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

Student Rating

Rating: 8.0/10 (Since July 2015)
753 students have taken this course


Are you an electrician, contractor, or career-changer looking to get started in the solar industry? This introductory 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 must complete the course AND then pass the NABCEP Entry Level Exam in order to earn 18 advanced NABCEP credits. These credits can be applied toward the training requirements to sit for the NABCEP PV Installation Professional certification exam. Graduates of this course are eligible to sit for the NABCEP Entry Level Exam at any Castle Worldwide testing location in the United States or Canada. (The $100 NABCEP Entry Level Exam fee is not included in the course price.)

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Foundational Course for Solar Installers

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

Included: James Dunlop's Text Book "Photovoltaic Systems" (Third Edition)

"Photovoltaic Systems" is a comprehensive reference guide to the installation of residential and commercial PV systems. It covers the principles of PV electricity and how to incorporate it into stand-alone or utility-connected electrical systems.

Important Note on 18 Advanced NABCEP Credits

In order to claim their 18 advanced NABCEP credits, students MUST pass the NABCEP Entry Level Exam after completing this course.

NABCEP Entry Level Exam Available Anytime In Hundreds of Cities in the United States and Canada

After you complete the course, you can schedule your NABCEP Entry Level Exam by submitting a request and paying the $100 exam fee (which is not included in the course price). You can schedule your exam for whenever you feel adequately prepared and have a convenient time available. The exam can be taken at any Castle Worldwide testing location in the United States or Canada.

94% Success Rate on the NABCEP Entry Level Exam

The NABCEP Entry Level Exam is a credential is recognized throughout the solar industry. In 2014, 94% of the students who took this course passed the Entry Level Exam.

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.

Supported by Student Advocate – Tom McCormack

In addition to instructor support via the discussion board, students have access to Tom McCormack, HeatSpring's Student Advocate. He is available to answer general questions via email, discussion board, chat, or phone. (Spanish email support available upon request.)

The Solar PV Boot Camp online course provided by HeatSpring was excellent. It is a comprehensive course which blends reading resources with video lessons. It is obvious that a continuous improvement process is used through student feedback and test metrics to assure that students have a high success rate when taking the NABCEP test.

- Joseph Fraioli, EarthCoupler Renewables

Outstanding medium for obtaining foundational knowledge in PV for anyone trying to solidify their skills.

- Asim Khan, Spectrum Power

A great introduction to the world of PV systems.

- Jamal Khoury

I would highly recommend this course to anyone who would like to enter the field of photovoltaic installation.

- David Goldthwaite, Raytheon

Your Instructor

Person medium screen shot 2014 03 31 at 11.05.36 pm

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]

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Course Outline

When you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. In order to request a certificate, you first must complete all the assignments, earn a passing score on all of the quizzes. Once you've completed the course sign our honor code and request a certificate of completion

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

After The Course - Feedback and Additional Resources

No matter how great this course is, we know it's just one part of a bigger journey. In this module we'll start thinking about what comes next. You'll provide feedback on the course, request a certificate of completion, and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to this course and all updates we make to it for at least a year. Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. Let us know what you do next and how we can help.

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Students who took this course also took

40-Hour Advanced Solar PV Installer Training

For experienced solar professionals looking to take the NABCEP Installer Exam, and advance within the industry. Includes 40 NABCEP-approved hours of advanced PV training.

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.

Free Course: GreenLancer 101: Site Plan and Array Layout

Students who complete this course will gain a rudimentary knowledge base and skill set in designing a 3-dimensional Site Plan and Array Layout for a PV project. This course will use SketchUp Pro extensively.

Free Course: GreenLancer 101: Prepare Submittal Drawings

Before any PV project can be installed, permitting must be obtained. Students who complete this course will gain a rudimentary knowledge of how to piece together a final submittal drawing for a Permit Package.

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