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Solar
Solar Thermal

Solar Hot Water Design & Installation

by Bob Ramlow • Last updated 04/2022

4.6/5 (view ratings)
99 students
6 modules
15:07 hours
107 assignments

Course description

Learn how to design and install solar hot water (thermal) systems from one of the pioneers. Bob Ramlow is an ISPQ Emeritus Master Trainer in the solar thermal industry. His book 'Solar Water Heating' is recognized as a comprehensive design and installation manual. This course includes, video lessons, reading assignments, quizzes, discussion, homework problems, and discussion board access to Bob. It's the most comprehensive course available for building professionals looking to add solar thermal to their skill set.

To participate in this course, you'll need to purchase copy of Bob Ramlow's book: "Solar Water Heating: A Comprehensive Guide to Solar Water and Space Heating Systems". The book This book focuses on the financial aspects of solar water or space heating systems, clearly showing that such systems generate significant savings in the long run. You can buy the book online on Amazon or a similar site for about $20, new or used copies are both fine.

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Full 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 get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • Introduction from your instructor Bob Ramlow (07:47 minutes) Preview
  • Purchase a copy of Solar Water Heating: A Comprehensive Guide to Solar Water and Space Heating Systems
  • Download and install RETScreen free design and sales software
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Download the RETScreen Information Document (.pdf)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
  • System maintenance log template (.doc)
  • Owner's Manual Template (.doc)
  • Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) Design Requirements (.pdf)
  • Temperature Versus Resistance Conversion Chart (.pdf)
  • NABCEP Solar Heating Resource Guide (.pdf)
Module 1 - Fundamentals of Solar Hot Water Systems

Welcome to the most comprehensive solar thermal training for professionals! We’re excited to get going. Topics covered this week include: History of the solar thermal industry, Outline of solar thermal markets, Fundamentals of solar thermal, and understanding the solar resource, including site assessment.

  • Watch Lesson 1 - Solar Industry, History and Today (41:12 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 1 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Watch Lesson 2 - Science Fundamentals (34:42 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 2 (.pdf)
  • RESOURCE: Visit the NASA SOHO Website
  • Watch Lesson 3 - Solar Radiation and Site Assessment (43:51 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 3 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Week 1 Quiz
  • RESOURCE: Visit the Solar Pathfinder Website
  • RESOURCE: Visit the Solmetric Website
Module 2 - Solar Hot Water System Types and Configuration Options

Topics covered this week: Low and High Temperature Systems, Passive Direct, Passive Indirect, Active Direct, Active Indirect, Pressurized, Drainback, Flooded, Draindown, Swimming Pool Systems, Flat Plate, Evacuated Tubes, Concentrating Collectors, Unglazed v. Glazed. Everything you ever wanted to know about collectors and systems.

  • Watch Lesson 4.1 - System Types: Direct (31:32 minutes) Preview
  • Watch Lesson 4.2 - System Types: Direct (28:12 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a pdf version of the presentation for Lesson 4 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Watch Lesson 5.1 - System Types: Indirect (54:07 minutes)
  • Watch Lesson 5.2 - System Types: Indirect (47:31 minutes)
  • Watch Lesson 5.3 - System Types: Pool Systems (21:00 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a pdf version of the presentation for Lesson 5 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • READING: Education OG 300 Guidelines Click to download Education OG 300 Guidelines (.pdf)
  • READING: Best Practices Manual for Solar Hot Water Systems
  • Watch Lesson 6.1 - Collector Types (50:25 minutes)
  • Watch Lesson 6.2 - Collector Types (56:45 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a pdf version of the presentation for Lesson 6 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Week 2 Quiz
Module 3 - Mounting the Solar Collectors and Installation Considerations

Topics covered this week: How collectors are mounted, roof considerations, ground mount considerations and system installation considerations. A presentation of photos from real world installations is included with comments from Bob.

  • Watch Lesson 7 - Mounting/Installation (58:32 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a pdf version of the presentation for Lesson 7 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • READING: SolarPro Inter-row Spacing Click to download SolarPro Inter-Row Spacing pdf (.pdf)
  • NABCEP SWH Installer Certification Study Guide (.pdf)
  • Watch the Picture Show of Installations (38:09 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a pdf version of the presentation for the picture show (.pdf)
  • Week 3 Quiz
Module 4 - Necessary System Components and Component Sizing

Topics covered this week: Everything about system components including component descriptions and component sizing formulas.

