This course, like all of our courses, is quite intensive and contains a lot of information and work for the students. Overall most HeatSpring students are professionals in the industry and many of our courses are very advanced. That being said, the Solar PV Bootcamp is our most introductory course and it is intended for people who may have no background in solar or electricity or who are relatively new to the industry. There is a lot of material to work through, but if you study what is presented in the video lectures and the practice exams in the course, you have a high chance of passing the NABCEP PV Associate exam and earning the credential. Over 98% of our students who take the exam pass, so as long as you study the material you should be able to get the credential.
The course is also appropriate for people with experience in various roles in solar PV industry or with an electrical or construction background looking to get into the solar market. There is a ton of information in this course and a lot of resources for diving deeper so its a good way to learn about the many facets of the industry.
The instructor, Sean White, is one of our best rated instructors and is really welcoming to newcomers to the industry. He is available on the discussion board during your year long instructor-led session and he answers every question, typically in great detail and within a business day. The students really like him and the course gets great reviews.
NABCEP has just announced Live Online Proctoring for the PV Associate Exam which means you can take the exam at home on your own computer with a live proctor. This is a new development as of April 2020, previously all exams had to be scheduled at taken at Scantron testing centers located throughout the world.
To take an exam through live online proctoring, you will first need to complete our PV Associate Boot Camp course, then submit your NABCEP application and $150 testing fee in the course. HeatSpring will then submit your application and exam fee to NABCEP to verify you have completed the required course. You will then be sent a scheduling email to schedule your exam via Live Online Proctoring on your own computer.
You get access to all of the course materials as soon as you enroll and your instructor-led session of the course will last for one full year. There are no scheduled lessons or times that you need to be in the course. The instructor, Sean White is available to answer on the course discussion board during your instructor-led session. He answers every question typically in great detail and within a business day.
Typically we recommend spending 5-10 hours per module, so 30-60 hours total depending on your background and how much energy you want to put in to test prep and practice exams etc. Some people complete the whole course in a week, some people take a full year or more to work through the content, so it is completely up to you how fast you want to go through it.
After your 1-year instructor-led session ends you can optionally re-enroll a new instructor-led session (a retake fee applies) or extend your access to the course materials as a self-serve course by joining as a HeatSpring Member.
Yes the NABCEP PV Associate credential is a well recognized credential in the industry and is a valuable indicator that shows you have taken the time for proper training.
The course can be taken at your own pace, so you can complete it as fast as you want. Typically we recommend spending 5-10 hours per module, so 30-60 hours total depending on your background and how much energy you want to put in to test prep and practice exams etc.
Some people complete the whole course in a week, some people take a full year or more to work through the content, so its completely up to you how fast you want to go through it.
The PV Boot Camp course is very successful at getting students to pass the NABCEP Associate Exam, but as any course goes, you get out what you put into it. The course goes along with my book Solar Photovoltaic Basics and the NABCEP Associate JTA. The JTA was put together to teach students design among other things.
I go over different types of design software and tools. We will determine system sizing for interactive (grid-tied) and stand-alone (off-grid) systems. We will learn about the different types of shading analysis tools, how to calculate voltage based on temperature, how to design systems on buildings based on the 2017 NEC (I will be adding 2020 NEC over the coming weeks),
The course is go at your own pace. Many people will finish the course in a few weeks. Even after you finish the course, you will still have access to all of the material and discussion forum for a year after you finish the course. Many students favorite part is how active I am on the discussion forum. I answer questions every day, with few exceptions.
Since you are interested in designing systems in different countries, I do have a lot of experience with that. I am working in Argentina this week and a few weeks ago Angola. I sometimes make analogies in the course about different standards around the world. The US NEC is the most comprehensive set of rules for installing PV systems and energy storage in the world by a long shot.
I also recommend taking the 40-Hour Advanced PV Training course and preparing to take the NABCEP PVIP Certification Exam in the future.
This course uses Sean White's book: "Solar Photovoltaic Basics: A Study Guide for the NABCEP Associate Exam. 2nd Edition" The book is available on multiple online book retailers in multiple formats including eBooks, Kindle and used or rented versions. Here is a link to the book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2FUVcIQ
Another optional book to consider buying if you plan on taking the NABCEP PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Exam is the 2017 NEC Codebook (NABCEP will use the 2017 version on their exams until sometime in 2021). There is no rush to buy the NEC, since it is not required for this course. You can also access the NEC for free on the internet.
Once again, for this course, you only need a copy of Solar Photovoltaic Basics by Sean White.