Solar PV Installer Boot Camp Training + NABCEP Entry Level Exam Prep


Length: 6 weeks

Instructor: Fred Paris

Partner: North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)

Subjects: Certification Prep, Solar Design & Installation


Are you an electrician, contractor, or career-changer looking to get started in the solar industry? This introductory solar training teaches you to design, install, and sell solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. It also prepares you to pass the NABCEP Entry Level Exam. The course includes Jim Dunlop's comprehensive ‘Photovoltaic Systems’ text book, networking with classmates, personal attention from an experienced instructor, and a treasure trove of videos, resources, and practice quizzes. Students who complete the course earn 18 advanced NABCEP credits that can be applied toward the training requirements to sit for the NABCEP PV Installation Professional certification exam. The $100 Entry Level Exam fee is NOT included. Students who go on to take the exam will need to pay the exam fee and complete a student eligibility form.
Everything You Need To Know

We packed this course with detailed information that will enable you to begin designing and installing solar systems.

Pass the NABCEP Entry Level Exam

NABCEP has two exams. This is the first one. It's a difficult test, and the credential is recognized throughout the industry. The more advanced certification is available to those who spend several years in the industry. This course is approved for 18 of your required advanced hours when you get to that point.

Flexible Exam Scheduling

After you complete the course, you may schedule your exam by submitting a request and paying the $100 exam fee (which is not included in the course price). Since the clock doesn't start running until you pay the additional fee, there's no rush. You can schedule whenever you feel adequately prepared and have a convenient time available.

Self-Paced Online Course

This course is self-paced and entirely online. The lecture videos and other materials are available any time, and the instructor responds to student questions through a discussion board. In order to participate, you will need an Internet connection and an up-to-date web browser.

Ayuda En Español

Este curso está en inglés. Pero si entiendes el inglés bastante bien y solamente necesitas un poco de ayuda, podemos ayudarte por correo electrónico (o por teléfono si puedes llamar a los Estado Unidos) con traducción básica, comprensión, u otras cosas. Si tienes más preguntas sobre este servicio, manda un mensaje a

Earn Continuing Education Credits

Approved for 18 Advanced NABCEP Certification Hours

What a great day it was 3-25-13. Got my results; exam passed. Also thanks to HeatSpring for offering such a great course and a big thanks to a great instructor Fred Paris. Thanks.

- James Bailey

Your Instructor


Fred Paris

NABCEP & PV Business Training, Wind Sun Institute

Fred has been teaching NABCEP students since 2008. At Massasoit College Fred introduced the PV course, wrote the curriculum, and taught the first PV classes. As a Solar practitioner, Fred’s PV projects include high school, residential, commercial, and church projects. Systems include: roof-mount, ground-mount and pole-mounted PV systems - with and without equinox...[more]

Course Outline

WELCOME - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. Expect to dedicate an average of 5 hours per week, but you can work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. Keep in mind that the instructor will be there to answer your questions and help you learn for the duration of the course. The instructor will only be available to answer questions during the posted session dates, so ask all your questions while we're in session. You will have access to all of the online materials for a full year. Contact Tom McCormack, your Student Advocate, if you have questions before or after the posted session dates. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.


Complete all of these required steps to earn the NABCEP Entry Level Certificate: 1) Complete 40 hours of online or in-person training 2) Schedule your Exam 3) Pass the Exam.

Module 1 - Intro to Renewable & Efficiency Markets + Solar PV System Basics

This lesson starts with the history of PV and draws distinctions between Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency markets. We position Solar PV as the most promising and cost-effective solution when compared to wind, geothermal, and other emerging renewable technologies. We then move on to provide: 1) High level introduction to grid-tied and off-grid PV applications, and 2) Establish Electrical, Solar, and Mechanical as our three areas of study for the course.

Module 2 - Electrical Fundamentals + Solar Safety

This module introduces and defines critical terms and arithmetic methods for system design. Introduction to Voltage, Amperage, Resistance, and how we use Ohm's law to design and engineer PV arrays. Turning our attention to safety, we'll cover the safety lessons of NABCEP. This includes ladder safety, electrical safety, fall protection and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), the role of OSHA, and on-site construction safety.

Module 3 - The Solar Resource

This module introduces solar irradiance, air-mass index, orientation and tilt, and techniques for optimizing solar energy. We'll cover site planning, magnetic declination, altitude, azimuth, Solar Pathfinder, and other tools. The assignments come from your textbook 'Photovoltaic Systems' as well as the CD-ROM included with the book.

Module 4 - PV Module Performance and Optimization

This module covers an introduction to the IV curve, temperature coefficients, series and parallel wiring. Once you get them down, these are simple concepts, over the years we've heard from past students that these concepts are tested repeatedly on the exam, so we really want to get them down.

Module 5 - Solar PV Components and Complete Systems

Beginning with a close-up look at each element of grid-tied and off-grid systems, including: modules, inverters, charge controllers, batteries and more, these elements are then configured into complete systems. We'll also cover series and parallel wiring for batteries, and interaction between charge controllers and batteries.

Module 6 - Mounting Systems + Final Questions + Practice Exam

This lesson convers roof, ground, and pole-mounted systems and compares them for performance and cost. Tracking systems, seasonable adjustable, and fixed arrays are examined for performance and construction perspectives. We finish with NABCEP-like questions to review the lessons where you feel like you need additional help to master it.

Schedule and Take the NABCEP Entry Level Exam - Additional $100 Fee For Exam

The NABCEP Entry Level Exam questions come directly from the "Photovoltaic Systems" textbook you received as a part of this course. Make sure you have read the entire book and studied the sections outlined in the course assignments above. Once you are ready, contact your Student Advocate to begin the scheduling process for your exam at a computer testing facility in the U.S. or Canada.

Post Course - Networking, Support, and Continuing Education

Taking this course is not an end in itself; this is the beginning of something great. These assignments will make sure you see the maximum benefit from the training and help make sure you continue down the right path

Students who took this course also took

Free Course: Solar PV Design, Code, Economics, Sales, and Site Visits

The most comprehensive technical free course on solar PV available on the Internet. Learn solar basics, conductor sizing, site visits, array sizing, estimating power production, solar code, solar batteries, and commercial solar design.

Download a free tool used in this course

Residential Solar PV Design 101 Guide

Author: Chris Williams

Residential Solar PV Project Management Gantt Chart

Author: Fred Paris