  • Watch Lesson 8.1 - Components (42:32 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a pdf version of the presentation for Lesson 8.1 (.pdf)
  • Watch Lesson 8.2 - Components (55:02 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a pdf version of the presentation for Lesson 8.2 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • READING: Copper Tube Handbook (56 pages) Download the Copper Tube Handbook (.pdf)
  • READING: Used Antifreeze Disposal Guide (8 pages) Download the Used Antifreeze Disposal Guide (.pdf)
  • Week 4 Quiz
Module 5 - Sizing the Solar Hot Water System and Using Design Software

TOPICS COVERED: How to properly size a solar water heating system using formulas, rules of thumb and using computer modeling systems. A complete tutorial about how to use a popular sizing and analysis program is included. An in-depth discussion of the economics of solar water heating systems is also included.

  • Watch Lesson 9 - Sizing (50:31 minutes) Preview
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 9 (.pdf)
  • Watch Lesson 10.1 - RETScreen (01:04:30 hours)
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 10.1 (.pdf)
  • Watch Lesson 10.2 - RETScreen: Economics (42:34 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 10.2 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Week 5 Quiz
Module 6 - System Startup, Commissioning, and Troubleshooting

This is the big finish, and it's been an intense six weeks of concentrated material. Fortunately, you have up to 120 days to view this material and complete the final assignments. After completing the course you can schedule your NABCEP Solar Thermal Entry Level Exam. TOPICS COVERED: Commissioning and troubleshooting a system, solar space heating systems, and safety issues are also covered.

  • Watch Lesson 11 - Commissioning (37:10 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 11 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Watch Lesson 12 - Space Heating (01:19:27 hours)
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 12 (.pdf)
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • Reading
  • READING: Solar Today Article "Solar Heat Your Home" Click here to visit Solar Today's website to read this article
  • READING: Solar Today Article "Warm Radiant Comfort in the Sand" Download Warm Radiant Comfort in the Sand (.pdf)
  • Watch Lesson 13 - Safety (21:44 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Download a PDF version of the presentation for Lesson 13 (.pdf)
  • Note
  • OSHA Construction Pocket Guide (.pdf)
  • OSHA Duty to Have Fall Protection (.pdf)
  • OSHA Fall Protection Training (.pdf)
  • OSHA Guardrail and Safety Nets (.pdf)
  • OSHA Hand Operated Power Tools (.pdf)
  • OSHA Head Protection (.pdf)
  • OSHA Ladders (.pdf)
  • OSHA Noise (.pdf)
  • OSHA Personal Fall Arrest Systems (.pdf)
  • OSHA Power Tools (.pdf)
  • OSHA Protective Equipment (.pdf)
  • OSHA Training (.pdf)
  • OSHA Welding (.pdf)
  • OSHA Woodworking Tools (.pdf)
  • RESOURCE: Section 1929 of the OSHA standards contains most of the rules that affect collector mounting and roof work. Visit the Section 1929 on OSHA's website
  • Week 6 Quiz
Conclusion - Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate

Instructor

Bob Ramlow

Bob is an ISPQ Emeritus Master Trainer with more than 30 years experience designing and installing solar systems and has been a driving force in the growth of solar thermal use. Bob is co-owner of Artha Sustainable Living Center LLC and the author of 'Solar Water Heating', A Comprehensive Guide to Solar Water and Space Heating Systems, the first book of it's kind... Learn more

Ratings

4.6
12 reviews

99 students have taken this course

by omar lolandes, Altenergy Incorporated 01/14/2019

I really enjoy Mr. Marlow's presentation and his hands on approach to teaching. This is a course based on real experience and you can feel that from beginning to end

by Tai Nguyen, C/O, ICC General contractor LLC 01/10/2019

This course is easy to understand

by Jon Renas, Service Engineer, Advance Solar & Energy Solutions 06/27/2017

This course added a lot to my knowledge base. Very helpful!

by ibrahim karagoghly, engineer, collectsun 10/19/2015

it was interesting and helpful course

by Rick Pourchot, Project Coordinator, Solarflair Energy Inc. 10/06/2015

This course was very informative. The information provided was really thorough and exceeded that needed for the NABCEP Solar Heating Entry Level Exam.

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$795

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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 6 module course is delivered entirely online. This course is self-paced and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. During your year of access the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. 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 Groups page to get a group discount.

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