Date(s) - 08/10/2020 - 08/14/2020
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Zane State College

August 10th-14th:  at Zane State College, Zanesville, Ohio (Sold Out)

This is an intense, jam-packed, 40-hour in-person course.  It includes lectures and discussions (about 60%), hands on labs (about 30%) and review and preparation for the ETA PV Level 1 certification examination (about 10%).  We assume you come to the class with no (zero) electrical or solar experience.   By the end of the week you should have all the knowledge and skills to design and install your own residential PV system (all we can’t provide you with is the confidence to make it happen – but we will even try to help with that).

Course Content Includes:

Basic Principles and Concepts of Electricity

Basic Principles and Concepts of Photovoltaics
  • How photovoltaic cells work
  • Solar cell efficiency
  • Factors affecting cell performance
  • Types of photovoltaic cells
  • Advantages and disadvantages of various photovoltaic technology options
  • Solar panel specifications
  • Standard Test Conditions (STC)

Photovoltaic System Components

  • Inverters (square wave, modified square wave, sine-wave)
  • Balance of system (BOS) components
    • Junction box
    • Combiners
    • Battery system
    • Controllers
    • Maximum Power Point tracking
    • Inverter
    • Disconnects

Standard system configurations

  • Stand-alone Systems
  • Grid-tied Systems
    • String Inverter
    • Microinverters
    • Power Optimizers
  • DC Coupled Systems
  • AC Coupled Systems
  • Hybrid systems

Site assessment

  • Locating true south (lines of declination)
  • Shading issues
  • Panel orientation (altitude and azimuth)
  • Array mounting options and issues
    • Rooftop
      • Available area
      • Structural integrity
      • Stand off requirements
      • Loading issues
      • Inter row shading
    • Ground mounted
    • Top pole
      • Side pole
      • Tracking systems
    • Building Integrated systems
  • Determining available sunlight
    • Solar insolation maps, using PV Watts
    • Use of a Solar Pathfinder
    • Solar window

Designing a PV system

  • Determining load requirements
  • Calculating electrical use
    • Assessing electric bills
    • Load variations
    • Cycling loads
    • Phantom loads
    • Induction motors
  • Selecting a panel
    • Panel specifications
  • Determining system inefficiencies
    • Inverter efficiencies
    • BOS inefficiencies
  • Wiring selection and voltage drop issues
  • Temperature adjustments
  • Estimating the size of the array
  • Calculating number of panels given specifications and load requirements
    • Determine maximum voltage of system and adjust for temperature variations
    • Calculate number of panels and number of strings
  • Determine compatibility to BOS components
  • Grounding, bonding and over-current issues
  • Pricing the system as designed (current costs, incentives)
  • Connecting to the grid
  • Troubleshooting problems

Battery Systems

  • Types of batteries (lead acid, lithium ion, etc)
  • Determining nominal voltage
  • Calculating Amp hour storage requirements
  • Depth of discharge
  • Temperature adjustments
  • Battery bank sizing calculations
  • How batteries are charged
    • Bulk charge
    • Absorption charge
    • Floating charge
  • Battery storage and maintenance issues
    • Venting
    • Equalization
    • Measuring state of charge
  • Battery safety issues

System Installation

  • Racking Systems
  • Loading Issues
  • Climbing Safety
  • Ground Mounted Systems
  • Conduit Installation and Fill Issues


  • Required Documentation/Application Package
    • Interconnect Agreements
    • Net Metering Agreements
    • Required Permits
    • Commissioning Forms
    • Installation Checklists
    • Operation and Maintenance Documentation

Testing and Commissioning the System

  • Final Installation Checklist
  • Visual Inspection
  • Verification of Code Compliance
  • Electrical System Verification Testing
  • System Functioning Testing
  • Verify Array Power and Energy Production against STC
  • Derating Factor Components

System Maintenance and Troubleshooting

  • Monitoring Performance
  • Typical Systems Problems and how to Correct Them
  • System Maintenance

Hands-On Labs Include:

  • Using a multi-meter
  • Wire selection and termination
  • Making MC4 jumpers in the field
  • Creating a simple circuit
  • Connecting panels and batteries in series, parallel, and a combination of the two
  • Climbing safety
  • Testing a solar panel
  • Assembling and connecting a complete string inverter system (mounting panels on racks, connecting to a combiner box, hooking up a DC disconnect,  wiring the inverter, connecting to the AC disconnect, and then connecting to the circuit breaker panel)
  • Mounting and connecting micro inverters
  • Assembling a hybrid system (integrating wind and solar), testing diverted load charge controller
  • Making and testing a solar generator
  • Doing a site assessment, including working with an irradiance meter and a Solar Pathfinder
  • Sizing wire based on load and temperature
  • Selecting and pricing all components
  • Working through the design (start to finish) of a residential PV system

This course prepares you to sit for the ETA Photovoltaic Installer (PVI) Level 1. It is the first level of ETA’s certifications designed to assess renewable energy professionals. It is also a great first step for those seeking to enter the PV industry, and perhaps later prepare to sit for the ETA Photovoltaic Installer Level 2 or  NABCEP PV certification programs.  Some jurisdictions (the state of Illinois, for example) require certification in order for you to install PV systems or apply for solar incentive programs.  The ETA PV Level 1 certification meets these requirements in most cases.

This course is offered throughout the midwest in partnership with several not-for-profits.  The fee for this one-week course is $970 and includes:  Instruction, hands-on labs, textbook and lab material, ETA examination, and (in some cases) lunch.  This course is also eligible for VA and Americorps funding.  Scholarships may also be available based on need.  Contact us at 740-674-4300 for further details regarding the management of fees.

Early Registration Fee:  $970 (SOLD OUT)*

After August 1st, price increases to $1,070

Zane State College Logo If you are a Zane State student and wish college credit (Solar Energy Systems (EEET 1950-01), 2 credit hours) for this course, you must register directly with Zane State

(*by registering, you agree to the terms outlined in the Waiver of Liability)

*Give us a call regarding multi-registration discounts – 740.674.4300


Residential Solar PV Workshop (Zanesville, OH) – SOLD OUT