Rating: 8.8/10 (view ratings)
288 students have taken this course
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.
Project Qualification and Site Selection
Software Tools to Help the Design Process
Optimizing System Design
Fire Code and Structural Connections
NEC Application and Utility Interconnection
PV Installation Safety and Operations & Maintenance
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
Self Report with Certificate: NABCEP Advanced Credit Hours, NABCEP JTA, NABCEP RE Elective, NABCEP NEC, NABCEP PV Associate Renewal.
Approved NABCEP CEU Hours by Credential and Category
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 Mayfield Renewables (formerly Renewable Energy Associates), a consulting firm providing design, support and educational services for electrical contractors, architectural and engineering firms, manufacturers and government agencies. Ryan served as Photovoltaic Systems...[more]
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]
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)
Note on Pacing of the Course (Text)
Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
Join our LinkedIn group & introduce yourself! (Resource)
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.
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)
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
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
Solar Software Tools List - Google Sheet (Resource)
LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Solar Design Software (Resource)
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)
Reading and Resources 10.30.2020 (Download .zip)
Resources: HelioScope Optimization Webinar PDF (Download .pdf)
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: Roofing Code webinar (Resource)
Resources: Week 5 Articles and Papers for reading/review (Download .zip)
LinkedIn Discussion Topic: Fire Code Interpretations (Resource)
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)
Week 6 - Electrical Design for Code and Cost (Video - 01:04:31 hours)
Electrical Design for Code and Costs (Download .pdf)
2014 NEC 690 overview (Video - 32:41 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)
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
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)
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)