The first challenge when entering the renewable energy industry is understanding how to design and install projects. These articles are dedicated to teaching you the basics of how to design and install solar PV, solar thermal, and geothermal projects.

If you’re brand new

Click here to learn what is NABCEP and wether or not you should need to get the certification. If you’re serious about the solar industry and you want to get the NABCEP Certification, but you need to understand how exactly to apply, you can read more about getting the NABCEP Certification here.

Articles That Will Help You
A Review of Solar and Geothermal Certifications, Licenses and Permitting
Solar Thermal Design and Installation Guide

Solar PV Design and Installation Guide
How to Design a Solar PV Array and Estimate Power Production
Geothermal Design and Installation Bundle

Understand the Key Grounding and Bonding Standards for Commercial Solar PV Projects in Less Than 30 Minutes

What are the differences between grounding and bonding in solar design? What are the most recent codes? Where are the codes headed? What are some of the changes that have happened? What does it mean for you and your installations?

In this free 20-minute video lesson, Ryan Mayfield identifies the key 2014 NEC code sections for PV […]

By |September 25th, 2014|Categories: Geothermal and Solar Design and Installation Tips, Solar||

AC Coupling – How to Cost Effectively Add Battery Back-up to Existing Grid-Tied Solar PV systems

This is a guest article by Chris LaForge.

Chris is teaching an in-depth 6-week technical training on designing battery based solar PV systems that starts in September. You can read the full description and get a limited-time discount here. If you need to learn how to design, quote, and commission a battery based solar PV array, […]

SolarPro, HeatSpring, Ryan Mayfield Launch Megawatt Solar Design Class

 The online technical training experts at HeatSpring have teamed up with photovoltaic design and instruction professional Ryan Mayfield and technical media specialists SolarPro to launch a 10-week online course in megawatt-scale solar PV system design. To learn more about the course, register for one of two premium webinars being offered:

Cost Effective Megawatt Design with Ryan Mayfield on Tuesday May 20th at 1pm EST.

The Megawatt Design class is a technically rigorous and challenging 10-week course. Click this link for a complete commercial solar design training description and to claim one of thirty $500 bird discounts that are available.
The course has been developed for professionals who are responsible for designing, specifying, permitting, and managing the construction of megawatt-scale large-commercial solar projects and who need to stay current on equipment selection, design, budgeting, and code compliance. It is tailored to professionals with previous experience in large-commercial PV system design as well as those seeking to expand into the commercial market from a base of experience in residential PV system design. Students will use computer aided drafting, industry specific design tools and spreadsheet tools to complete the course.
Graduates of the Megawatt Design class will:

Submit a complete set of drawings, equipment, budget, code references, and calculations for an actual megawatt PV system design project.
Understand how to design projects that are cost effective, structurally sound, high performance and code compliant.
Understand the current best practices for line side connections, grounding, rapid shutdown, fire regulations, and other complex and common design challenges for large projects.
Be confident that their permitting package will be Code compliant the first time.

Course Outline

Project Qualification: In this opening week, we will review best practices for technical sales on large-scale commercial projects. Topics include: Establish major project goals, array location possibilities, rooftop/carport/ground mount, roof loading considerations, electrical infrastructure.
Equipment Selection: In this module we dive deeply into equipment selection. Pricing and equipment change rapidly in our industry. We’ll make sure you’re up to speed on the latest thinking. Topics include: Product selection thresholds, first cost, warranty, manufacturer service, module considerations including warranties and PID, inverter considerations, dc-to-ac ratio, micro/string/central inverter options, tracked and fixed racking, and system BOS.
Site Selection: This week we’ll cover requirements and best practices for siting your projects, covering both ground mount and rooftop systems. Topics include: Permissible shading allowances and  grading requirements for ground mounted arrays.
Software Tools: What software should you use to design large commercial solar projects? We’ll review the available options and help you to get the most out of your current or future program of choice, enabling fast, efficient design.
Designing Systems for Different Criteria: Every system design requires trade-offs. This week will cover how to optimize your designs for different criteria and how to minimize the downside of the trade-offs you make. Topics include: Lowest first cost, maximized energy production and targeted energy production.
NEC Considerations: Code, Code, Code. We could spend the entire course covering code, but we’re going to assume everyone in this course has a firm grasp of the NEC. This week we’ll discuss some of the 2014 updates and nuanced details to help you make fewer mistakes and get your jobs permitted faster.
Fire Code Considerations: Large-commercial rooftop systems require an in-depth understanding of fire codes and techniques for coordinating with fire departments, inspectors and owners.2012  International Fire Code (IFC) requirements will be covered.
Operations & Maintenance: Develop a detailed O&M plan that can be refined and re-used on your next large-commercial PV project.
Permitting: How do you get your permitting done faster and cheaper? That’s the multi-million dollar question. In this module we’ll provide tips and tools for getting your projects permitted more easily than your competitors.
Capstone Project: Students will receive all the inputs for a large-commercial rooftop installation, and develop and submit drawings, equipment and budgets to get the project installed as quickly and inexpensively as possible without compromising performance. Data for the capstone project comes from a real job. We’ve masked the identity of the project, but you’ll get to see all of the choices that were made and discuss the pros and cons of each as you do the work of designing your own system.

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5 Perspectives for Using Solar Subcontractors for Residential PV Installation

This is a guest post by Fred Paris. Fred teaches our 6 week Solar Startup Accelerator where students get the tools (budgeting, planning, pricing, project management) and business plan they need to start new solar business or solar division within an existing company, in 6 weeks. You can read more about the Solar startup class […]

Best in Class Solar Thermal Monitoring: 50% Cheaper, 1/3 the Install time, No Moving Parts = Super Reliable

The Ohm by Sunnovations is a category killing, best in class, real time monitoring solution for residential solar thermal systems. If you think you’ve already looked into solar thermal monitoring and it’s too expensive, too complex and expensive to install, and not reliable enough, think again.

I’m constantly looking for technologies that will reduce risk for […]