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Solar Energy Fundamentals: Engineering, Policy, and Deployment

This course provides a comprehensive analysis of solar photovoltaics (PV) as a clean energy solution. Gain an introduction to solar systems engineering, policy and regulatory drivers, and deployment drivers. In the systems engineering segment, learn the science behind photovoltaic modules and their arrangement in series and parallel combinations to form arrays, inverter power electronics, and highlight racking equipment for rooftop deployments. An introduction to the technical evaluation of installations will closely follow the industry-standard NABCEP system design criteria. The widespread adoption of this technology is dependent on a variety of major policy and regulatory drivers, such as federal incentives (ITC, depreciation), state incentives (RECs, rebates, net metering, etc.), and decreasing system costs that support evaluating the commercial deployment of solar energy today. Using industry standards, consider different deployment scenarios and apply simple technical and financial evaluation metrics. Tools used will include NREL’s PVWatts and Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST).

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You'll Walk Away with

  • An understanding of system components and key design criteria of solar photovoltaics
  • The ability to use the NABCEP study guide as a reference for further learning
  • The tools to apply simple design, policy, and financial metrics for basic deployment evaluation via NREL’s PVWatts and CREST tools

Ideal for

  • Students interested in clean energy solutions, including those who may be considering a residential solar installation
  • Professionals in sectors such as public policy, architecture, urban planning, and real estate who would benefit from a comprehensive overview of this leading renewable energy technology

1 section