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Complete guide to designing and installing solar electric systems.

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Testimonials

"I definitely walked away empowered technically, but the additional benefit of having a deeper context around the "why" of solar power, and its significance in our energy evolution. Your passion and commitment to the cause comes through in your delivery of the class, and your willingness to engage each of us, despite a variety of technical levels, really lowered the barrier to effective learning."

Vince Weseli
Cincinnati, OH

 

"Thanks for offering the solar cert I just finished up a 8kW on grid/off grid system for a guy."

Russell Gabriel
Athens, OH

 

"We are very happy that  we had chosen your Photovoltaic course in Newark.  We  learned so much from your course regarding photovoltaic cells , electricity generation , the technics of installation of panels  etc  in a very congenial , friendly and laid back atmosphere. Your great input  in this field encouraged us to work on a small project at home on  small solar cells."

Satyanarayana Kadim and
Rajeshkumar kadim
Athens, OH


"Jay’s knowledge on solar and related topics, delivered effectively through anecdotal experience and his pragmatic approach, is inspirational.  There are very few questions he is unable to answer or provide a reference for.  His enthusiasm for our success never waned even when asked the same questions repeatedly.  I look forward to attending more of Jay’s classes and know that I’ll come away with more than I paid for."

Chris Kenney
Cincinnati, OH

 

"Jay’s solar power course was a refreshing introduction into the world of photovoltaics. I couldn’t have asked for a better instructor. He provides real-word experience that is thorough and relevant. Jay is well spoken and a gifted communicator. His class provides a solid framework from which to build knowledge and experience.

From the beginning, Jay measured each student’s background and technical understanding. Our class experience ranged from doctors and engineers to tradesmen and finally students. His material is well-organized and delivered in a way everyone can understand. He provides a mixture of lecture and hands-on instruction, building on each topic in a logical manner.

I’ve been a technical instructor for almost 20 years and Jay is at the top of the list of the best instructors I’ve witnessed. He engages the class from the beginning and answers the question:” Where we are…how we got there…and where we are heading?” Most importantly, Jay provides the tools and direction for each of us to make it happen."

Dale Ramsey
Pickerington, OH


Having taken numerous classes, I consider myself an expert on taking numerous classes.

Jay Warmke’s warm and thorough approach to the instruction of photo-voltaic installation exceeded my expectations in every way. His patience and perseverance left the entire class feeling as if no question was a stupid question and he complimented the classroom setting with his extremely funny sense of humor.

I whole heartedly recommend taking any of his or his wonderful wife Annie’s classes you may be interested in, with no reservations.

Nick Adams
Columbus, OH

It really helped me to re-assess our plan - better determine our household system.
Great instructor!  Easy to understand, stops and explains whenever needed.  Jay is extremely effective and makes learning easy.

All I knew beforehand was that I wanted solar, now I know what I want, but more importantly, what I can afford.

OEFFA Session
Columbus, OH

Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Workshops for 2015

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Prepares Students to Sit for the ETA Level 1 PV Certification Exam

Want to learn how to install solar?  Maybe you even want to become certified to work in the solar field.  Now you can spend just five days of training (4 1/2 classroom instruction and 1/2 day taking the certification test) in a beautiful setting - not in a classroom - to realize your goal.  We have quite a selection of courses set for 2015 - located across the state (and even one in Minnesota)!

A recent study shows that Solar jobs are growing at a rate 10 times the national average - and that PV installers average starting salaries are in the $20-24 per hour range (about $40,000 - $48,000 per year).

  • Jan 26th - 30th - Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Certification Workshop - Newark, OH (at Central Ohio Technical College)
  • Feb 28th - March 1st - Solar Electric Certification Workshop (weekends edition) Part 1 (in Columbus)
  • March 7th - 8th - Solar Electric Certification Workshop (weekends edition) Part 2 (in Columbus)
  • March 14th - 15th - Solar Electric Certification Workshop (weekends edition) Part 3 (in Columbus)
  • April 13th - 17th - Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Certification Workshop - at Blue Rock Station
  • May 11th - 15th - Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Certification Workshop - in Cincinnati
  • June 15th - 19th - Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Certification Workshop - in Columbus
  • July 13th - 17th - Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Certification Workshop - Granite Falls, MN
  • Sept 21st - 25th - Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Certification Workshop - at Blue Rock Station
  • Oct 12th - 16th - Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Certification Workshop - in Columbus
  • Nov 16th - 20th - Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Certification Workshop - Newark, OH

ETA Examination fees (normally $150) and course materials (installation toolkit and student workbook - also valued at around $150) are included as part of the course fee.

The course will consist of lectures (about 50%) as well as hands-on labs (also about 50%).  You will work with a working PV system, dismantling and reinstalling it, troubleshooting and ensuring its proper operation.  During the course you will learn to size your system according to your electrical needs, select the type of system that works best for your situation, select all the components for your system, size the wiring and overcurrent protection, price the system, size and select the battery bank (if needed) - basically, when you leave you will be able to design from start to finish a residential solar PV system and install it as well.


