About this course

Pass your NABCEP exam the first time - Guaranteed We specialize in preparing students for the NABCEP PV Associate (PVA) exam and our 92% student success rate proves how valuable this course is in helping you pass on your first try. In fact, we guarantee that you'll pass on the first try and if you don't we will refund your exam fee or let you take the exam again at no charge.

Electricians, contractors, or career-changers: learn the fundamentals of solar PV systems and get expert help prepping for and passing the NABCEP Photovoltaic (PV) Associate Exam. You'll have access to an expert instructor, lecture videos, useful resources and practice quizzes to help you pass the NABCEP PV Associate exam and earn this well recognized industry credential.
The instructor for this course, Sean White, is one of HeatSpring's most popular and highest rated instructors. He is available to answer questions on the discussion board while you work through the course materials. He is extremely responsive and answers questions in great detail. He is an IREC Master Trainer, was named 2014 Clean Energy Trainer of the Year, travels around the world to teach seminars on solar technology, served on the NABCEP technical committee, and recently published two more books on solar design and installation.
HeatSpring is a NABCEP Registered Provider, a NABCEP PV Associate Exam provider and the official NABCEP PV Associate training partner of the NABCEP 2023 CE Conference.
When you finish this course, you will be eligible to sit for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. The exam can now be taken at home via Live Online Proctoring on your own computer or at any of the 1,350 Scantron testing centers in the world. Learn more about NABCEP Exams.
Not Included - Exam Fee
The NABCEP PV Associate Exam fee is a separate fee charged by NABCEP when scheduling your exam after you have completed the course. After completing the course and earning a certificate of completion, students can optionally submit a NABCEP application and $150 exam fee in the last module of the course. We guarantee that you will pass the exam on your first try, if you don't we will refund the $150 exam fee or let you take the exam again at no charge.
To earn 18 Advanced NABCEP credits, you will need to complete the course AND pass the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. 
This only applies you are planning to sit for the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification exam or other NABCEP PV Certification exams, AND you need the 18 hours of Advanced PV Training credit for this course. If that is the case then you must pass the PV Associate Exam in order for the 18 hours to be valid with NABCEP.
To get the most out of this course, you should also buy a copy of Sean White's book: Solar Photovoltaic Basics: A Study Guide for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. The book covers the basics of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and focuses on preparation for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. You can buy the book online for about $25, we provide a link in the course for some options.
Get your NABCEP credential the easy way.
The sooner you get your NABCEP credential, the sooner you are on your way to a lucrative career. We can help you pass the NABCEP PV Associate and get you on your way to a NABCEP PV Certification. Not to mention delivering to you the important professional grade knowledge you need to be successful in the industry.

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Course outline

6 modules • 127 assignments • 18:01 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 18 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.

  • What to Expect: NABCEP PV Associate Exam Prep (04:12 minutes) Preview
  • PVA Practice Exams in Module 6 and you can skip around in this class if you want. You have HeatSpring on-demand Freedom!
  • Purchase the book for this course: "Solar Photovoltaic Basics: A Study Guide for the NABCEP Associate Exam 2nd Edition"
  • NABCEP PV Associate Candidate Eligibility Form (.pdf)
  • Important Note on 18 Advanced NABCEP Credits
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Connect with your instructor Sean on LinkedIn
  • Audio versions of lectures and much more are located in: Optional Materials
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
  • Discussion Board Request from Sean and Notes on Posting Discussion Board Questions
  • 2017 NEC Free Download
  • Solar Market Report Summary (.pdf)
  • Go-At-Your-Own-Pace
  • Live Online Proctoring (LOP) for All NABCEP Exams!
  • PV Boot Camp Presentation Slides
  • To view your test results
  • Books and resources
  • How to guarantee passing the NABCEP PVA
Module 1 • 14 assignments
History of Solar, Markets and Applications for Solar PV, and Safety Basics

You'll learn about the beginnings of solar PV technology, current markets and applications for the technology, and the basic safety considerations and requirements for solar PV installers. Topics include: different types of PV systems, OSHA, National Electrical Code (NEC), arc flashes, overcurrent protection devices, fall protection, and lockout-tagout (LOTO).

  • Review: NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate Exam Job Task Analysis (JTA)
  • Read Chapter 1 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - PV Markets and Applications
  • History of Solar PV (13:56 minutes) Preview
  • PV Markets and Applications Part 1 (14:46 minutes) Preview
  • PV Markets and Applications Part 2 (19:03 minutes)
  • PV Markets and Applications Part 3 (20:00 minutes)
  • AC-Coupling, DC-Coupling and Inverter Types, including Multimode Inverter, Stand-Alone Inverter and Interactive Inverter
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #1
  • PV Price Per Watt
  • Read Chapter 2 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - Safety Basics
  • Safety Basics Part 1 (24:02 minutes)
  • Module 1 Quiz
  • Safety Basics Part 2 (24:38 minutes)
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #2
Module 2 • 14 assignments
Electricity Basics + Solar Energy Fundamentals

This module covers concepts, definitions, terminology, and formulas related to electricity. It also lays out the science, data, and principles you must understand to grasp how solar energy is collected. Topics include: Ohm's Law, power, energy, voltage, current, batteries, multimeters, measurement, types of DC connections, transmission, insolation data, solar time, sun paths, shading, and solar radiation.

