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Welcome to SunCam

SunCam: Online Continuing Education Classes

155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction

By: Randy S. Wilder, PE

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Course Objective

This continuing education course is written specifically for professional engineers with the objective of relating to and enhancing the practice of engineering.

Course Description

155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction

This course is basically a detailed type of course for contractors and professionals that work closely with contractors or monitor the installations… a guide of what's behind all those component covers, how they are connected, grounded, protected, what goes where, etc. It includes installation tips that many contractors simply aren't familiar with or don't worry about in their haste to complete the job and get paid.

Note: The course assumes that you have a working knowledge of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) design and are familiar with the terminology and components found in a typical system. This course is intended to provide an introduction to the installation of a solar PV system for a small structure. The design and basic explanations of a solar power system are not included in this course but are found in the first two courses:

070-Solar Power Design for Small Structures - An Introduction and 089-Solar Power Systems - Inspecting and Evaluating

Obviously, the course doesn't cover the installation of all the products manufactured today but does cover a complete off-grid solar system installation that can be used as a reference for the different products available today.

Detailed course outline with timeline

  • 11 Minutes — Introduction
  • 5 Minutes — Safety
  • 11 Minutes — Needed Items
  • 21 Minutes — Course Project
  • 21 Minutes — Panel Mounts
  • 37 Minutes — Solar Panels
  • 11 Minutes — PV Combiner
  • 11 Minutes — Electrical Disconnect Box
  • 11 Minutes — Charge Controller
  • 12 Minutes — Batteries
  • 11 Minutes — Inverter
  • 21 Minutes — Breaker Boxes
  • 11 Minutes — Grounding
  • 5 Minutes — Summary
  • 40 Minutes - The Test
155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Len Kafer
06/18/2018
Verified Buyer
Part V was well done.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Richard Kartchner
06/15/2018
Verified Buyer
Loved the way the course material followed the exam questions making it easier to get the answers and learn the material. also acceptability of certificate in all 50 states is a real bonus for me.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Barry Heard
06/14/2018
Verified Buyer
Was great intro course
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Nathaniel Reece, P.E.
01/01/2018
Verified Buyer
Five Stars. We need more like this. I use information from SunCam courses often when designing systems
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Robert Bishop
12/26/2017
Very good course: I will use to evaluate the installation of the Solar PV system at our location. outstanding.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
bobby simpson
12/26/2017
Verified Buyer
great course for a greener world.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Dennis Urgento
12/08/2017
Verified Buyer
good practical information
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Jon Heath
10/05/2017
Verified Buyer
Another very practical sort of course by this author, who uses photos of the installation of PV panels and a small off-grid system to clarify and explain the steps to a good and trouble-free installation. Very good class.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Fred Infortunio
09/03/2017
Well written easy to follow. Thank you.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Kay Clinard
05/01/2017
Verified Buyer
Good course...a lot of detail
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Michael George
02/27/2017
Verified Buyer
Practical coverage of the topic, clearly written with good linkage to the test.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Paul Bodenstein
02/22/2017
Verified Buyer
Well written and covered the basic information.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
kleser
02/19/2017
Verified Buyer
Good Course. Easy to follow. Liked the use of Photos and Diagrams. Wish all the diagrams were labeled since they didn't seem to exactly follow the text. Very informative.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Dan Sp.
02/19/2017
Verified Buyer
Excellent course, with pictures and diagrams. I would recommend to anyone interested in installing or checking a solar power installation. (I've taken the four other courses on solar power by this author.) The description of connections was a bit tedious and could have been handled better by labeling the diagrams better and then referring to the diagram. It's pretty easy to follow and could be expanded a bit time-wise. Overall, an excellent course and well worth my time.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
02/18/2017
Verified Buyer
Excellent course. I enjoyed it. Congratulations to Mr. Wilder.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Steve
02/13/2017
Verified Buyer
Good details for small solar installations.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
ANDREW BIRTOK
02/12/2017
Verified Buyer
Very good course...I don't deal with PV systems regularly but, as a PE, I want to at least know - and be able to speak intelligently - about them. These 5 courses by RW certainly are a great intro to the subject....As with almost all SunCam courses, the material could use a little more proofreading and editing. Other than that, nice job!
