The Glass-Slapper's Guide to Solar Power

Learn the latest in solar design at your own pace.

Register to take our program for a completion certificate.

Interact through our Slack community - you will receive an emailed invite upon registration.

Over 24 hours registered with NABCEP including 6 Hours NEC.

We constantly update our program and take your feedback seriously.

Requires computer and internet access, including the ability to stream videos with audio

We do not recommend streaming our videos over a mobile data plan.

ENGINEERS AND ARCHITECTS - continuing education depends on the state, just ask!

OSHA - we are not currently registered to provide OSHA certificates

NABCEP - we meet 100% of PV continuing education requirements, just ask!

About the Author

John Cromer has worked in solar power since 2008, after working in oil refining as a control systems engineer. He is a Mechanical Engineer, NABCEP PV Installation Professional, Residential Building Contractor, and Master Electrician.  He bases his content on projects installed in Mississippi - which does not have net-metering.

Description:

Solar power will transform our electric grid, for projects both large and small. This program covers USA rooftop solar projects and policy, to help you develop your design philosophy as you approach your future solar projects.

I wrote this program for a technical audience seeking to advance their knowledge and skills in the solar industry, in order to reduce project cost and increase project value. It is a popular continuing education option for architects, engineers, NABCEP, and other building professionals. While not intended as an exam preparation course, having passed those exams myself, I find that nothing beats comprehensive understanding of best work practices to prepare for any solar technical challenge. We are here to help.

Assessment Criterion:

Each section has identified learning objectives. There will be four questions which are intended to assess comprehension of the learning objective. While these questions are not intended to test your trade professionalism, they will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the design philosophies discussed in class. Because we work to to waste anyone’s time, our course completion quiz presents a challenge to even the most formidable solar installer who has not taken our program. Any section quizzes should not take longer than 5 minutes to complete. The course quiz should not take more than 30 minutes to complete.

1GLSP. Solar Power Design and Cost 6 Hours (Solar Part I+II) 

Registered with NABCEP for PV 6 JTA

This comprehensive yet accessible program serves as an introduction to rooftop solar. It is not for the faint of heart. You will learn performance estimation, material selection, design fundamentals, and by the end of class, have designed an entire residential solar project pretty darn close to permit ready. If you are wanting to get a leg-up on any solar related exams, this program provides unique training content that you will not find anywhere else.

Learning objectives:

Perform an array layout and performance estimate.

Understand equipment selection and specification sheets.

Identify common design calculations asked on solar exams.

Prepare a project permit package and simple payback analysis.

Outline:

A. Performance Estimation

B. Solar Modules

C. Array Layout

D. Racking and Structural

E. Inverters

F. Balance of System Components

G. Economics

H. Batteries

I. Remote Analysis / Design Software

J. Rooftop Installation

2GLSP. Solar Design Lab - 6 Hours (prev- Design Your Solar Roof) 

NOT NABCEP registered. Skip this section if taking for NABCEP recertification.

Get a behind-the-desk view of a residential solar designer, and then use the online resources discussed to implement your own project. Receive coaching through our interactive chat community. Complete a design and permit package to receive credit for this lab. You may customize it to your own jobsite.

Learning objectives:

Identify usable roof surfaces.

Build a shading model.

Consider other site issues.

Assemble a permit document (free, requires credit card).

Outline:

A. Pencil and Paper method with Google Earth

B. Module and Inverter Electrical Systems

C. Residential interconnection options

D. Balance of System Material Review

E. Going from Array Layout to Racking Bill of Material

F. Generating permit package documents

G. Computer Assisted Design Examples

3GLSP. Introduction to Batteries (Batteries Part I+II).

4GLSP. Solar Code Review - NEC 6 Hours (major update coming soon)  

Registered with NABCEP for PV 6 NEC

This one is a 6 hour “start to finish” review of NEC starting at the very beginning. It’s a little dry after a few iterations and we’re doing to revise it soon to focus more on PV site evaluations and inspections. We will add content based on Residential Building Code that is particularly relevant to solar and passing the Residential Builder exam, while keeping us compliant with NABCEP’s 2019 continuing education hour requirements.

