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Solar Power 101 - Self Study


Author: Scott Sklar

Subjects: Solar: Energy Finance, Solar: Design and Installation

Student Rating

9.1 out of 10 (view ratings)
2,591 students have taken this course


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.

Learning Objectives

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Flexible Online Training for Industry Professionals

This is a self-study, self-paced online course. You can begin instantly upon enrollment and complete the course materials 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 enrollment. 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.

Certificates of Completion Available for Members Only

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.

Scott Sklar is a walking encyclopedia of American renewable energy.

- Amory Lovins, Co-Founder, Rocky Mountain Institute

Overall, Solar Power 101 is a great introduction to those interested in gaining knowledge or pursuing a career/business in renewable energy, specifically solar. I gained a lot of insights and enjoyed it.

- Alex Marron, Motorola

Very enjoyable course that helped me bring together a lot of information picked up over many years in different industries and brought that info up to date with the latest developments in solar.

- John Cutler, New Grid Networks

A terrific, time valued "deep dive" into the world and marketplace of solar PV. If you put the time in, you will find yourself in a different place at the end. Wiser actually. Glad I did it. I know I'll use the rich collection of tools and links. Treasure.

- Brian Goldojarb

+ Read more student ratings and reviews for this course


Scott Sklar

President, The Stella Group

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...[more]

Course Outline

Introduction to Solar and Renewable Energy and Regulatory Considerations

Topics for this week include: basic information on solar technology, resources, and studies on renewable energy and solar energy, an overview of energy markets, federal, state, and local government energy policies and programs.

  • Lecture 1 - Renewable Energy Introduction and Context (Video - 54:37 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (Download .pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - "State-Federal-Local Jurisdictional Issues in the Energy and Environmental Arenas" (Video - 40:06 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (Download .pdf)
  • Interstate Renewable Enery Council (IREC) (Resource)
  • Recent Renewable Energy Publications from Lawrences Berkeley Laboratory's Electricity Markets & Policy Group (Resource)
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) (Resource)
  • Energy Research - National Conference of State Legislatures (Resource)
  • New Energy Outlook - Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Resource)
  • "Jobs in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency" - Environmental and Energy Study Institute (Resource)
  • Solar Career Pathways Chart (Download .jpg)
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 (Video - 41:40 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (Download .pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - Grid Intertied and On-Site Generation: The Big and Small Picture (Video - 49:29 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (Download .pdf)
  • Florida Solar Energy Center (Resource)
  • North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (Resource)
  • North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) (Resource)
  • Solar Pathfinder (Resource)
  • Solmetric (Resource)
  • NREL's PVWatts Calculator (Resource)
  • Homer Energy (Resource)
  • HelioScope (Resource)
  • Polysun (Resource)
  • Amerian Solar Energy Society (ASES) (Resource)
  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) (Resource)
  • "Small Generator Interconnection Agreements and Procedures" - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) (Resource)
  • "Interconnection of Distributed Generation to Utility Systems" - Regulatory Assistance Project (Resource)
  • Detailed Summary Maps - DSIRE (Resource)
  • Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST) - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) (Resource)
  • System Advisor Model - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) (Resource)
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 (Video - 41:13 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (Download .pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - PV Financing (Video - 36:25 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (Download .pdf)
  • PV*SOL - The Solar Design Company (Resource)
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 (Video - 01:01:51 hours)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 1 (Download .pdf)
  • Lecture 2 - Sklar's Top 10 PV Points (Video - 27:46 minutes)
  • Presentation slides for Lecture 2 (Download .pdf)
  • Federal Smart Grid Task Force (Resource)
  • "Importance of a Distribution Management System (DMS) in Grid Modernization" - Microgrid Knowledge (Oct. 2015) (Resource)
  • Renewable Energy Data Books (NREL) (Resource)
  • "Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis" - Lazard (Resource)
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Interactive Map of Cooperative Solar (Resource)

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