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Megawatt Design


30-Hour NABCEP Advanced PV Training

Instructor: Randy Batchelor

Subjects: Solar: Design and Installation, Solar: NABCEP, Solar: Megawatt Design, Solar: Inspection, O&M, Solar: Solar Utility Interconnection

Length: 10 weeks

Student Rating

8.9 out of 10 (view ratings)
332 students have taken this course

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

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Learn large-scale solar design and how to get your projects permitted and installed faster and with a better return on investment. This training covers many types of large solar PV systems, in the range of 500 kW to 5 MW, with an emphasis on commercial rooftop systems.

Industry professionals Ryan Mayfield and Randy Batchelor, P.E. have developed this course to give experienced solar professionals a competitive advantage on commercial solar projects. This course is intended for individuals with prior experience or education in PV system design.

Through the coursework you will be led through the design and engineering of a megawatt-scale PV system. The course materials are continually 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. They are also both available via phone and email and happy to answer any questions you have about the course or to support with your design related questions.

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.

In the course we discuss and use software tools like Helioscope (a free version is provided), PVSyst, AutoCAD, and others.

Learning Objectives

Ready To Sign Up Today? Click Here to Enroll

Preview the Course Material

Check out a free preview of the course by clicking the button below. This is a live assignment from the course and will give you a good sense for what the course will be like.

Free Preview - MW Course Introduction - Ryan
Updated to Include Changes to the 2017 NEC

We have updated this course with the latest information relevant to the 2017 NEC as it relates to AFCI and rapid shutdown as well as grounding and bonding.

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 an extended free trial to Helioscope.

Use Software to Layout and Optimize System Designs

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.

Flexible Online Training for Industry Professionals

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. After the instructor-led session ends, you'll continue to have access to all of the course materials for a full year and can complete the course 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 the session end date. 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.

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 LinkedIn integration.

Earn Continuing Education Credits

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

Approved NABCEP CEU Hours by Credential and Category

NABCEP Credential Advanced Hours for Exam Recertification CEU Hours NEC JTA RE Elective Building or Fire Code
PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Certification 30 30 6 18 6 0
PV Associate (PVA) Credential 0 12 0 0 0 0
PV Design Specialist (PVDS) Certification 30 30 6 18 6 0
PV Installer Specialist (PVIS) Certification 30 30 6 18 6 0
PV Technical Sales (PVTS) Certification 30 18 0 18 6 0
PV Commissioning & Maintenance Specialist (PVCMS) Certification 24 30 6 18 6 0

+ Learn more about NABCEP Credentials

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.

- Luganus Daniel, Jamaica Public Service Company

+ Read more student ratings and reviews for this course


Randy Batchelor

Principal and Owner, Sol Rebel

Randy Batchelor is a licensed Electrical Engineer in California and is a NABCEP Certified PV Professional. He has experience with 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 and has been involved in the design and construction of hundreds of PV systems,...[more]

Free Preview - MW Course Introduction - Ryan

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 LinkedIn group provided in the assignments 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. The instructor-led 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 session ends. Please review the orientation materials join the LinkedIn group and introduce yourself.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (Video - 01:25 minutes) Preview
  • MW Course Introduction - Ryan (Video - 04:59 minutes) Preview
  • MW Course Introduction - Randy (Video - 05:50 minutes) Preview
  • Welcome to Megawatt Design! (Download .pdf)
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Note on Pacing of the Course (Text)
  • Join our LinkedIn group & introduce yourself! (Resource)
Week 1 - Project Lifecycle, Site Assessment and Investigation

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.

  • Week 1: Intro Video (Video - 01:48 minutes)
  • Project Design Lifecycle (Video - 24:27 minutes) Preview
  • Project Design Lifecycle PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Project Design Lifecycle Table PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Site Assessment and Investigation (Download .pdf)
  • Site Assessment and Investigation (Video - 39:22 minutes) Preview
  • Successful Rooftop Photovoltaics (Download .pdf)
  • Optimizing for Speed (Download .pdf)
  • From kW to MW (Download .pdf)
  • Three Phase Power Calculations (Download .pdf)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Site Assessment & Investigation (Resource)
  • Rooftop Site Assessment Checklist (Download .pdf)
Week 2 - Equipment Selection

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 • Central/string/micro • 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 (Video - 03:53 minutes)
  • Week 2: Module Selection (Video - 20:52 minutes) Preview
  • Week 2: Module Selection PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Week 2: Racking and Power Electronics (Video - 37:58 minutes)
  • Week 2: Racking and Power Electronics PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Week 2 - Electrical Equipment Selection (Video - 23:42 minutes)
  • Week 2: AC Electrical Gear PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Data Acquisition System Equipment Selection (Video - 20:17 minutes)
  • Week 2: DAS PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Reading and Resources (Download .zip)
  • Cooper Pad Mount Transformer Specifications (Download .pdf)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Equipment Selection (Resource)
Week 3 - 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 (Video - 03:32 minutes)
  • Week 3 Lesson - Software Tools (Video - 24:28 minutes)
  • Week 3 Lesson - Software Tools (Download .pdf)
  • Reading and Resources (Download .zip)
  • Helioscope Training Videos (Resource)
  • Helioscope Rooftop Layout Exercise (Download .pdf)
  • Helioscope Rooftop Layout Report Upload (Submit File)
  • Solar Software Tools List - Google Sheet (Resource)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Solar Design Software (Resource)
Week 4 - 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 and how to improve the performance of the system in a way that is meaningful to the project owner. 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