  • Read Chapter 3 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - Electricity Basics
  • Electricity Basics Video 1 (29:46 minutes)
  • Electricity Basics Video 2 (21:20 minutes)
  • PV Math Quiz (20 questions)
  • PV Math Quiz (20 question) With answer and explanations (.pdf)
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #1
  • Read Chapter 4 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - Solar Energy Fundamentals
  • Solar Energy Fundamentals Video 1 (27:29 minutes)
  • Solar Energy Fundamentals Video 2 (29:43 minutes)
  • Solar Energy Fundamentals Video 3 (21:42 minutes)
  • Solar Energy Fundamentals Video 4 (28:45 minutes) Preview
  • Solar Energy Fundamentals Video 5 (30:49 minutes)
  • Solar Energy Fundamentals Quiz
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #2
Module 3 • 17 assignments
PV Module Fundamentals and System Components

This module covers how solar photovoltaic (PV) technology works, the materials used to make PV modules, module efficiency, important formulas, temperature and voltage considerations, and how to test a PV system. It also provides definitions for the primary components that comprise a solar PV system.

  • Read Chapter 5 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - PV Module Fundamentals
  • PV Module Fundamentals - Part 1 (30:08 minutes)
  • PV Module Fundamentals - Part 2 (23:57 minutes)
  • PV Module Fundamentals - Part 3 (23:48 minutes)
  • PV Module Fundamentals - Part 4 (29:18 minutes) Preview
  • PV UL Listing 1703 transitioned to UL 61730 (.pdf)
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #1
  • Read Chapter 6 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - System Components
  • System Components - Part 1 (18:55 minutes)
  • System Components - Part 2 (18:30 minutes)
  • System Components - Part 3 (15:11 minutes)
  • System Components - Part 4 (27:36 minutes)
  • System Components - Part 5 (18:09 minutes)
  • System Components - Part 6 (24:53 minutes)
  • Thin Film PV Manufacturing YouTube Video
  • Module 3 Quiz PV Module Fundamentals and System Components
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #2
Module 4 • 20 assignments
PV System Sizing and Electrical Design

This module covers the factors to consider when sizing a grid-tied or off-grid system, system losses, tilt, factors that increase or decrease PV system output, single-line diagrams, ampacity, Ohm's Law, voltage drop, charge controllers, AC- and DC-coupled battery systems, battery charging stages, overcurrent protection devices, and determining voltage ranges.

  • Read Chapter 7 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - PV System Sizing Principles
  • PV System Sizing - Part 1 (30:37 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - Part 2 (15:58 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - Part 3 (21:44 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - Part 4 (16:39 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - Part 5 (18:06 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - PVWatts Part 1 (14:54 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - PVWatts Part 2 (21:28 minutes)
  • PV System Sizing - PV Watts Part 3 (25:49 minutes)
  • System Sizing (Student Request) (23:34 minutes)
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #1
  • Read Chapter 8 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - PV System Electrical Design
  • PV System Electrical Design Part 1 (17:25 minutes)
  • PV System Electrical Design Part 2 (20:27 minutes)
  • PV System Electrical Design Part 3 (13:03 minutes)
  • PV System Electrical Design Part 4 (20:24 minutes)
  • PV System Electrical Design Part 5 (17:31 minutes)
  • IV Curves with Bill Brooks (11:02 minutes) Preview
  • Module 4 Quiz-System Sizing
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #2
Module 5 • 19 assignments
PV System Mechanical Design, Performance Analysis, Maintenance and Troubleshooting

In this module, you will study PV System Mechanical Design, which goes along with Chapter 9 in Solar Photovoltaic Basics. Also included in this module is Performance Analysis, Maintenance and Troubleshooting which goes along with Chapter 10 in Solar Photovoltaic Basics, which means you are getting close to the end!

  • Read Chapter 9 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - PV System Mechanical Design
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 1 (17:04 minutes) Preview
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 2 (19:34 minutes)
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 3 (20:43 minutes)
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 4 (20:45 minutes)
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 5 (20:44 minutes)
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 6 (19:03 minutes)
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 7 (19:20 minutes)
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 8 (18:09 minutes)
  • PV System Mechanical Design - Part 9 (19:30 minutes)
  • Performance Analysis, Maintenance and Troubleshooting Part 1 (24:32 minutes)
  • Performance Analysis, Maintenance and Troubleshooting Part 2 (30:00 minutes)
  • Read Chapter 10 in "Solar Photovoltaic Basics" - Performance Analysis, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #1
  • Module 5 Quiz
  • Optional Discussion Board Post #2
  • Resource: SolSmart Permitting
  • Backfeeding the grid with a Tesla Model S (02:01 minutes)
  • Building Integrated Photovoltaics and Tesla Solarglass (aka Tesla Solar Roof) with Bill Brooks (05:37 minutes)
Module 6 • 9 assignments
Practice Exams

In this module, you'll take practice exams to see how well you've mastered the material presented during the course. These exams can be repeated here as many times as you want and are highly recommended to be used to prepare for the NABCEP PVA exam!

