Off-Grid PV Systems Design Course

AUD 895.00

We will be accepting enrolments into this course soon! If you’d like to be notified when it’s available, please click here.

The self-paced online course covers all aspects of the design and installation(theory only) of off grid  PV systems and PV/Fuel Generator Hybrid systems. It includes d.c and a.c coupled systems.


The delivery mode allows the students to complete the course in their own time with access to tutors via e-mail.


This course is offered to people who want to be able to:

  • Design any sized off grid system from small 1 or 2 module d.c. only solar home systems comprising PV modules, solar controller and  battery only up to larger hybrid systems comprising PV array/Fuel Generator, batteries  ,solar controllers,  inverters (PV and battery) and associated equipment.
  • The theory of how the equipment is installed to meet relevant international standards and industry best practice.

The course is based on the book: “International Off-Grid PV Systems: Design and Installation First Edition. International Edition Version 1. A copy of the book’s contents is available in the publications section of the website.


The course covers the Standard :

  • IEC62548: Installation of PV Arrays.
  • Plus industry best practice based on the relevant Australian Standards and the various technical guidelines that GSES has developed for the Pacific Islands and West Africa.

As a minimum 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:

  • Carry out basic repairs to renewable energy apparatus
  • Solve basic problems in photovoltaic energy apparatus and systems
  • Solve problems in stand-alone renewable energy systems
  • Install ELV stand-alone photovoltaic power systems
  • Design stand-alone renewable energy (RE) systems

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

  • Designer of Solar Based Off-Grid Power Systems – (Solar Home Systems)
  • Designer of Solar Based Off-Grid Power Systems – (d.c. and a.c. loads)
  • Installer of Solar Based Off-Grid Power Systems – (d.c. loads)
  • Installer of Solar Based Off-Grid Power Systems (d.c. and a.c. loads)
  • Designer of Solar Based Off-Grid Power Systems – (PV/Fuel generator hybrids)
  • Installer of Solar Based Off-Grid Power Systems – (PV/Fuel generator hybrids).


However, 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 Off Grid PV systems incl PV/Fuel Generator Hybrids

  1. Knowledge of Occupational Health and Safety
  2. Understanding Energy Concepts
  3. Undertaking Energy and Site Assessment
  4. Understanding System Components
  5. Understanding System Design
  6. Interpreting Technical Standards and Regulatory requirements
  7. Undertaking Economic Analysis
  8. Developing Documentation

Installer of Off Grid PV systems incl PV/Fuel Generator Hybrids

Working Safely with Off grid PV Power Systems including PV/Fuel Generator Hybrids

  1. Understanding Energy Concepts
  2. Understanding System Cabling and System Protection Devices
  3. Understanding installation requirements of the different components of the system
  4. What Testing and Commissioning should be undertaken.
Course Contents

1. Workplace Health and Safety

• International Practice
• Developing a WH&S Procedure
• On-site Risk Assessment
• Common Hazards and Controls
o Physical Hazards
o Electrical Hazards
o Chemical Hazards
• General Safety Measures

2. Electrical Basics and Circuits

• Introduction to Electrical Circuits
o International System of Units (SI)
• Characteristics of DC Electricity
o Voltage (Volts)
o Current (Amperes)
o Resistance (Ohms)
o Ohm’s Law
o Power (Watts) and Energy (Watt-hours)
• Characteristics of AC Electricity
o Voltage, Current and Power
o Frequency (Hertz)
o Harmonic Distortion
o The Power Triangle
o Power Factor
• Energy Conversion
o Primary Energy
o End use Energy
o Embodied Energy
o Energy Efficiency
• Electrical Circuits
o Series Circuits
o Parallel Circuits
o Combining Series and Parallel Circuits
• Working with Electricity
o Safety Considerations
o Licensing Considerations

3 Solar Resources

• Variation in Solar Radiation
o Types of Solar Resource
o Air Mass
o Solar Radiation That Reaches the Earth’s Surface
• Measuring Solar Radiation
o Irradiance and Irradiation
o Measuring Irradiance
o Solar Radiation Data
o Converting Irradiation from MJ to kWh
o Solar Window
o Peak Sun Hours
• Capturing Solar Radiation
o The Effect of Geometry (Tilt angle and Orientation)
o Defining the Position of the Sun
o Solstice and Equinox
o Altitude and Azimuth
o Calculating Solar Altitude at a Particular Latitude
o Magnetic North and True North
o Maximum Annual Performance
o Optimum Positioning for Off-Grid PV System
o Sun Path Diagram

