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2013 Solar PV Training

GEO Offers PV Certification Training Course in Westerville on November 11-15, 2013

GEO will offer photovoltaic (PV) certification training courses across the state. The first of these offerings is slated for the week of November 11-15 at Westerville Electric Division. The second week-long class will be offered in the Dayton area during February.

Topics covered in this five-day training course includes instruction in:

• Basic Principles and Concepts of Power
• Passive Versus Active Solar Systems
• Basic Principles and Concepts of Photovoltaics
• Photovoltaic System Components
• Standard System Configurations
• Site Assessment
• Designing a PV System
• Battery Systems

The first offering will be the week of November 11-15 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Westerville Electric Division, 139 East Broadway Avenue, Westerville, Ohio 43081. Call GEO at 614.985.6131 to register or for more information.

Cost for the course is $920 for GEO members (includes the $150 ETA certification examination fee), $970 for non GEO members. As part of the course registration, you will also be provided with a PV installation tool kit (multi-meter, wire crimpers, wire strippers, etc) as well as a course instruction textbook. Lunches will be provided.  REGISTER HERE

GEO PV Certification Training November 11-15 in Westerville


  • Those interested in beginning a career in PV installation (the ETA Level 1 certification is a great entry-level certification  and is designed to ultimately prepare students for NABCEP certification after they have worked in the industry for a few years.
  • Home owners interested in installing their own system.
  • Business owners who may be considering PV installations in the future.
  • Architects and engineers who wish to know a bit more about PV and how to integrate it into their designs.
  • RV and boat enthusiasts who want to integrate PV into their recreational vehicles.
  • Individuals who work on remote monitoring devices that rely on PV to operate.
  • Those seeking to enter the Peace Corp who want a “leg up” when working on systems in remote locations.
  • Those wanting to build their ideal “cabin in the woods” and get away from it all.
  • Science teachers who need a strong background in PV and alternative energy.
  • Or simply those who want to expand their knowledge about this growing industry.

At the conclusion of this course, you can sit for the ETA (Electronic Technician's Association) internationally recognized Level 1 Photovoltaic certification exam.  See more on ETA at bottom of this web page.

Industry experts have asserted that last year, 2012, was the year that PV reached grid parity.  It is now, for the first time in history, less expensive to install your own PV system than to continue to purchase electricity from the grid.  And prices continue to fall. 

Currently 30-60% of the cost of installing a small residential PV system is in the design and installation of the system – in other words, the labor.  So if you have thought of changing careers and trying your hand at PV installation, or wish of save a bit of money by installing your own PV system, or simply want to understand this technology that has come of age, this introductory course may be for you.  It is also ideal for business owners who are considering installing a PV system and want to be able to converse intelligently with contractors. 

This 5-day program is designed to take the student through all the theory surrounding PV, as well as the hands-on practical “nuts and bolts” of installing a system.  And relax, this training assumes you know absolutely nothing about photovoltaics, or electricity.  But you certainly will by the end of the week.   REGISTER HERE

Nationally-Recognized Instructor for Class
Jay Warmke
, GEO Board Vice-President and co-owner of Blue Rock Station at Philo, Ohio, Jay is an ETA instructor and author of several books on renewable energy.  Jay received the ETA Educator of the Year Award (2014) on October 17, 2013.  Read more about Jay's view of this PV Class - CLICK HERE.

This 5-day training course includes instruction in:

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

Passive Versus Active Solar Systems
     1.Orientation of the Sun
           1.Reflected light
           3.Light tubes
           4.Clerestory windows
     3.Passive solar heating
           1.Thermal mass
           2.Black body radiation
           3.Comfort zone
           4.Specific heat capacity
           5.Thermal storage capacity
           6.Thermal lag
           7.Thermal cycle
           8.Direct, Indirect and Isolated solar gain
     4.Passive solar cooling
           2.Convective cooling
           3.Increased air flow
           4.Evaporative cooling

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
           3.Battery system
           5.Maximum Power Point tracking

Standard system configurations
     1.Stand-alone system
     2.Grid-tied systems
     3.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.Available area
                   2.Structural integrity
                   3.Stand off requirements
                   4.Loading issues
                   5.Inter row shading
           2.Ground mounted
                   1.Top pole
                   2.Side pole
                   3.Tracking systems
           3.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
            3.Measuring state of charge
      9.Battery safety issues


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, smart homes, 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.

ETA's 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 .