  • Week 4 Introduction (Video - 02:50 minutes)
  • Week 4 - Optimizing System Design (Video - 44:38 minutes)
  • System Optimization (Download .pdf)
  • Reading and Resources (Download .zip)
  • Resources: HelioScope Optimization Webinar PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Week 3 Homework Solution (Download .pdf)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Optimal Inverter Loading (Resource)
  • Inverter Loading Ratio Analysis (Download .pdf)
Week 5 - Fire Code and Structural Considerations

Large commercial rooftop systems require a deep understanding of fire codes and techniques for coordinating with fire departments, inspectors and owners. 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 (Video - 02:34 minutes)
  • Week 5 lesson - Fire Code PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Fire Code (Video - 27:16 minutes)
  • Week 5 Lesson - Structural (Download .pdf)
  • Structural Code and Considerations (Video - 47:25 minutes)
  • UL2703 and 1703 presentation (Video - 48:26 minutes)
  • Resources: UL1703/2703 webinar PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Resources: Week 5 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
  • Resources: CA Fire Code (Resource)
  • Update Helioscope Design (Download .pdf)
  • Upload Updated Helioscope Design (Submit File)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Fire Code Interpretations (Resource)
  • Week 4 Solution (Download .pdf)
Week 6 - NEC & eBOS Considerations

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 portions of the code that really drive cost in MW scale projects and some nuanced details to help you make fewer mistakes and get your jobs permitted faster. We'll also discuss how system architecture and electrical balance of systems (eBOS) affects system cost.

  • Week 6 Introduction (Video - 03:39 minutes)
  • Grounding and Bonding General NEC Requirements (Video - 23:16 minutes) Preview
  • Grounding and Bonding Article 690 2017 (Video - 22:29 minutes)
  • Read: PDF version of Grounding and Bonding General Requirements (Download .pdf)
  • Read: PDF version of Grounding and Bonding 2017 NEC (Download .pdf)
  • Resources: Week 6 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
  • Conductor sizing lesson (Video - 01:19:48 hours)
  • Conductor Sizing Lesson - PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Conductor Sizing Assignment (Download .pdf)
  • Optimal Conductor Sizing Lesson (Video - 27:48 minutes)
  • Optimal Conductor Sizing (Download .pdf)
  • Conductor Sizing Quiz (Quiz)
  • Reducing Conductor Lengths - Location, Leapfrog, Y Connectors (Download .pdf)
  • Reducing Conductor Lengths - Location, Leapfrog, Y Connectors (Video - 19:48 minutes)
  • Locating Inverters (Download .pdf)
  • Locating Inverters (Video - 33:32 minutes)
  • Week 5 Helioscope HW Solution (Download .pdf)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Locating Electrical Equipment (Resource)
Week 7 - 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 (Video - 02:00 minutes)
  • Week 7 Lesson: Utility Interconnections (Video - 23:07 minutes)
  • Resource: Dedicated new service example (Download .pdf)
  • Resources: Week 7 Lesson PDF (Download .pdf)
  • Week 7 Interconnection and Code (Video - 18:05 minutes)
  • Resources: Week 7 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
  • Week 7 Helioscope SLD Exercise & Upload (Submit File)
  • Link to Week 6 Conductor Sizing Quiz Solutions - Google sheet (Resource)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Supply side connections (Resource)
Week 8 - Commissioning & Electrical Testing

Learn the importance of commission, how to develop a detailed commissioning plan including: voltage and current testing, insulation resistance testing, IV curve tracing.

  • Week 8 Introduction (Video - 01:38 minutes)
  • Week 8 Lesson Part 1 (Video - 24:38 minutes)
  • Week 8 Lesson Part 2 (Video - 25:00 minutes)
  • Week 8 Lesson - Arc Flash (Video - 17:57 minutes)
  • Resources: Week 8 Lesson PDF (Download .pdf)
  • O&M tools intro (Video - 02:16 minutes)
  • O&M tests - setup (Video - 05:02 minutes)
  • IRT testing (Video - 05:51 minutes)
  • IV curve tracing (Video - 04:31 minutes)
  • Resources: Week 8 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
  • Week 7 SLD Solution (Download .pdf)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Commissioning & Electrical Testing (Resource)
Week 9 - 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 (Video - 02:02 minutes)
  • Permitting and Plans (Video - 46:17 minutes)
  • Resources: Week 9 Lesson PDF - Permitting and Plans (Download .pdf)
  • Read: SP2.5 Plan Sets (Download .pdf)
  • Read: SP3.4 CAD Models (Download .pdf)
  • Drawing Sets overview (Video - 19:03 minutes)
  • Sample Plan Set - Carport (Download .pdf)
  • Sample Plan Set - Ground Mount (Download .pdf)
  • Sample Rooftop Plan Set (Download .pdf)
  • Drawing Sheet List and Notes (Download .pdf)
  • LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Permitting & Plans (Resource)
Week 10 - Ground Mount Design

This week we will use some of what we have learned thorughout the course to develop a basic ground mount design.

  • Ground Mount Design (Download .pdf)
  • LinkedIn Group Discussion: Ground Mount Design (Resource)
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 and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to the course materials for 12 months after the session ends. Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership.

  • LinkedIn Group Discussion: Course Wrap-up (Resource)
  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials (Text)
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member (Resource)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)
Free Preview - MW Course Introduction - Ryan

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