Grid-Connected PV Systems Design Course

AUD 695.00

This self-paced online course gives students the skills and knowledge to design a grid connected (grid tied) solar (PV) system in accordance with IEC standards. It also provides knowledge on the installation requirements for a grid connected PV  system in accordance with IEC standards and industry best practices.

The course is based on and includes our eBook: International Grid-Connected PV Systems: Design and Installation First Edition.  Hard copy books are available upon request.

The course covers the Standard : IEC62548: Installation of PV Arrays. The standard is not included in the course.

Participants who complete the course will receive a digital certificate of completion from GSES.

If the participants are located in the Pacific islands the certificate will state that they have successfully completed the registered Unit Standard:
PPAGC100 Designer of Grid Connected PV Systems
listed in the Pacific Qualifications and Standards Register (PQSR).

Note: The Australian version of this course is available for those people located in the Pacific region that follow Australia and New Zealand Standards.

The material in the online course also covers all the theory relating to the installation of grid-connected PV systems, however, to complete the installation section of the course requires attending a 3-4 day practical session. A quotation could be provided for conducting this course in your country.


All course participants should have the following skills:

  • Some knowledge of safe work practices;
  • Minimum Senior Secondary School maths (or in-country equivalent) skills for solving standard problems; and
  • Minimum Senior Secondary School English (or in-country equivalent) and reading skills.

All course participants must be able to read and understand English.

It is preferred that the participants already have knowledge and skills in:

  • Electricity, electrical terms, and common formulae;
  • Working knowledge of tools and meters used in installation and maintenance of electrical systems; and
  • Basic customer education and service practices.

Though having these skills is preferred, the attendees can learn some of these skills during the online course or with extra work while completing the course.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes are based on both the Australian endorsed Units of Competencies:

  1. Solve basic problems in photovoltaic energy apparatus and systems
  2. Design grid connected photovoltaic power supply systems
  3. Install, configure and commission LV grid connected photovoltaic power systems

And  the following training unit standards that are accredited under the Pacific Islands Education Qualifications and Assessments Programme

  • Designer of Grid Connected PV Systems; and
  • Installer of Grid Connected PV Systems .

However, Since the course does not include a practical hands-on installation session, it is only the theory of installation that is covered, and no assessment is undertaken on the practical skills of the student in installing a system.

Design of Grid Connected PV systems:

  1. Knowledge of Occupational Health and Safety
  2. Understanding Energy Concepts
  3. Determining Solar Resources
  4. Undertaking a Site Visit
  5. Understanding System Components
  6. Undertaking System Design
  7. Undertaking Economic Analysis
  8. Interpreting Technical Standards
  9. Developing Documentation

Installation of Grid Connected PV systems

  1. Working Safely with Grid Connected Photovoltaic Systems
  2. Interpreting System Design and System Drawings
  3. Understanding installation requirements of the different components of the system
  4. Specifying all system cabling, system disconnection and protection devices
  5. Interpreting Technical Standards
  6. Understanding what Testing and Commissioning should be undertaken.
  7. Maintaining and Troubleshooting a System
Course Contents
  1.  Introduction to Grid-Connected PV Systems

    • Why Solar PV?
    • Grid-Connected PV Systems
    • Types of Grid-Connected PV Systems
    o Centralised or Utility-Scale Grid-Connected PV Systems
    o Distributed Grid-Connected PV Systems

2. Work Place Health and Safety

• International Practice
• Developing a WH&S Procedure
• On-site Risk Assessment
• Common Hazards and Controls
o Physical Hazards
o How to manage risk of falls
o Electrical Hazards
o How to manage electrical risks
o General Safety Measures

3. Introduction to Electrical Basics

• Characteristics of DC Electricity

o Voltage (Volts)
o Current (Amperes)
o Resistance (Ohms)
o Ohm’s Law
o Power (Watts) and Energy (Watt-hours)
• DC Circuits
o Series Circuits
o Parallel Circuits
o Combining Series and Parallel Circuits
• Working with DC Electricity
• Introduction to AC Electricity

4. Solar Radiation

• Source of Solar Radiation
o Solar Radiation Spectrum
o The Albedo Effect, Diffuse Radiation and Direct Radiation
o Air mass
o Solar Radiation that Reaches the Earth’s Surface
• Measuring Solar Radiation
o Irradiance and Irradiation
o Peak Sun Hours
• Capturing Solar Radiation
o The Effect of Geometry (Tilt angle and Orientation)
o Defining the Position of the Sun
o Calculating Solar Altitude at a Particular Latitude
o Sun Path Diagram
o Positioning Solar Modules for Maximum Performance
o Magnetic North and True North