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Bruce
02/11/2017
Verified Buyer
Good intro, would have liked to have seen attachment example for concrete tiled roofs as well though.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Dayton Amey
02/11/2017
Verified Buyer
I liked the structure of the course based on a realistic example. Using real components from typical manufactures is good as well. Good level of detail. Got me thinking !!
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Suresh Gupta
02/10/2017
Verified Buyer
Most of the course was easy to follow. Some of the diagrams were not labeled as written in text.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
John B.Martin
02/09/2017
Verified Buyer
Very informative.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Richard Ward
01/08/2017
Verified Buyer
Good basic course on installing a solar PV, off-grid system. These general principles, apply to installing grid-tie systems, as well
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Richard Ward
01/08/2017
Verified Buyer
Very good basic course on installing a solar PV system, using a off-grid system, as an example.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
LM Cherwa
12/30/2016
Verified Buyer
Coarse was informative and logical to follow.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Peter Fontane
12/28/2016
Verified Buyer
Great Illustrations and pictures which made it very understandable.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Nelson Hellmuth
12/27/2016
Verified Buyer
I have enjoyed all of the solar courses. A lot of good information presented in an easy to understand and fun way. Need more solar courses!
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
H. Michael Richards
11/30/2016
Verified Buyer
Have completed all five (5) modules and have been very well pleased with content and amount of information provided.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Ken Cook
11/17/2016
Verified Buyer
Coarse was well presented and focused on installation specifics. Well done.
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155-Solar Power Part V
Stephen Vadas, Ph.D.
07/28/2016
Verified Buyer
The course content was accurate and covered all major components, but rather elementary. I would like to see greater engineering design and thought processes included in a four hour course.
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Solar Power V - Installing Systems
Anonymous reviewer
12/29/2015
Verified Buyer
Very practical explanation for the installation of a solar panel system.
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155-Solar Power Part 5
Anonymous reviewer
12/13/2015
Verified Buyer
This was an excellent practical guide on how to install a simple solar system. It was complete, had great pictures and diagrams, and was easy to understand.
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155-Solar Power Part V - Installing Systems - An Introduction
Anonymous reviewer
11/30/2015
Verified Buyer
Well written and easy to follow
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Applicability
Pedro Alberto Saenz Tabares
08/27/2015
Verified Buyer
EXCELLENT!
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(no title provided)
anonymous
07/13/2015
Met my needs perfectly
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
06/15/2015
This course provided both a good review from all the previous courses and also a very good layout of the installation of all the components, showing them in their installed positions.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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Adaptive for the beginer
Jin. K
06/09/2015
It's well organized structure to understand sytem componenets and step-by-step installation procedure.
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(no title provided)
Doug Riddle
04/21/2015
The discussion was very clear; easy to follow; and it covered all the main components of a solar system installation as well as adding several good tips.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
02/12/2015
Test is very productive, to the poinr, and excellent.
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(no title provided)
Carl Clayton
12/18/2014
Course is very informative and easy to follow. Would recommend question 24 of the test and page 34, 1st paragraph, last sentence of the text to read "Never mix AC and DC voltages in a single box". Different voltage levels can be derived in a single box. Just a minor point that could be confusing.
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Great Introductory Course
Dan
12/06/2014
This is a great introductory course on the installation of a small off-grid solar power system. I would recommend it for someone who is new to solar power systems. It would also be very beneficial for anyone desiring to install a similar system on their personal property or otherwise. My suggestion for improvement would be to have labels pointing to all wiring connections in the pictures, especially since the electrician did not follow the proper color coding (as was pointed out in the text).
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
P. K. Patel
11/25/2014
The course is presented in easy to understand format. The explanation is simple and through. The test covers all the knowledge required to understand the course.
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(no title provided)
JOSE COLL
11/06/2014
I deem that the course is excellent. Its short consise and very

