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About this course

What utilities need to know to accept proposals for commercial and industrial utility grade energy storage systems.

This course will provide a detailed analysis of commercial and industrial utility grade energy storage systems. Beginning with an overview of the current available technologies the course will present the elements of Commercial and Industrial Energy Storage (C&IES) with a focus on the benefits to Commercial and Industrial energy users as well as the advantages of energy storage for utilities.

Issues to be covered include: Storage system design, battery applications, component specification and installation, integration of storage with Renewable Energy (RE) systems, multiple presentations of specific manufacturers of storage systems, O&M issues, available industry resources for ongoing education and the development of individual projects as a Capstone to the course.

The course reviews all the different technologies, terminology, design issues, value streams & stacking, and a cursory look at monitoring, O&M and security as well as business models. Students write a proposal for a solar-plus-storage project and the capstone project.

Learning Objectives
- Participants in this course will upon completion of this course, be able to:

  • Define & explain how Commercial and Industrial Energy Storage (C&IES) operates and the benefits of these systems.
  • Describe and identify components of a C&IES system
  • Identify the best application and limitations of each system type
  • Calculate C&IES system costs
  • Describe financial benefits of C&IES systems
  • Correctly size a C&IES system
  • Recommend a C&IES system type to meet a business owner’s or Utility administrators goals
  • Provide clients with equipment and vendor information
  • Identify and describe different C&IES system types, their storage capabilities and their recommended uses
  • Identify and describe the additional System components for integrating Renewable Energy (RE) Systems into C&IES systems
  • Explain and safety issues with C&IES system
  • Define commissioning, operation and maintenance procedures for C&IES systems
  • Demonstrate proper safety procedures when installing a C&IES systems
  • Size and design a C&IES system to satisfy consumer demands, site specifics, and the NEC
  • Describe the differences and similarities of Hydrogen Energy Storage and Battery Storage in U&CES systems

This is the first of two courses in the Utility-Scale Commercial & Industrial Solar and Storage Series. Enrolling in the series saves money and results in 70 advanced NABCEP hours.

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Course outline

8 modules • 159 assignments • 8:40 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 6 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.

  • Introduction - LaForge (04:40 minutes) Preview
  • Introduction - Chris Brown (01:02 minutes) Preview
  • Course Overview (05:49 minutes)
  • Update for the New Website and Format (08:45 minutes)
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
Module 1 • 34 assignments
Fundamentals of Solar + Storage

  • Why Solar + Storage? (11:52 minutes)
  • Why Solar+Storage NOW? (07:23 minutes)
  • Solar + Storage 1.0 Course Overview (04:04 minutes) Preview
  • 100% renewable energy (.pdf)
  • 100% renewable energy part 2 (.pdf)
  • Companies going green
  • Air Pollution (.pdf)
  • Duck Curve Reading (.pdf)
  • Duck Curve Reading 2 (.pdf)
  • Utilities and Renewables (.pdf)
  • Coal Plants (.pdf)
  • USA Coal vs Renewables (.pdf)
  • Traditional Generation vs Renewables - Reading (.pdf)
  • Heightened focus on decarbonization likely post COVID-19 crisis (.pdf)
  • Why are you interested in solar and storage?
  • History of Solar and Storage (08:47 minutes)
  • Hydrocarbons (.pdf)
  • How Electricity is Generated (.pdf)
  • Photovoltaic effect (.pdf)
  • Basic Concepts (10:15 minutes)
  • Acronyms, Abbreviations and Definitions (.xlsx)
  • Solar ITC (.pdf)
  • on grid vs off grid (03:32 minutes)
  • on grid vs off grid
  • Off Grid - continued... (08:40 minutes)
  • In Front of Meter vs Behind the Meter (03:53 minutes)
  • Wiring Diagrams (.pdf)
  • AC vs DC Coupled (03:47 minutes)
  • AC vs DC (.pdf)
  • AC vs DC Coupled Part 1 (.pdf)
  • AC Vs: Dc Coupling continued... (06:56 minutes)
  • AC vs DC Coupled Part 2 (.pdf)
  • Week 1 Quiz
  • Week 1 wrap-up Week 2 Overview (26:10 minutes)
Module 2 • 31 assignments
Solar Design, PV Modules, and Review of Storage Products

