Course Logo

Solar System Fundamentals (PVOL101, PVOL203, and NABCEP Exam)

Tags: SEICBP, contractors, Train Green, Solar

Course Description

The FY22 training package includes: (1) Solar System Fundamentals (PVOL101, PVOL203 and NABCEP Exam – also referred to as the NABCEP PV Associates Exam Prep Package) ‐ Students who complete the training will be able to sit for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. This exam will be scheduled prior to the September 30, 2021 deadline, however the actual date of the exam may fall after the deadline, as it is administered by NABCEP (please see‐program/ for more information about PV Associate exam); and (2) Solar Safety for residential/commercial roof‐mounted installations and for large‐scale ground‐mounted installations (also referred to as the Solar Safety Training Package).

Overview of PVOL101: Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid‐Direct)

This training will provide an overview of the three basic PV system applications, primarily focusing on grid-direct systems. The goal of the course is to create a fundamental understanding of the core concepts necessary to work with all PV systems, including system components, site analysis, PV module criteria, mounting solutions, safety, and commissioning. The course will also cover the basics of sizing a residential grid-direct system, wire sizing, overcurrent protection, and grounding.

Overview of PVOL203: PV System Fundamentals (Battery‐Based)

The prerequisite for PVOL203 is PVOL101.

 PV systems with energy storage are a rapidly growing segment of the industry. This course builds a foundation for understanding many battery-based applications, in which the complexity far exceeds that of a grid-direct PV system. Load analysis is addressed along with other critical design criteria such as battery bank design, equipment options, and electrical integration of system components. Component options are covered in detail, including batteries, charge controllers, and battery-based inverters. Solar Energy International ‐ Contract 4 Different battery chemistries, associated pros and cons, and cost comparisons are investigated along with safety and maintenance considerations unique to battery-based PV systems. This six-week training will be online, asynchronous, and facilitated by SEI instructors. Students will have daily assessments including exercises and quizzes to assess learning.

Learning Objectives

Solar Energy International ‐ Contract 3 Students who complete PVOL101 will be able to perform the following:

  • Differentiate between various renewable energy sources and types of systems
  • Perform power and energy calculations
  • Evaluate utility bills and rate plans, perform a load analysis for a grid-direct system, and compare system production to energy consumption
  • Describe energy efficiency measures that can be implemented to reduce electricity usage and PV system size
  • Analyze different net metering rules, rebates, and incentives that affect the final cost of a PV system
  • Diagram and list the features, applications, and components of the following PV system types: DC direct, stand-alone, grid-direct, and grid-tied with battery back-up
  • Obtain and apply specifications for PV modules and determine their performance given various environmental and operating conditions
  • Identify various types of digital multimeters and explain how to use them safely
  • Diagram and determine the power, current, and voltage characteristics of PV modules in different series and parallel configurations
  • Determine the magnetic declination, define azimuth and altitude angle and evaluate the shade potential for a given site
  • Estimate energy production of a PV system based on location specifics including orientation and tilt angle
  • List the pros and cons of different mounting systems (ground, pole, roof, and trackers) and determine the number of modules that can fit in a given roof space
  • Given specific site criteria, evaluate what type of inverter is appropriate
  • Decipher balance-of-system equipment specification sheets to determine the critical information needed for system design
  • Design a residential grid-direct system including the array, inverter, circuit conductors, and overcurrent protection
  • Define equipment grounding, system grounding, and components and conductors used for grounding
  • Identify the following wires and components on schematics of residential grid-direct systems: disconnects, inverter, equipment grounding conductors, ungrounded conductors, grounded conductors, the grounding electrode(s), and the AC and DC system grounds
  • Identify potential safety hazards and the proper personal protective equipment for working on grid direct PV systems
  • List the order of installation, commissioning, and decommissioning of a grid-direct PV system

Students who complete the PV203 workshop will be able to perform the following:

  • Identify and describe the basic functions of each component in a PV system
  • Describe the configuration of various types of PV systems: PV direct, Stand–alone, PV/hybrid, Multimode, Zero-sell, Micro-grid, Utility-scale energy storage
  • Evaluate the electrical requirements of loads
  • Diagram battery banks in various series and parallel configurations and calculate values for current, voltage, power, and energy
  • Calculate load estimates
  • Identify the appropriate inverter for small stand-alone systems, residential applications, and grid-tied with battery back-up systems
  • Compare and contrast DC coupled and AC coupled PV systems
  • Identify the pros/cons of using sealed versus flooded batteries
  • Determine the state of charge of a battery
  • List safety precautions and equipment required to work with batteries
  • List the features, options, and metering available on charge controllers
  • Describe how maximum power point tracking and voltage step-down affect a system
  • Describe the differences when sizing battery-based systems compared to grid-direct systems
  • Choose a peak sun hour value based on design criteria
  • Describe how shading can affect a battery-based system
  • Describe why and when breakers are used rather than fuses
  • List the National Electrical Code articles that reference battery-based PV systems
  • Label a 3-line diagram with grounding and disconnect terminology
  • Define the maximum voltage drop allowed for the proper functioning of a battery-based PV system.


Provider: Solar Energy International (SEI)

Course Type: This 6-week training will be online, asynchronous, and facilitated by SEI instructors. Students will have daily assessments including exercises and quizzes to assess learning.

Prerequisites: None

Time Commitment: 12 weeks

Course Dates: June 27 – September 30, 2022

Exam Dates: To be completed by September 30th

Registration Deadline: June 17th 

Course Materials: All study materials are included within the course; no textbook required.

Record of Completion: Records of Completion is provided for each person who successfully completes each course.  SEI Online Campus, course participation and acceptable progress is determined by attempting all quizzes and earning a cumulative average score of 70% or higher in the course. Not doing so, will result in the student not earning a record of completion and forfeiting any documented training hours for the course.

Course Value:  $1440

Cost to Register: $0

All training and certification courses are offered at no cost to participants on a first come, first serve basis. Due to the time commitment for this course, registrants will only be allowed to signup for this course if they are not registered for any other courses through the DCSEU that present a time conflict (unless that course is self-paced).This program is designed to expand the local green workforce and local business opportunities.

Register Here