About this course

Solar is becoming a bigger part of our energy infrastructure. Even if you don’t work for a solar company, it’s useful to understand how solar works and be able to have informed conversations about it.

This course was built for:
  • Folks new to the solar industry
  • Utility customer service staff, especially electric co-ops
  • Policy and code staff within the government
  • Construction or building companies
  • Building inspectors 
  • Real estate agents

What we’ll cover in 101:
  • Solar industry snapshot to understand the growth and trajectory of the industry 
  • Solar system basics; including common electricity terminology, the components that make up a rooftop solar system, types of solar systems, and solar safety
  • Main customer motivations for installing rooftop solar
  • What typically included in a residential rooftop solar proposal
  • An overview of the most common types of net metering policies along with an overview of other relevant financial information 
  • Frequently asked questions

Ready To Sign Up Today? Click Here to Enroll

Course outline

6 modules • 48 assignments • 3:30 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 7 assignments
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.

  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
  • Follow HeatSpring on LinkedIn
  • Introduction to the Course (03:13 minutes)
  • Meet Brit - Instructor for the Course (03:07 minutes)
  • How This Solar Course Came To Be - An Chat with Nicholas Ham from Green Power EMC (09:31 minutes)
  • Course Slides for Reference (.pdf)
Module 1 • 3 assignments
Industry Snapshot

  • Understanding the Solar Industry - A Big Picture Look at Scale, Costs, and Jobs (11:32 minutes)
  • Solar Industry Research Data from SEIA
  • The Solar Jobs Census from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council
Module 2 • 3 assignments
Electricity Basics

  • Electricity Basics Part 1 (11:54 minutes)
  • Electricity Basics Part 2 (11:35 minutes)
  • Electricity Basics Quiz
Module 3 • 5 assignments
Solar PV System Components

  • The Basics of Solar Systems and Solar Panels (10:28 minutes)
  • Components: Balance of System and Roof Racking & Attachments (08:28 minutes)
  • Components: DC Disconnect and Inverter (11:08 minutes)
  • Components: Batteries, AC Disconnects, and Bi-Directional Meters
  • Solar PV System Components Mini Quiz
Module 4 • 4 assignments
Types of PV Systems and Safety

  • Types of Solar Construction and Systems - Part 1 (10:07 minutes)
  • Types of Solar Systems - Part 2 (12:02 minutes)
  • Solar Safety Hazards and Relevant Standards (12:38 minutes)
  • Types of PV Systems and Safety Mini Quiz
Module 5 • 11 assignments
Solar from the Customer's Point of View

  • Customer Motivations for Going Solar (10:45 minutes)
  • EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
  • Homeowner's Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics - Solar Energy Technologies Office
  • Proposals - Part 1: Key Elements (11:12 minutes)
  • Proposals - Part 2: System Size Design Considerations (10:14 minutes)
  • Proposals - Part 3: Types of Metering and Systems Financials (11:27 minutes)
  • Proposals - Part 4: Warranties and Insurance (09:55 minutes)
  • Proposals - Part 5: How Customers Pay for Solar (08:13 minutes)
  • Solar Help Desk- A Resource from Solar United Neighbors
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
  • Solar from the Customer's Point of View Mini Quiz
Module 6 • 10 assignments
Myth Busting Solar and Frequently Asked Questions

Let's go through some of the most frequently asked questions as well as common misconceptions about solar.

  • How much does a solar system cost? (04:47 minutes)
  • Will solar eliminate a customer's electric bill? (02:41 minutes)
  • What ongoing maintenance is required? (05:15 minutes)
  • Should a homeowner replace their roof before installing a rooftop system? (02:46 minutes)
  • Is it beneficial to lower tree lines to reduce shading? (01:14 minutes)
  • What is the energy production impact of a south facing roof versus other directions? (02:48 minutes)
  • Will a customer be able to generate during a distribution outage? (02:02 minutes)
  • What is the utility interconnection policy? (01:27 minutes)
  • Is there a special utility rate for the installation of solar? (02:38 minutes)
  • Myth Busting Solar and Frequently Asked Questions Mini Quiz
Conclusion • 5 assignments
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!

  • What's next? Ways to Keep Learning (06:41 minutes)
  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate


  • Brittany Heller

    View profile

    Brittany Heller has been in the solar industry in a variety of roles since January 2015. She began her solar career in residential sales in New Orleans. She then moved to Denver where she completed a Construction Fellowship with GRID Alternatives Colorado, building a wide portfolio of solar projects all benefiting income-qualified families. In April 2018, she began her... Learn more

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 Teams page to get a group discount.


Based on 8 reviews
students have taken this course

This intro course gives a very comprehensive overview of solar PV that would be extremely useful for someone entering the field with no prior experience. Strongly recommended!

Etienne Bellemare
Sol Ecolution
Kessa A
Lilyanna A

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