  • Design and Specification - Solar PV Modules Part 1 (15:05 minutes)
  • Solar PV Modules Part 2 (15:56 minutes)
  • Solar PV Module Websites
  • Design and Specification - Mounting and attachment Part 1 (14:41 minutes)
  • Mounting and Attachment Part 2 (11:32 minutes)
  • Mounting and Attachment websites
  • Design and Specification - Inverters (15:04 minutes)
  • Huawei, Sungrow and SMA in the global inverter market (.pdf)
  • PCS and DC/DC Converters (03:50 minutes)
  • Power Conversion System Architectures (.pdf)
  • PCS Market from Navigant (.pdf)
  • DynaPower Website
  • Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) (03:37 minutes)
  • Telsa (06:10 minutes)
  • Tesla + Green Mt (.pdf)
  • Tesla quietly adds bidirectional charging capability for game-changing new features
  • Panasonic (04:42 minutes)
  • Panasonic CO Project (.pdf)
  • LG Chem (02:40 minutes)
  • Sungrow-Samsung SDI (01:19 minutes)
  • Sungrow-Samsung SDI website
  • BYD
  • BYD Website
  • CATL and Powin (01:06 minutes)
  • CATL (.pdf)
  • CATL + Powin (.pdf)
  • ESS End of Life (.pdf)
  • Solar panel recycling: Turning ticking time bombs into opportunities
  • The Future Of Energy Storage Beyond Lithium Ion
  • Week 2 Quiz
  • Week 2 wrap-up Week 3 Overview (27:51 minutes)
Module 3 • 22 assignments
Storage Technologies

  • Week 3 - Technologies - Overview (03:32 minutes)
  • Technologies - Hydro (05:57 minutes)
  • Long-Duration Energy Storage (.pdf)
  • Technologies - Flywheel (03:53 minutes)
  • Technologies - Compressed Air (03:48 minutes)
  • Technologies - Capacitors (01:35 minutes)
  • Killowatt Labs
  • Technologies - Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES) (01:39 minutes)
  • Technologies - Hydrogen (15:26 minutes)
  • America’s Largest Municipal Utility Invests in Move from Coal to Hydrogen Power (.pdf)
  • The Global Hydrogen Economy Fueling a Low Carbon Future
  • Technologies - Battery Overview (03:13 minutes)
  • Technologies - Lead Acid Batteries (02:46 minutes)
  • Lithium Ion Batteries (11:30 minutes)
  • Batteries for EV (.pdf)
  • How Lithium Polymer Batteries are Made
  • cylindrical vs prismatic cells
  • Technologies - Flow Batteries (07:12 minutes)
  • Technologies - Sodium-sulfur batteries (03:24 minutes)
  • Lithium Ion vs Pumped Hydro (.pdf)
  • Week 3 Quiz
  • Week 3 Wrap up Week 4 Overview (24:58 minutes)
Module 4 • 22 assignments
Applications and Value Streams

  • Applications and Value Streams - Solar Only (03:58 minutes) Preview
  • Intro to Value Stacking (05:40 minutes) Preview
  • The Economics of Battery Energy Storage (.pdf)
  • Applications and Value Streams - Residential Off Grid (09:10 minutes)
  • The value of resilience (.pdf)
  • Week 4, Applications and Value Streams Residential Grid Inter-tied - BTM (08:05 minutes)
  • Applications and Value Streams - C&I (12:46 minutes)
  • Stem's guide to Backup Power (.pdf)
  • Energy storage net metering: An illustration of why it’s so valuable
  • Stem's guide to Enterprise Energy Strategies (.pdf)
  • Applications and Value Streams - Utility (06:15 minutes)
  • Frequency Regulation
  • Already cheaper to install new-build battery storage than peaking plants (.pdf)
  • Transactive Energy Report (.pdf)
  • Q2 2020 updates on energy storage at utility scale
  • Applications and Value Streams - Micro-grids (12:44 minutes)
  • Microgrid Case Study Part 1 (.pdf)
  • Microgrid Case Study Part 2 (.pdf)
  • Microgrid Case Study Part 3 (.pdf)
  • Transmission congestion (.pdf)
  • Week 4 Quiz
  • Week 4 Wrap-up week 5 overview (23:22 minutes)
Module 5 • 34 assignments
Code & Business Models