Description: Safety codes are not simply a book of rules to memorize and follow, but are driven by physical realities which are applied to the entire facility electrical and structural system - not just the solar scope! Comprehensive understanding of safety code fundamentals will not only make code memorization easier, but also and drive innovation in your solar design.

Learning Objectives:

Perform a start-to-finish review of USA National Electric Code 2017

Identify vocabulary used in common roof structures.

Understand how electrical fault protections work.

Evaluate solar installation techniques for code compliance.

5GLSP. 100% Off-Grid Residential Master Class (new) - 6 Hours.

Registered with NABCEP for PV 6 JTA 

This class is new, created with an advanced student in mind.

Description: ​Designing a full-sized residential off-grid home can intimidate even the most experienced solar professionals.  Even solar manufacturers fail to support concepts such as combining multiple battery chemistries, inverter types, and monitoring systems to achieve a double-redundant system designs. Complicating this further, not all grid-connected batteries are sufficient for running solar homes off-grid. Yet the only way for a customer not to be subject to punitive utility solar policy is to go off-grid entirely!  If you want to disrupt your market with value engineered off-grid design, this course is for you.

Learning Objectives:

Understand rate structure trends which are devalue consumer-owned solar.

Size an off-grid system based on monthly electric bills

Learn the differences between grid-tied and off-grid solar batteries.

Explore “Smart Home” load control system options.

                                   

A. Why go off grid?

B. Sizing Example

C. Battery Selection and Cost          

        D. Inverter Selection and Cost                        

E. Control Room Layout

F. Other Project Considerations and Budget

6GLSP. Commercial “Solar Peaker” Batteries - 7 Hours - coming very soon

The commercial solar battery market is the fastest growing, most cost-effective industry market segment within the United States. ​Unlike off-grid design, a commercial solar battery may only be used a few hours a month to achieve maximum system payback. Knowledge of project financing can overcome financial considerations of the site host. Each commercial load profile tells a story of the facility’s energy use. Learn how to understand that story, to right-size a commercial solar battery for maximum profit!

Learning Objectives:

Explore how behind-the-meter solar batteries optimize commercial electric rate structures

Size a solar array and battery based on project requirements.

Select the right battery chemistry for the application.

Understand system components and cost

Learn how to "Right Size" a Solar Peaker for cost-effectiveness

Identify differences between off-grid, backup, and grid-tie design practices

Understand nuances between equipment financing and revenue modeling

Introduce community solar concepts as a source of project funding.

Outline:

  1. Why solar batteries disrupt commercial rooftop markets
  2. Sizing a lithium ion battery to reduce peak demand
  3. Sizing the solar array to charge the battery
  4. Updates of commercial system components and budgets         
  5. Optimizing the model for maximum cost-effectiveness
  6. Disaster preparedness considerations
  7. Conventional financial modeling
  8. Community Solar program design

7GLSP. Battery Design Lab (coming 2019)

NOT NABCEP registered. Skip this section if taking for NABCEP recertification.

Get a behind-the-desk view of a solar battery designer by designing a battery bank custom to your residential or commercial building load profile. Receive coaching through our interactive chat community including a 1-on-1 consultation with the instructor. Complete a solar and battery design and permit package to receive credit for this lab, including an economic analysis. You may reuse the solar design from 2GLSP.

Learning objectives:

Identify battery location.

Build a sizing model.

Consider economic issues.

Complete the one line diagram

Outline:

A. Size a solar battery using monthly consumption data and PVWatts

B. Adjust for load profile assumptions

D. Create a line item budget

C. Perform an economic analysis using PVWatts or EnergyToolBase (free trial)

E. Finalize your one line diagram

8GLSP. OSHA10 for Solar Installers - (coming 2019)

 

2019 Roadmap (based on student feedback):

  1. Add ability to stop/resume videos at a certain section and then resume.
  2. Add audio files with slides to reduce streaming data
  3. Edit auto-closed captioning
  4. Catalog slides to reduce content redundancy
  5. Add 2 hours building code to NEC to meet 2020 NABCEP continuing ed. changes
  6. Revise NEC section to focus more on solar site inspections