion of your installations.
Week 5 Introduction (2:34) (Video)
Week 5 Lesson Part 1 (27:35) (Video)
Week 5 Lesson Part 2 (24:48) (Video)
Resources: Week 5 Lesson PDF (Download .pdf)
UL2703 and 1703 presentation (48:27) (Video)
Resources: UL1703/2703 webinar PDF (Download .pdf)
Resources: Roofing Code webinar (Resource)
Resources: Week 5 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
Code, Code, Code. We could spend the entire course covering code, but we're going to assume everyone in this course has a firm grasp on the NEC. This week, we'll discuss some of the 2014 code updates and some nuanced details to help you make fewer mistakes and get your jobs permitted faster.
Week 6 Introduction (3:40) (Video)
Week 6 - Electrical Design for Code and Cost (1:04) (Video)
Electrical Design for Code and Costs (Download .pdf)
2014 NEC 690 overview (32:42) (Video)
Grounding and Bonding Part 1 (23 min) (Video) preview
Grounding and Bonding Part 2 (37 min) (Video)
Read: PDF version of Grounding and Bonding Parts 1 and 2 (Download .pdf)
Resources: Week 6 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
Conductor and Conduit Sizing Example (7:29) (Video)
Conductor Sizing Information for Quiz (Download .pdf)
Conductor Sizing (8 Questions) (Quiz)
Resources: Mike Holt Books (Resource)
NEC Application and Utility Interconnection
This week is intended to expand on the NEC applications and interpretations, specifically surrounding the point of interconnection. For the systems we have been talking about, the most common method of interconnection will be supply side connections. We will discuss the basics for interconnecting to medium voltage lines as well for those systems that will be used on dedicated services and installed directly in conjunction with the utility. Topics for this week will focus on:
• Review NEC interconnection rules
• Discuss different interconnection methods
• Review design and drawing requirements
Week 7 Introduction (2:00) (Video)
Week 7 Lesson (20:45) (Video)
Resource: Line side connection example (Download .pdf)
Resources: Week 7 Lesson PDF (Download .pdf)
Week 7 Interconnection and Code (18:05) (Video)
Resources: Week 7 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
Week 7 Homework (Download .pdf)
Week 7 Homework upload (Submit File)
PV Installation Safety and Operations & Maintenance
Develop a detailed O&M plan that can be refined and re-used on your next large-commercial PV project. This will help reduce future costs associated with the PV array and increase ROI and profitability. Common O&M issues and strategies will be discussed for implementation.
Week 8 Introduction (Video)
Week 8 Lesson Part 1 (24:39) (Video)
Week 8 Lesson Part 2 (25:01) (Video)
Week 8 Lesson Part 3 (17:59) (Video)
Resources: Week 8 Lesson PDF (Download .pdf)
O&M tools intro (2:17) (Video)
O&M tests - setup (5:03) (Video)
IRT testing (5:51) (Video)
IV curve tracing (4:31) (Video)
Resources: Week 8 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
Permitting and Preparing Your Submittal Package
How can you get your permitting done faster and cheaper? That's the multi-million dollar question. In this module, we'll provide tips and tools for getting your projects permitted and approved easier than your competitors. Commonly seen obstacles and associated solutions will be discussed. Getting through the design review process can be time-consuming and add unforeseen costs, so preparing a solid plan set will minimize duplication of work and costs.
Week 9 Introduction (2:00) (Video)
Week 9 Lesson (46:17) - Permitting and Plans (Video)
Resources: Week 9 Lesson PDF - Permitting and Plans (Download .pdf)
Resources: Starter CAD files (Download .zip)
Read: SP2.5 Plan Sets (Download .pdf)
Read: SP3.4 CAD Models (Download .pdf)
Drawing Sets overview (19:03) (Video)
Sample Plan Set (Download .pdf)
Drawing Sheet List and Notes (Download .pdf)
Capstone: Submit a Full Megawatt Solar PV Design
We've covered a ton of ground in this course, and in this module we focus on putting all together in a way that makes sense and solidifies the learning. This week, you'll be working on your Capstone Project and wrapping up all of your questions and lessons.
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.
LinkedIn Group: Megawatt Design: Best Practices for Design and Installation of PV Systems (Resource)
1 Year of Access to
Course Materials (Text)
Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
Consider Joining as a Founding Member (Resource)
Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)