4. PC Cells and Modules

• How a PV Cell Works
o The Photoelectric Effect
o Semiconductors and the p–n Junction
o Band Gap Energy
o PV Cell Electrical Characteristics
o Equivalent Circuit
• The I–V Curve
• Maximum Power Point
• PV Modules
• Creating a PV Module
• Combining PV Modules
• Quantifying PV Module Performance
• Effect of Irradiance
• Effect of Temperature
• Quoted test conditions: STC and NOCT
• Standards Related to PV Modules
• Cell and Module Efficiencies
o Fill Factor
• Types of PV Modules Technology
o Monocrystalline Cells
o Polycrystalline Cells
o Thin-film Cells
o Manufacture
o Spectral Response
o Other Technologies
• PV Module Protection
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 Specifications
o Module Specification Sheets and the Manufacturer’s Tolerances
o Mechanical and General Specifications
o Electrical Data
o Maximum Ratings
o Warranty

5. PV Array Efficiency and output

• Losses
o Shading Losses
o Orientation and Tilt Losses
o Temperature Losses
o Soiling Losses
o Manufacturer’s Tolerance of Solar Modules
• Matching the Array and Inverter: Current
• Matching the Array and Inverter: Power
• 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
• Output of a PV Array
o Determining Available Irradiation
o Calculating Array Efficiency

6.Fuel Generators

• Internal Combustion Engine
o Comparison of Genset Operating Characteristics
o Four Stroke Engine Components
o Two Stroke Cycle – Petrol
o Four Stroke Cycle – Petrol
o Four Stroke Cycle – Diesel
o Micro Turbines
• Alternators
o Electromagnetic Induction
o Alternator Components
o Brushed vs Brushless
o Permanent Magnet Type
o Alternator Output Frequency
o Alternator Output Voltage
• Other Components
o Base
o Fuel Tank
o Battery
o Silencer
o Starter Motor
o Coupling
• Control Systems
o Manual
o Two Wire Control
o Three Wire Control
o Voltage Control
o Frequency Control
o Droop Speed Control
o Relays
• System Efficiency and Yield
o Machine Losses
o Combustion Losses (Temperature, Humidity, Altitude)
o Combustion Efficiency (Temperature, Humidity, Altitude)
o Calculating the Yield and/or Fuel Requirements

7.Energy Storage

• Battery Characteristics
o Battery Cells
o Energy Storage in Batteries
o Gravimetric and Volumetric Energy Density
o Battery Capacity and Discharge Rates
o Depth of Discharge
o State of Charge
o State of Health
o Battery Charging and Discharging
o Battery Efficiency
o Battery Voltage
o Effect of Temperature
o Battery Lifetime
o Energy Density
• Battery Technologies
• Lead Acid Batteries
o Advantages and Disadvantages
o Chemistry
o Flooded Cell (Vented) and Valve Regulated Lead Acid
o Issues with Lead Acid Batteries
• Lithium Ion Batteries
o Advantages and Disadvantages
o Chemistry
o Types of Li-ion Batteries
o Temperature Effects
o Li-ion Fault Currents
o Charging and Discharging
• Other Battery Technologies
o Sodium Ion
o Flow Batteries
o Vanadium Redox Flow Battery
o Zinc Bromine Flow Battery
o Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
o Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
o Sodium Sulfur
• Combining Batteries
• Battery Control Systems
o Battery Management Systems
• Other Energy Storage Technologies
• Safe Handling and Disposal
o Safety
o Disposal•

8. Power Conversion Equipment

• DC to DC Conversion: System Controllers & Regulators.
o Types of Controllers and Regulators
o Shunt or Series?
o Charge Stages
o Optimal Charging Regimes
o Controller Features
• DC to AC Conversion: Inverters
o Advantages of DC and AC Electricity
o Power Factor
o Method of Inversion
• Inverter Output Waveform
o Square Wave Inverters
o Modified (Stepped) Square Wave Inverters
o Sine Wave Inverter
o Harmonic Distortion
• Off-Grid, Grid-Connect and Multimode Inverters
o Stand-alone Inverters
o Grid-connect Inverters
o Multimode Inverters
• Separated and Non-Separated Inverters
o Inverter Symbols
o Low-frequency Transformers
o High-frequency Transformers
o Non-separated (Transformerless) Inverters
• Inverter Protection Circuits
o Reverse Polarity
o Overloads
o Over Temperature
o High and Low Battery Voltage
• Inverter Power
o Surge Capacity
o Ratings of Inverters
o Auto-start / Demand Start Feature
o Inverter Efficiency
o Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)
• Battery Chargers
o Transformer Rectifier Battery Charger
o Switch Mode Type Battery Chargers
• Inverter Programming