straigh forward. I would recommend this course for every electrical engineer.
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No TitleNew commer
anonymous
10/18/2014
am a new comer to solar systems and I found the course interesting.
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(no title provided)
Bob G.
10/14/2014
Essential information for making PV installations. Effects of temperature on array output might be a good consideration as well. Design consideration that is important; however, this should have been covered in Design Plans
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(no title provided)
anonymous
10/09/2014
A good primer on the subject matter. The illustrations aren't always easy to match to the text, but after a little study they actually provide additional information to what is in the text.
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(no title provided)
Carl Ginsbach
08/28/2014
I enjoyed the course very much. I am a retired electric utility distribution engineer, and I like to understand how things go together; otherwise, as you mentioned, anything looks good on paper. A good engineer must know how the rubber is likely to meet the road when he is designing a project.

I was wondering the function of the surge arrester. I assumed it was to protect the solar array from a voltage transient that could originate anywhere downstream from the solar array. That was not mentioned in the course, or I missed it.

Do the temperature sensor wires from the Charge Controller connect to the battery + terminal via a thermocouple? I assumed that; otherwise, how can the Charge Controller know the temperature of the battery bank? That was not mentioned in the course, or I missed it.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
08/09/2014
Good introduction to installing the solar system. Provides good information to assure contractors are doing correct job and best

installation.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
06/30/2014
Extremely helpful! Will highly recommend.
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Best Course Yet
GSL
06/02/2014
Outstanding job! The course contained all the information I needed to install a solar power system for a small building. It could not be clearer. A very useful and practical course. Thank you very much.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
05/24/2014
I liked how the author structured the course and didn't use tricky wording on the test worksheet. The course was very informative and I plan on building a similar system soon.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
05/12/2014
Thoroughly enjoyed this course. Had little experience with Solar but this was a great source of info and easy to follow. Logical flow, love the format with sample test, allowed for review.
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(no title provided)
Mariano Molina
03/04/2014
It is excellent. It will be useful for my beach house solar project in addition to my PE continuing education

Thanks
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(no title provided)
anonymous
02/26/2014
Good introductory course
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Worthwhile Training!
James T. Green
12/30/2013
I really enjoyed this training. It was practical and very informative. Although I am not an expert on PV solar systems, I feel that this introduction has prepared me well to be effective if I were ever to be involved with the design and installation of such systems. Kudos SunCam! This is a winner. I look forward to completing the rest of the series.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
12/18/2013
The course material was interesting, well prepared and contained excellent photos and comments that tied the two together to form a great teaching tool in an easy to follow mode. The test questions followed the course outline closely, which made it easy to refer back to, for confirmation of the learned material.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
11/26/2013
It was informative. I did not take the Solar Power Design course as reccommended or I would probably got more out of it.
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Good practical course
Larry D. Harrell
10/27/2013
After this course of study, I could install a system! Thanks!

A list of items to purchase would speed up an installation.
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(no title provided)
Jerry Graham
07/19/2013
Generally a very good course. I am new to solar panel installation and I feel I learned a lot. Would like to know more about cost and power rating. These items may have been in 2 earlier course that I did not take.

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(no title provided)
anonymous
07/18/2013
Great informative course as I am into systems consulting. One stop shopping and a great follow-on for future jobs.

SunCam Comment: Portions of this review were deleted because they reveled the answers to questions.
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Installing solar Power systems
Luke Turgeon
07/15/2013
On par with other online PE credits in term of content but at a much better price. Although I dont intend to install solar panels the course contained a significant amount of condense information that may come in handy. Such as solar panels can be electrically dangerous if not properly handled.
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(no title provided)
Leopoldo D Leon
07/13/2013
The test was at the level of an installer. This may cause an engineer some confusion. You are correct in your statement on choices for installation. I believe that there are different ways of installing, but installations should always be sound, based on engineering principles, code compliant and of course safe. Connections to common points can be made in a few different ways to accomplish your goal.
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Helpful but Weak
anonymous
07/13/2013
While the course is a good primer for a real install, and helpful, for ENGINEERS there is no discussion of WHY the system was designed as you show, and seems illogical: Your diagram shows 3 panels wired in series, but there are two leads from 4 panels coming to the Combiner, presumably 24V x 2 each, for a 48V system. Why choose 48V to charge a 12V battery bank? 24V would have less I2R losses. You mention inclination angles, but perhaps you could give examples of the range of angles for US installs, mention that the panels must face south, and that +/-45 degrees to vertical is much more important for total absorbed power than having a clear sun path at greater angles. Perhaps I should bias higher to get more power in the winter when there is less irradiance, and worry about letting the panels be higher than the roof peak because of wind loading.

Author Response: The discussion of WHY it was designed as shown was omitted intentionally so as to focus on the installation. The purpose of the course is to give engineers a better understanding of the installation process beyond a "draw a line from Box A to Box B". Many, if not most, engineers would be lost trying to actually install one of their own designs. They understand the principles but it's easier to draw a line on paper than it is to actually run the line & make the correct connections. Many have never even seen the connection points or where they're located. Even with this installation, the connections could be different if we used different models/manufacturers/etc. But staying with the basics... and choosing a simple installation... was the best way for me to develop the course. Obviously, each installation is different with different challenges / considerations / complexities. It would be impossible for me to include every consideration for every installation in a single 4-hour introductory course.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
06/03/2013
Good and informative course
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(no title provided)
anonymous
11/20/2012
Pretty basic material especially for engineers.



SunCam Comment: That's why it is titled "An Introduction".
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(no title provided)
Miguel Restrepo
10/23/2012
Great course, very practical and somewhat new for my expertise. Highly recommended.
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Installing Solar Power Systems
anonymous
10/18/2012
Great course, easy to understand and the test was very comprehension.

Recomend this course to other PEs.
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For fastest service please enter your question or issue in the text box below. Enter your name and email address so we can reply to your question or concern. Be sure to give us enough info to identify the course or order that you need help with.

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Important: We sent a receipt email to the address provided. If you do not receive that email, we did not receive your message.