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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Software Can Decrease Your Costs, Close More Sales and Grow your Solar Business

I’m always on the hunt for the new products, trends and technologies that are decreasing the cost of clean energy solutions. In the past few years the innovation has mainly come from decreasing the cost of the large system components (modules, heatpumps, etc) and building up a trained labor force. When I started installing solar it took a four man crew four to five days to install the average 5kw system for a home. As my residential career was wrapping up, that same four man crew could do it in a little less then two days. 50% lower labor costs. We all know the same story has been true with module prices. But now that we have more trained workforce and the hard costs are decreasing rapidly, where can we looking to further decrease costs?

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5 Helpful Tips to Sizing and Selecting Solar Thermal Equipment

Today’s guest post comes from Bob Ramlow, the instructor if our Solar Thermal Boot Camp. Bob Ramlow has more than 30 years of experience with solar-energy systems and is a co-founder and Board member of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. He’s a solar thermal consultant for the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program. We adapted this article from his book, Solar Water Heating, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living. Bob teaches HeatSpring’s Solar Thermal Installer Boot Camp.

Click here to sign up for a free product training on real time solar thermal monitoring that is 50% cheaper, and 1/3 less time to install compared with traditional BTU meter based systems. 

Enter Bob Ramlow:

Rarely do we design solar water heaters to provide 100 percent of your hot water. There are just too many cloudy days over the course of a year. Nevertheless, a typical solar water heater will provide between 50- and 75 percent of your annual load. In hot climates, or during the sunniest times of the year, you can expect to get nearly 100 percent of your hot water from solar. And even during the cloudiest periods, you may get as much as 50 percent, depending on your climate.

In cool climates, you should allow 20 square feet of collector and 20 gallons of storage capacity for each person in the household. For large families, you can reduce this by 10 percent for each person over four members in the household. In warm climates, size the system with 15 square feet of collector and 25 gallons of storage for each person in the household, with the same reductions for larger families. These sizing methods will give the best return on investment. Smaller systems will work well, but your savings will be less.

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9 Things You Must Know to Become a Solar PV Designer

What is it that solar PV designers do? What are their responsibilities and what’s required of them?

First, it’s important to note that there is are geographical differences between solar PV designer responsibilities. In the Northeast quadrant of the United States, the designer and project manager have separate roles. However, many companies in the Colorado area combine these roles […]

4 Steps to Basic Solar Thermal Design

I’m sure you’ve noticed that as fuel and electricity prices continue to rise, the interest in solar hot water (SHW) systems is also continuing to increase, and your customers may be asking about it. Why? It’s a simple, basic, and proven technology that has been around forever.

Click here to sign up for a free training on reducing the cost and improving the reliability of solar thermal monitoring that is 50% cheaper, and 1/3 less time to install compared with traditional BTU meter-based systems. 

If you’re interested in selling and installing solar how water systems, you’ll need to understand the basics of design so that you can perform proper site visits and understand what drives the costs of the systems.
There are four basic steps in designing a pressurized, anti-freeze based solar hot water system. The details of each step can get more involved than what I’ve written here, but these are the basics.
1) Make sure the roof has solar access and enough room for collectors. Solar access is simply exposure to the sun from 9 am to 3 pm all year round and within 25 degrees, east or west, of true south. It’s best not to have any shading at all, but solar thermal collectors are much less susceptible to shading than photovoltaic systems. If you do have some shading, you can often compensate by installing larger collectors.

 How much room do solar collectors take up? Flat plate collectors are typically larger, with an average size of four feet by eight feet.

2) Next, you need to measure hot water usage. Typically, one person uses 20 gallons of hot water per day. This is a good rule of thumb. This number could be less — if there are five people living in a home, they will probably only use 80 to 90 gallons instead of the expected 100. However, some people could use far more water daily, and some could use far less. It is key to collect this information during the site visit.

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