  • 4, 3, 2, 1.... Update: PVA practice exam organization has changed!
  • NABCEP Associate Practice Exam 4 - 65 Questions
  • NABCEP Associate Practice Exam 4 - 65 Questions With Answer and Detailed Explanations (.pdf)
  • NABCEP Associate Practice Exam 3 - 70 Questions
  • NABCEP Associate Practice Exam 3 - 70 Questions With Answer and Detailed Explanations (.pdf)
  • NABCEP Associate Practice Exam 2 - 70 Questions
  • NABCEP Associate Practice Exam 2 - 70 Questions With Answer and Detailed Explanations (.pdf)
  • NABCEP Associate Practice Exam 1 - 70 Questions
  • NABCEP Associate Practice Exam 1 - 70 Questions With Answer and Detailed Explanations (.pdf)
Conclusion • 16 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!

  • NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate Exam Candidate Information Form (.pdf)
  • Submit Your NABCEP PV Associate Application and Schedule Your Exam
  • Lots of additional optional videos and audio recordings
  • Important Reminder on 18 Advanced NABCEP Credits
  • List of Meazure Learning Test Site Cities
  • NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate Exam Learning Objectives
  • Passing score on a NABCEP Associate Examination
  • PVA exam will be updated someday
  • Introducing Bill Brooks! (14:40 minutes)
  • Entry Level PV Jobs in California-For employers and employees
  • Stay in touch and more learning materials
  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate
  • New 5/14/2024 take NABCEP PV Installation Professional (PVIP) exam without job experience!

Continuing Education Units

Approved for the following CEUs

  • 18 NABCEP PV Training Hours (passing score on the PV Associate exam required)

Approved NABCEP CEU Hours

NABCEP Credential Advanced Hours for Exam Recertification CEU Hours NEC JTA RE Elective Building or Fire Code
18 0 0 0 0 0

NABCEP Registered Provider

This course fulfills the training requirements to sit for the NABCEP PV Associate exam and HeatSpring is a NABCEP Registered PV Associate Provider.

Instructor

  • Sean White

    2014 IREC Trainer of the Year, HeatSpring / White House Energy Inc. / Sean White Solar / Norcal Solar
    View profile

    Sean White was the 2014 Interstate Renewable Energy Council Trainer of the Year. He is an IREC Certified Solar PV Master Trainer and has authored several books on solar. He contributed to the development of the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Job Task Analysis and has been a member of the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Technical Committee. Sean is a... 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 this course appropriate for total beginners, a complete newbie to solar pv?
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 97% 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.

How do I take the NABCEP PV Associate Exam?
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.

How long does one have to complete the course? Should I expect homework due at deadlines or required class attendance that I will need to incorporate into my schedule?
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.

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.
I'm a senior in bachelor's Electrical Engineeeing and want to work in the solar and storage industry. Learning this material and being a PV Associate will surely help me find jobs after graduation in this sector. As for my question, is this something I can complete over say a 4 week period?
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.

I am comparing a few courses I found on the NABCEP site and hope to make a decision in the next few days. What I hope to gain is the confident ability to be "given” a building/complex in any area of the world and be able to design an efficient system for that particular location/purpose. Do you feel your course is suited to this?
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.

Thanks,
Sean

Can I register multiple people?
Yes please visit our HeatSpring for Groups page to get a group discount.
Are there any supplemental texts I will need to purchase?
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.

How does the 'Guaranteed Pass' work?
If you complete this course and don't pass the NABCEP PV Associate Exam on your first try, HeatSpring will pay your re-take fee for your next ten attempts. Our students have a 97% pass rate on the exam, so we think you're going to pass!

Reviews

4.7
Based on 708 reviews
3,275
students have taken this course
01/27/2023

This training has taught a lot on the basics and concepts of the solar PV and battery energy storage systems which I can be used in my daily job as a solar design engineer

Timothy Cruz
Senior Electrical Engineer, Q Meccanica, Inc.
05/15/2024

If you want to get into the solar career world, Sean is the guy to help you do that and his classes on heatspring are amazing.

Alistair Johnson
03/25/2024

This class is amazing and really gives you the full experience of the NABCEP and how to get your certification. If you are looking to get NABCEP certified, this is definitely a class you should take! The Heatsprings Team is extremely professional from top to bottom!

Adam Peck

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