About this course

New policy updates added in November 2023.

Welcome to solar! Enroll in this training to learn about solar technology, the business, finance, technical and engineering sides of solar, and the emerging renewable energy market.

Amory Lovins, founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, has called Scott Sklar, "a walking encyclopedia of renewable energy knowledge". This course will help you see the big picture for renewable energy, but also teaches the technical basics.

Ready To Sign Up Today? Click Here to Enroll

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the solar market in the United States
  • Learn how solar technology works
  • Learn how solar power systems are created, financed, developed, and maintained over their 20- to 30-year lifetime
  • Learn the nuances of the different solar markets: behind-the-meter applications including residential, commercial, and industrial projects to multi-megawatt utility-scale projects
  • Learn about the emerging market for energy storage technology and microgrids and how these innovations are changing the energy landscape

Course outline

6 modules • 46 assignments • 7:23 hours of video lectures

Module 1 • 4 assignments
RENEWABLE ENERGY OVERVIEW PART I - INTRODUCTION

  • Renewable Energy Overview Part I - Introduction (01:10:41 hours)
  • Powerpoint Slides - Introduction to Renewable Energy Technology and Markets (.pdf)
  • November 2023 Update: Impact of the Infrastructure Bill & Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) (34:37 minutes)
  • Totally optional: iPhone App for taking this class (50 seconds)
Module 2 • 7 assignments
RENEWABLE ENERGY OVERVIEW PART II - ENERGY SUBSIDIES: GOVERNMENT & FINANCE & FINANCE

  • Renewable Energy Overview Part II - Government & Finance (32:55 minutes)
  • Presentation Slides - Part II (.pdf)
  • Interstate Renewable Enery Council (IREC)
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
  • Recent Renewable Energy Publications from Lawrences Berkeley Laboratory's Electricity Markets & Policy Group
  • New Energy Outlook - Bloomberg New Energy Finance
  • Solar Career Pathways Chart (.jpg)
Module 3 • 2 assignments
RENEWABLE ENERGY OVERVIEW PART III - TECHNOLOGIES OVERVIEW

  • Renewable Energy Overview Part III - Technology Overview (45:47 minutes)
  • Presentation Slides - Part III (.pdf)
Module 4 • 17 assignments
INTRODUCTION TO SOLAR ENGINEERING

Topics for this week include: An introduction to solar technology, photovoltaics, hybrid systems, net metering, and energy storage.

  • Lecture 1 - Photovoltaic Systems Overview (41:40 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (.pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - Grid Intertied and On-Site Generation: The Big and Small Picture (49:29 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (.pdf)
  • Florida Solar Energy Center
  • North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
  • Solar Pathfinder
  • Solmetric
  • NREL's PVWatts Calculator
  • Homer Energy
  • HelioScope
  • Amerian Solar Energy Society (ASES)
  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
  • "Interconnection of Distributed Generation to Utility Systems" - Regulatory Assistance Project
  • Detailed Summary Maps - DSIRE
  • Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST) - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • System Advisor Model - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Module 5 • 5 assignments
PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM ISSUES AND INTRODUCTION TO SOLAR FINANCE

Topics for this week include: Power purchase agreements (PPAs), leasing, lending, the state of the art, environmental drivers, the Clean Air Act, climate change, and funds.

  • Lecture 1 - Photovoltaic System Issues (41:13 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (.pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - PV Financing (36:25 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (.pdf)
  • PV*SOL - The Solar Design Company
Module 6 • 9 assignments
STORAGE, INTERCONNECTION AND MICROGRIDS

Topics for this week include: Codes and standards (UL, NABCEP, SRCC), local permitting studies, house value studies, remote diagnostics, quick deploy systems, modular and inter-operable systems, aesthetics, and blending with high-value energy efficiency and other renewables.

  • Lecture 1 - Integration Issues: Microgrids and Community Grids (01:01:51 hours)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (.pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - Sklar's Top 10 PV Points (27:46 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (.pdf)
  • Federal Smart Grid Task Force
  • "Importance of a Distribution Management System (DMS) in Grid Modernization" - Microgrid Knowledge (Oct. 2015)
  • Renewable Energy Data Books (NREL)
  • "Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis" - Lazard
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Interactive Map of Cooperative Solar

Author

  • Scott Sklar

    President, The Stella Group
    View profile

    Scott Sklar runs a clean energy technology optimization and strategic policy firm, The Stella Group, Ltd, which he founded in 1995 and came on full time to lead in 1999. The firm facilitates clean distributed energy projects for commercial, industrial, and military applications. The firm specializes in blending technologies and financing projects, as well as assisting... Learn more

Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?
This is a free course. Enroll today and get access to all of the materials instantly. The lecture video and other materials are available any time.
How long do I have access to the materials?
For free courses there is no guarantee for how long the course materials will be available.
Is there a certificate of completion?
Certificates of completion are only provided to HeatSpring Membership subscribers. This course has not been approved by any credentialing organizations (NABCEP, AIA, USGBC etc) for Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). This course is for self education purposes only and completion does not indicate a level of professional expertise or credential.
Can I register multiple people?
Yes, this is a free course so you can share this page with other people from your team.

Reviews

4.6
Based on 761 reviews
5,159
students have taken this course
11/29/2023

The course is very informative and instructional, gives a lot of information in a short time. The course helps the student understandding the industry much better after completing the course.

Matthew Stroh
Construction Department Chair, Austin Career Institute
10/26/2023

yes

Chandra Prakash Jain
10/17/2023

This is amazing

Dayne Goodheart

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