  • Code and Compliance - Outline (08:15 minutes)
  • Code and Compliance (13:08 minutes)
  • Create your NFPA Profile account
  • Consider signing up with NFPA - and Sign in to the NFPA account and take the Training!
  • Access the "CODES & STANDARDS" page on the NFPA site.
  • NFPA 70 - Article 690
  • Article 691 - Large Scale Photovoltaic (PV) Electric Supply Systems
  • NFPA 70 - Article 705 - Interconnected Electrical Power Production Sources
  • NFPA 70 - Article 706 - Energy Storage Systems
  • NFPA 855: Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems
  • Data monitoring and analysis (03:16 minutes)
  • Monitoring the systems - Data collection and analysis (11:15 minutes)
  • Advanced SCADA functionality helps solar operators manage the future
  • Stem's Athena Whitepaper (.pdf)
  • How AI is changing energy storage O&M
  • Security (02:14 minutes)
  • Security of operations and interfaces (SCADA) (04:43 minutes)
  • Executive Order on Securing the United States Bulk-Power System (.pdf)
  • Programs and Policies (09:37 minutes)
  • Energy Storage Goals, Targets, Mandates: What’s the Di (.pdf)
  • Utility Duke Energy in the hot seat for perceived slow progress in clean energy (.pdf)
  • Duke to double renewable capacity in 5 years, but critics say utility lags on storage deployment (.pdf)
  • Ann Arbor’s Living Carbon Neutrality Plan (.pdf)
  • Business Models (07:13 minutes)
  • A Business model option (06:20 minutes)
  • Storage at 20 USD/MWh? Breaking down the lowcost solar-plus-storage PPAs in the USA (.pdf)
  • Renewables and electric vehicles lower-costs
  • Behind the numbers: The rapidly falling LCOE of battery storage (.pdf)
  • Grid-scale battery projects joining transmission operator-run markets in California and Texas (.pdf)
  • Solar and Wind Cheapest Sources of Power in Most of the World (.pdf)
  • Week 5 Quiz
  • Week 5 Wrap up & Week 6 Preview (23:16 minutes)
Module 6 • 6 assignments
Optional Capstone Project

  • The Capstone Project (11:22 minutes)
  • Optional Capstone Project - Outline (.pdf)
  • Great Example #1 of Previous Student's Capstone Project (.pdf)
  • Great Example #2 of Previous Student's Capstone Project (.pdf)
  • Submit Your Capstone Project
  • S+S 1.0 course Conclusion and S+S 2.0 Preview (09:42 minutes)
Conclusion • 4 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!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate

Continuing Education Units

Approved for the following CEUs

  • NABCEP Advanced Credit Hours
  • NABCEP RE Elective
  • NABCEP Building or Fire Code
  • NABCEP PV Associate Renewal

Approved NABCEP CEU Hours

NABCEP Credential Advanced Hours for Exam Recertification CEU Hours NEC JTA RE Elective Building or Fire Code
35 35 6 30 35 2
0 12 0 0 0 0
36 30 6 18 35 2
24 35 6 18 35 2
24 35 6 18 35 2
35 35 0 18 35 2
24 35 6 18 35 2

NABCEP Registered Provider

This course counts towards the training requirements for taking NABCEP professional certification exams and CEUs for renewing all certifications.


  • Christopher LaForge

    Certified Master Trainer (IREC), NABCEP Certified Photovoltaic Professional - Emeritus , Great Northern Solar
    View profile

    Christopher LaForge is the CEO of Great Northern Solar and a NABCEP certified photovoltaic installer-emeritus. He has been designing, specifying, and installing systems since 1988. He has been an instructor with the MREA since 1993 teaching Advanced Photovoltaic design and installation and is an ISPQ Affiliated Master Trainer. In 2016 he was named IREC's Master Trainer... Learn more

  • Chris Brown

    Owner, Solamp Inc.
    View profile

    Chris Brown is passionate about the renewable energy and enthusiastic about sustainable solutions through technology and innovation. After completing his undergraduate education at the University of Massachusetts, Chris entered technical sales of renewable energy products 2006 with a focus on off grid renewable energy projects around the world. Several years later,... 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 every Wednesday. 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 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.
Can I register multiple people?
Yes please visit our HeatSpring for Teams page to get a group discount.


Based on 24 reviews
students have taken this course
Prithviraj S

This course is a great introduction to the different aspects of the solar and storage industries. From development through commissioning, this touches on all of them. As a quality inspector, I have to stay in front of the curve of data, and this really helped. Thanks Chris and Chris.

Alan Courtemanche
Director of Quality Assurance , TSR Energy
Rudolph S

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