Solar PV Design, Code, Economics, Sales, and Site Visits - Self Study


Authors: Sean White, Chris Williams, Ryan Mayfield

Subjects: Solar: Design and Installation

Student Rating

8.9 out of 10 (view ratings)
6,708 students have taken this course


This free course will teach you the basics of solar PV. The course is intended for newcomers to the solar industry and can be taken any time. Participants can expect to learn:

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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.


Sean White

2014 IREC Trainer of the Year

Sean White was the 2014 Interstate Renewable Energy Council Trainer of the Year. He is an ISPQ 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...[more]

Chris Williams


Chris Williams is from Faze1. Faze1 helps HVAC and solar companies laser focus their marketing by using big data to target homeowners based on their heating and solar characteristics. Go to Faze1 ( to put their data to work for you for free with free custom analysis of your service territory. Chris has worked with HeatSpring, Nexamp, Ground Energy...[more]

Ryan Mayfield

Founder & CEO, Mayfield Renewables

Ryan Mayfield has been working in the renewable energy field since 1999 and is the President of Mayfield Renewables (formerly Renewable Energy Associates), a consulting firm providing design, support and educational services for electrical contractors, architectural and engineering firms, manufacturers and government agencies. Ryan served as Photovoltaic Systems...[more]

Course Outline

Introduction to Solar PV Markets

Let's get started! In this opening module you'll meet Dr. Sean White, the lead instructor for the course. Sean will dive into a discussion of PV Markets, including: Types of PV Systems, Applications for PV Systems, and Features and Benefits of PV Systems.

  • Applications for PV Systems (Video - 13:27 minutes)
  • Features and Benefits of PV Systems (Video - 19:47 minutes)
Introduction to Solar PV Design

Becoming a great solar pv designer takes a deep understanding of electricity, engineering, and construction. We don't cover all of those things here - but we give you just enough to be dangerous. Work your way through this series of assignments, and you'll be on your way to becoming a solar pv designer.

  • Electricity Basics - Energy and Power (Video - 24:50 minutes)
  • How Solar Works / IV Curves (Video - 12:06 minutes)
  • Introduction to System Sizing (Video - 11:56 minutes)
Introduction to Solar PV Site Visits & Installation

Performing thorough and efficient site visits is absolutely critical to the success of profitable solar projects, especially residential projects! You need to be able to capture all of the necessary information to quote the system correctly, design the project, and let the installation crew what to expect. An efficient site visit process will lead to smooth operations and profitable jobs while a complex process can lead to unprofitable jobs and a lot of confusion. This module also includes four tutorials on installing micro inverters, installing modules on pitched roofs, installing modules on flat roofs, and DC wiring.

  • Top 5 Ways to Spot a Bad Solar Roof (Resource)
  • Solar Module Mounting Techniques (Video - 43:05 minutes)
  • Installing Solar PV Modules on Pitched Roofs (Video - 09:29 minutes)
  • How to Install Solar PV Modules on Flat Roofs (Video - 06:10 minutes)
  • How to Install Micro-Inverters (Video - 09:29 minutes)
  • Basics of Solar PV DC Wiring (Video - 06:08 minutes)
  • Solar PV Commissioning Checklist (Download .pdf)
Introduction to Solar Code & NEC 690

Understanding NEC 690 is key for a project manager, engineer, or installer. This section covers the basics of solar code so you can determine how much you know and what you need to study.

  • NEC 690 Code Calculations (Download .pdf)
  • Avoiding Common Code Mistakes (Download .pdf)
  • New NEC Grounding Methods (Download .pdf)
  • Presentation Slides: 2014 NEC Code Changes that Impact Commercial Solar Design (Download .pdf)
  • Part 1 - 2014 NEC Changes that Impact Commercial Solar Design (Video - 31:52 minutes)
  • Part 2 - 2014 NEC Changes that Impact Commercial Solar Design (Video - 27:43 minutes)
Introduction to Solar Financing

For solar marketing and sales, you need to understand the factors that impact the economics of a project. This section covers sales basics, how to frame proposals, and strategies and tools for completing site visits.

  • Introduction to Solar PV Financing (Video - 36:25 minutes)
  • Finance 101 Basic Terms (Resource)
  • Finance 101 For Solar PV Professionals (Resource)
  • Solar Leases vs. Solar Loans vs. Utility Rates vs. Cash Purchase (Resource)

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