Delaware County Community College, Serving Delaware and Chester Counties

ELT 208 - Solar Photovoltaic System Design and Installation

Course Description

This International Renewable Energy Council (IREC) focused course is designed to introduce students to grid tied photovoltaic (PV) systems. In this course, students will learn the benefits of a grid tied system and the positive impact on the environment these systems can have. At the conclusion of this course, students will have the basic knowledge and understanding in design and installation of residential and commercial buildings. This course is patterned after the Job Task Analysis set by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Entry-Level Solar PV exam and also fulfills the prerequisite of related experience and education required to sit for the industry certification. The certification is not included in the course.

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the safety requirements applicable to solar PV system installation and maintenance, including electrical, work-site, and personal safety.
Accurately interpret and apply the National Electrical Code to solar PV system design and installation, with emphasis on a thorough working knowledge of NEC Article 690 “Solar Photovoltaic Systems", and PV system grounding & bonding, overcurrent protection, wire and conduit type and sizing, and PV system labeling.
Identify PV system monitoring and maintenance needs, and specify service procedures and schedule to keep a system operating safely and efficiently throughout service life.
Identify the appropriate layout, orientation, and mounting method for the modules/array, inverters, and other system components, with attention to electrical efficiency, mechanical integrity, site requirements, maintenance access, and safety.
Conduct an accurate site survey to determine location suitability for a solar PV system, including adequate solar access, sufficient area and structure, proper orientation, and options for placement of PV modules, inverters, and other equipment.
Install inverters, charge controllers, disconnects and overcurrent protection devices, meters, surge protection and grounding equipment, junction boxes, batteries and enclosures, system monitoring equipment, conduit, and other system hardware in conformance with equipment manufacturers' guidelines, the system design, the NEC, the utility company, and the local authority having jurisdiction.
Draw a basic site plan, showing site details and equipment layout.
Obtain and accurately interpret solar radiation and temperature data for the site and solar PV module and inverter performance specifications, determine customer energy use and needs, and then calculate the required PV system output and configure a solar PV system from available components to produce the required output.
Determine the local requirements for utility interconnection, and select an appropriate utility interconnection point and method in conformance with the local utility company, the local authority having jurisdiction, and the NEC.
Identify opportunities to reduce energy demand through building performance and/or electric equipment upgrades in order to optimize PV system size and create an efficient, integrated electrical system.
Calculate design voltages and currents for all circuits within the PV system, and select the appropriate conductor type and rating for each circuit, taking into account all de-rating factors and voltage drop.
Verify that the array operating voltages and currents are within the operating limits for the inverters or charge controllers that the capacity and insulation ratings of all conductors conform to NEC requirements, and that voltage drop losses are within acceptable limits.
Determine the proper size, rating, and location for PV system overcurrent protection and disconnect devices, and for all grounding, bonding, surge suppression, and lightning arrest equipment.
Draw complete one-line and three-line wiring diagrams for grid-tied and off-grid solar PV systems.
Properly identify and connect all system equipment, conduit and conductors, specify conduit and conductor type and size, and specify location and text of all NEC required labels.
Individually inspect and test PV modules, install module mounting and support structure per manufacturers' recommendations and design, insuring proper structural attachment and weather sealing, and install modules and interconnect wiring with attention to electrical safety and code compliance.
Install, label, and terminate all electrical wiring, verify proper connections, phase/polarity relationships, and continuity, and measure impedance of the grounding system.
Identify the appropriate layout, orientation, and mounting method for the modules/array, inverters, and other system components, with attention to electrical efficiency, mechanical integrity, site requirements, maintenance access, and safety.
Conduct an accurate site survey to determine location suitability for a solar PV system, including adequate solar access, sufficient area and structure, proper orientation, and options for placement of PV modules, inverters, and other equipment.
Install inverters, charge controllers, disconnects and overcurrent protection devices, meters, surge protection and grounding equipment, junction boxes, batteries and enclosures, system monitoring equipment, conduit, and other system hardware in conformance with equipment manufacturers' guidelines, the system design, the NEC, the utility company, and the local authority having jurisdiction.
Draw a basic site plan, showing site details and equipment layout.
Obtain and accurately interpret solar radiation and temperature data for the site and solar PV module and inverter performance specifications, determine customer energy use and needs, and then calculate the required PV system output and configure a solar PV system from available components to produce the required output.
Determine the local requirements for utility interconnection, and select an appropriate utility interconnection point and method in conformance with the local utility company, the local authority having jurisdiction, and the NEC.
Identify opportunities to reduce energy demand through building performance and/or electric equipment upgrades in order to optimize PV system size and create an efficient, integrated electrical system.
Calculate design voltages and currents for all circuits within the PV system, and select the appropriate conductor type and rating for each circuit, taking into account all de-rating factors and voltage drop.
Verify that the array operating voltages and currents are within the operating limits for the inverters or charge controllers that the capacity and insulation ratings of all conductors conform to NEC requirements, and that voltage drop losses are within acceptable limits.
Determine the proper size, rating, and location for PV system overcurrent protection and disconnect devices, and for all grounding, bonding, surge suppression, and lightning arrest equipment.
Draw complete one-line and three-line wiring diagrams for grid-tied and off-grid solar PV systems.
Properly identify and connect all system equipment, conduit and conductors, specify conduit and conductor type and size, and specify location and text of all NEC required labels.
Individually inspect and test PV modules, install module mounting and support structure per manufacturers' recommendations and design, insuring proper structural attachment and weather sealing, and install modules and interconnect wiring with attention to electrical safety and code compliance.
Install, label, and terminate all electrical wiring, verify proper connections, phase/polarity relationships, and continuity, and measure impedance of the grounding system.
Measure PV system performance and operating parameters, compare with equipment specifications and design calculations, and assess the operating condition of the system.
Perform diagnostic tests to isolate the cause of deficiencies or malfunctions, and specify corrective action.
Disconnect PV system from all power sources to allow for safe servicing or replacement of equipment.
Identify applicable local, state, and federal incentive or rebate programs, determine the requirements for application, approval, installation, maintenance, and system monitoring and metering, and integrate all requirements into the PV system design and installation.
Identify required documentation and record-keeping to insure compliance with such programs.

Credit Hours: 3
Lecture Hours: 2
Lab Hours: 2

Course Prerequisites: ELT 112 and ELT 116 or Certified Electrical License