9. General Design Principles

• Design Process
o Establishing Design Criteria
o Power and Energy Demands of End-Use Services
o Site Assessment
• Determine System Configuration
o DC Bus
o AC Bus
• Design Iteration and Optimisation
• Drawings
o Architectural or Plan Drawing
o Electrical Schematic
o Wiring Diagram
o Block and Single Line Diagrams
10. Energy Assessment • Load Assessment
o Energy Services
o Load Assessment Using Tables
o Load Assessment with a Data Logger
• Load Management
• Heating and Cooling
o Direct Sunlight and Shading
o Air Movement and Ventilation
o Windows
o Thermal Mass
o Insulation
o Effect of Climate
o Assessing Thermal Performance
o Active Heating and Cooling
• Hot Water
• Lighting
o Natural Light
o Properties of Lamps
o Luminaire Design
• Other Appliances
• Other Large Loads•

11. Sizing System Equipment

• Total Daily Energy Use
• Selecting and Sizing the Battery Inverter
o Unidirectional Battery Inverters
o Bidirectional Battery Inverter-Chargers
o DC Bus Interactive Battery Inverters
o AC Bus Interactive Battery Inverters
• Battery Technology
• Battery Capacity
o Daily Capacity Requirements
o Capacity for Autonomy
o Temperature Correction Factor
o Maximum Charging Current
o Daily Depth of Discharge
o Number of Parallel Battery Strings
o Lithium Ion Batteries
• Configuration-Specific Issues
o DC Bus Systems
o AC Bus System
o Hybrid Systems (Daily Genset Operation)

• 12. Generator Sizing

• Required RE Output
• Sizing and Specifying Renewable Energy
• Sizing a PV Array
o Maximum Power Point Tracker System
o Standard Charge Controller PWM
o Sizing the PV PCE
o PV-Genset Hybrid Considerations
• System Losses
o DC Bus System
o AC Bus System
o Combined AC/DC Bus System
• Sizing a Wind Generator
• Sizing a Micro-Hydro Generator
• Renewable Energy Fractions
o DC Bus System
o AC Bus System
• Sizing and Specifying a Battery Charger
• Incorporating Diesel Generator
• Sizing a Genset
• Genset Derating
• Genset Run Time

13. System Wiring and Protection

• Cable Selection and Sizing
o Line Losses (Voltage Drop)
o Excessive Current
• Types of Protection Devices
• PV Overcurrent Protection
• DC Load Sub Circuit Protection
• Location of Protection for Simple DC Bus
o Fault in the Charge Controller
o Fault in the Battery Inverter
o Fault in the DC Distribution Board (or DC Bus)
o Fault in the Battery
o Fault in the AC Distribution Board (or AC Bus)
• Disconnection Devices
o PV Array Isolation
o Battery Isolation
o Genset Isolation and AC Isolation
• PV System Earthing
• Battery System Earthing & Genset Earthing
• Lightning Protection•

14. Installation and Commissioning

• Installation Preparation
o Equipment Location and Drawings
o Installation Checklist and Schedule of Materials
• PV Array
o Layout
• Energy Storage
o Location of Batteries
o Enclosure Ventilation
o Arc Flash
• Balance of System
o Battery Inverter
o Solar PCE
o Cabling
• PV Mounting System
o Building-Integrated PV
• Genset
• Signage
• Commissioning
• System Documentation•

15. Maintenance and Troubleshooting

• Maintenance Schedule and Log Books
• Shutdown Procedure
• Maintenance of Components
o Solar PV
o Genset
o Batteries
o PCE and BOS 16. System Modelling • Principles of Modelling
o Geotechnical Data
o Land Survey
o Resource Data
• Design Tools
• Performance Modelling
o Optimising System Design
o Bankability
o Design Choice Comparison
• Operational Modelling

17. Economics

• Introduction
• Rationale
• Initial System Cost
• Renewable Energy Rebates
• Ongoing Costs of SAPS
o Maintenance Costs
o Replacement and Warranties
• Life Cycle Cost Analysis
o Present Day Value of Future Costs
o Sensitivity Analysis
• Levelised Cost of Electricity

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 60-100 hours to complete, although this will vary between students. Access is valid for 12 months.

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.

Out of stock

Additional information

Weight2.3 kg
Dimensions31 × 26 × 3 cm