Course Content Includes:

Basic Principles and Concepts of Power

  1. Potential and kinetic energy
  2. Molecular structure and covalent bonds
  3. Laws of thermodynamics
  4. Types of energy
  5. Methods of energy transfer (conduction, convection, radiation)
  6. Factors that affect the absorption of radiant energy
  7. Power equations
  8. Basic electricity
    1. Relationship of Watts, Volts and Amps
    2. Ohm's Law
    3. Electrical circuits
  9. How batteries work
  10. Direct and alternating currents
  11. Electrical safety

Basic Principles and Concepts of Photovoltaics
  1. How photovoltaic cells work
  2. Solar cell efficiency
  3. Factors affecting cell performance
  4. Types of photovoltaic cells
  5. Advantages and disadvantages of photovoltaic technology
  6. Solar panel specifications
  7. Standard Test Conditions (STC)

Photovoltaic System Components

  1. Inverters (square wave, modified square wave, sine-wave)
  2. Balance of system (BOS) components
    1. Junction box
    2. Combiners
    3. Battery system
    4. Controllers
    5. Maximum Power Point tracking
    6. Inverter
    7. Disconnects

Standard system configurations

  1. Stand-alone system
  2. Grid-tied systems
  3. Grid Interactive
  4. Grid Fallback
  5. Hybrid systems

Site assessment

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

Designing a PV system

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

Battery Systems

  1. Types of batteries
  2. Determining nominal voltage
  3. Calculating Amp hour storage requirements
  4. Depth of discharge
  5. Temperature adjustments
  6. Battery bank sizing calculations
  7. How batteries are charged
    1. Bulk charge
    2. Absorption charge
    3. Floating charge
  8. Battery storage and maintenance issues
    1. Venting
    2. Equalization
    3. Measuring state of charge
  9. Battery safety issues

System Installation

  1. Racking Systems
  2. Loading Issues
  3. Climbing Safety
  4. Ground Mounted System
  5. Conduit Installation and Fill Issues

Paperwork

  1. Required Documentation/Application Package
    1. Interconnect Agreements
    2. Net Metering Agreements
    3. Required Permits
    4. Commissioning Forms
    5. Installation Checklists
    6. Operation and Maintenance Documentation

Testing and Commissioning the System

  1. Final Installation Checklist
  2. Visual Inspection
  3. Verification of Code Compliance
  4. Electrical System Verification Testing
  5. System Functioning Testing
  6. Verify Array Power and Energy Production against STC
  7. Derating Factor Components

System Maintenance and Troubleshooting

  1. Monitoring Performance
  2. Typical Systems Problems and how to Correct Them
  3. System Maintenance

 

 

 

Registration is limited to 10 students.  This course is offered 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, installation tool kit, ETA examination, and (in most 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.


About the Instructor:

Jay Warmke is the author of a number of textbooks on renewable energy, including Green Technology: Principles and Practices (Marcraft), Solar Photovoltaic

Installer Certification Guide (Marcraft), Wind Turbine Installer Certification Guide (Marcraft), When the Biomass Hits the Wind Turbine (BRS Media),

Understanding Photovoltaics: A Study Guide for Solar Electric Certification Programs (BRS Media), and many more. Jay also serves as National Chairman:

SkillsUSA Sustainable Solutions Contest, Vice President: Green Energy Ohio, Committee Member: Electronic Technician's Association Renewable Energy

Committee. He also teaches renewable energy at COTC (Central Ohio Technical College), and the Train-the-Trainer program for Marcraft. Jay was also

named the 2013 ETA Educator of the Year.

 

About the Electronics Technicians Association, International 
(ETA® International)

Founded in 1978 by electronics technicians, ETA International is a not-for-profit 501(c) 6, worldwide association whose mission is to represent and support the technical professional. ETA aligns with international standards, vocational and education curriculums, and businesses’ resource initiatives through certification programs, conferences, speaking engagements, and book and journal publications.

ETA Membership:
ETA International members are professionals in all technical fields, including fiber optics, smarthome, renewable energy, customer service, biomedical, computer and computer networking, telecommunications, wireless communications, consumer electronics, video distribution, aviation, industrial electronics, radar, and satellite. Members range in occupation from college professors to beginner installers and technicians to company chairpersons. Learn more about ETA membership.

Our Certification Programs
Recognizing the need to verify that fellow electronics technicians had sufficient training in industry standards, including troubleshooting techniques, knowledge of test equipment, and installation procedures, ETA began providing third-party assessment through its own certification programs in 1978. Aligning with the ISO 17024 standards, and collaborating with education providers and industry professionals, ETA certifications test the knowledge and hands-on skills needed in today’s electronics industry. The organization currently has Stand-Alone Certifications and Journeyman Certifications for more than 80 certification programs in all electronics-related fields.

ETA tests and certifies thousands of technicians and industry specialists each year. The organization has its own Board of Directors, more than 600 subject matter experts serving on various certification advisory committees, a professional certification administration staff, training facilities, and more than 1,000 exam/certification administrators. ETA actively supports training and education through the development of study guides, technical monographs and seminars, as well as working with a large number of ETA-approved schools and courses.

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 NABCEP PV certification program.  More information available at http://eta-i.org.