5. PV Cells

• How a Solar Cell Works
o The Photoelectric Effect
o Semiconductors and the p–n Junction
• Electrical Characteristics of a Solar Cell
o The I–V Curve
o Maximum Power Point
o Equivalent Circuit
o Fill Factor
• The Effect of Combining Solar Cells
• The Effect of Combining Solar Modules 6. Connecting to the Grid • Overview of the Grid
o Generation
o Transmission and Distribution
o End Users
• Characteristics of AC Electricity
o Voltage, Current and Power
o Frequency and Harmonic Distortion
o The Power Triangle
o Power Factor
• Interconnection with the Grid

7. PV Modules

• PV Module Performance
o Effect of Irradiance
o Effect of Temperature
o STC and NOCT
o Module Specification Sheets and the Manufacturer’s Tolerances
o Cell and Module Efficiencies
• Types of Solar Cell Technology
o Monocrystalline Cells
o Polycrystalline Cells
o Thin-film Cells
• Manufacturing Solar Modules
o Structure of a PV Cell
• Protection of PV Modules
o Bypass diodes
o Blocking diodes
o Selecting diodes
• Module Reliability
o Weather Exposure
o Yellowing
o Microfractures
o Hot Spots
o Potential Induced Degradation
• PV Module Warranty•

8. Inverters

• How Inverters Work
o Switching
o Inverter Voltage Control
o Inverter Control Systems
• Inverter Specifications
o DC Specifications
o AC Specifications
o Inverter Efficiency
o Physical Specifications
• Types of Inverters
o Grid-connect Inverters
o Stand-alone Inverters
o Multimode Inverters
o Separated and Non-separated Inverters
o PV Array to Inverter Interface
• Grid-connect Inverter Protection Systems
o Anti-islanding
o Passive Protection
o Active Protection
o False Tripping (Voltage Rise)
o Self-protection
o Export-limiting Devices

9. Mounting

• Mounting System Considerations
• Engineering Certification
• Wind Loading
• Module Orientation and Mounting Configuration
• Roof-mounting Systems
• Mounting Frame: Flush and Tilted Mounting
• Roof Attachment: Roofing Brackets
• Module Attachment: Mounting Clamps
• Building-integrated PV
• Ground-mounting Systems
• Types of Ground-mounting Systems
• Ground-Mounted System Row Height

 10. Balance of System Equipment

• Cabling
o DC Cables
o AC Cables
o Accessories
• Electrical Protection
o Protection Devices: Fuses and Circuit Breakers
o DC Overcurrent Protection Devices
o DC Disconnection Devices
o AC Disconnection Devices
o Earthing
o Lightning Protection
• String and Array Combiner Boxes
• Metering
o Types of Meters: Simple versus Smart
o Types of Metering: Net versus Gross
• System Monitoring

11. Energy Assessment

• Load Assessment
o Load Assessment Using a Table
o Load Assessment Using Power-logging Equipment
• Load Shifting
• Introduction to Energy Efficiency
• Heating and Cooling
o Direct Sunlight and Shading
o Windows
o Air Movement and Ventilation
o Insulation and Thermal Mass
o Air Conditioning and Other Heating and Cooling Devices
• Energy Efficiency: Hot Water
• Lighting
o Natural Light
o Energy-efficient Light Bulbs
• Energy Efficiency: Appliances

12. Site Assessment

• Desktop Study
• On-site Assessment
o Identifying Site-specific Hazards
o Communicating with the Site Manager or Owner
o Assessment of Energy Use
• Site Assessment for the PV Array
o Solar Resource at the Site
o Shading at the Site
o Module Orientation and Tilt Angle Considerations
o Assessment of the Available Installation Area
o Aesthetics
• Site Assessment for the Array Mounting
• Site Assessment for the Inverter
• Site Assessment of the Grid Connection
• Climate Assessment
• Maintenance and Security•

13. Matching Array and Inverter

• Selecting the Inverter
o System Yield and Power Considerations
o Array Installation Site
o Cost
• Overview of Matching Array and Inverter Calculations
• Matching the Array and Inverter: Voltage
o Using Voltage Temperature Coefficients
o Calculating the Minimum Number of Modules in a String
o Calculating Maximum Number of Modules in a String
• Matching the Array and Inverter: Current
• Matching the Array and Inverter: Power
• Oversizing the Array
• Multi-MPPT and Multi-input Inverters

