Solar Energy Basics

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This course gives you an introduction to the fundamentals of solar power as it applies to solar panel system installations. You will learn to compare solar energy to other energy resources and explain how solar panels, or photovoltaics (PV for short), convert sunlight to electricity. You will be able to identify the key components needed in a basic photovoltaic (solar panel) system, such as is found on a house or building, and explain the function of each component in the system. You will also learn how to calculate the electrical demand of a building, how to reduce the overall demand, and then how to design a solar panel system that can meet that annual demand at a given location. You will also compare the different types of pricing models that are being used and key regulatory considerations for grid tied systems (where a house or building is connected to the electrical grid and also generates electricity from solar panels). A capstone design project that entails both the simple audit of a building to determine demand, and a selection of components to design a solar panel system to meet that demand.