14. System Protection

• Overview of System Protection
• DC Overcurrent Protection
o String Overcurrent Protection
o Sub-array Overcurrent Protection
o Array Overcurrent Protection
o Overcurrent Protection for Inverters with Multiple Inputs
• DC Disconnection Devices
o String Disconnection
o Sub-array Disconnection
o Array DC Disconnection
o Sizing Array DC Disconnection
o Installation of DC Disconnection
o Summary of DC Disconnection Devices
• AC Overcurrent and Disconnection Devices
• System Earthing
o Protective Earthing
o Functional Earthing
• Lightning Protection
• Residual Current Device (RCD)

15. Cable (Wiring ) Design

• Cable Design Principles
o Current Carrying Capacity
o Voltage Drop and CSA
o Cable Routes and Length
• DC Cable Design
o String Cables
o Sub-array Cables
o Array Cables
• AC Cable Design
o AC Inverter Cable
o Voltage Rise at the Inverter
• 16 System Efficiency and Yield • Sources of Energy Loss
o Effect of Temperature on PV Module Efficiency
o Shading of the Modules
o Orientation and Tilt Angle of the Modules
o Soiling of the Modules
o Manufacturer’s Tolerance of Solar Modules
o Voltage Drop in Cables
o Inverter Efficiency
• The Energy Yield of a PV System
o Determining Available Irradiation
o Calculating System Efficiency
o Calculating Energy Yield of the Array
o Sizing the PV array for a Certain Yield
• System Performance Assessment

17. System Installation

• Standards and Best Practice
• Installation Preparation
• Installation of the PV Array
o Roof-mounting System Installation
o Module Installation
o Array Wiring
o Access to the Array
• Installation of the Inverter
o Multimode Inverter Requirements
• System Protection and Disconnection
o DC Overcurrent Protection
o DC Disconnection Devices
o AC Disconnectors
• General Cabling
• Earthing
• Monitoring
• Signage
• System Equipment• 18. System Commissioning • System Verification
• System Validation
• Additional Commissioning Steps

19. Maintenance and Trouble Shooting

• System Maintenance
• Troubleshooting

20. Economics of Grid Connected PV Systems

• Initial System Cost
• PV System Rebates
• Ongoing Cost of PV Systems
• Ongoing Benefits of PV Systems
o Electricity Offset
o The Cost of Electricity
o Feed-in Tariffs
• Estimating the Economics of a PV System
• Life Cycle Analysis
o Life Cycle Cost
o Life Cycle Income
o Return on Investment
o Internal Rate of Return
• Levelised Cost of Electricity

21. Commercial and Utility Scale PV Systems

• Preliminary Design Process
• Design Considerations for Large-scale Systems
• Large-scale Grid-Connected PV System Design Process

• 22. Installation Videos

• Video: Risk Assessment and Safety
• Video: Harnesses, Equipment, MC4 connectors, Winches and DC cabling
• Video: Tiled Roofs
• Video: Installation of Rooftop Isolator
• Video: System Earthing
• Video: Cabling
• Video: Inverter Mounting
• PV Array DC Isolator Installation
• Video: Commissioning

Delivery Method and Duration

This course is delivered online at students’ own pace. GSES has a team of tutors who mark the online work and as necessary supply feedback or additional technical information to the students. GSES’s tutors are also available to be contacted by phone during business hours or email.

The course is expected to take between 40-80 hours to complete, although this will vary between students. Online course access is valid for 12 months, and will expire afterwards. The ebook does not expire.

A computer with internet connection and a free Adobe Account is required to access the materials. Refer to the EBook Page for more information.


Cancellation and Refunds

Cancellation of online training courses will be subject to the following conditions:

  • Cancellation of online training courses made within fourteen (14) days of the date of payment AND before the online course has been accessed: the student will receive a full refund of the online course payment.
  • Cancellation more than fourteen (14) days after the date of payment OR after the online course has been accessed (whichever occurs first): the student will receive no refund.
  • All course refunds are exclusive of the price of the supplied course publication as advertised at the time of enrolment, unless the publication is returned to GSES in an undamaged and unused condition. GSES reserves the right to refuse a refund of the publication on the basis that goods are damaged or have been used prior to return.