SOLAR 101 – Intro to Energy
The Solar Energy Technician Certificate of Specialization is designed to provide entry level skills to students seeking employment as an installer of solar photovoltaic or solar thermal systems. Students will gain a broad knowledge of alternative energy, system design and installation techniques. The program will prepare students for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP™) exams in Entry Level Solar Thermal and Entry Level Photovoltaic.
This program is held at College of the Canyons Canyon Country location in a new state of the art Applied Technology building. Additional classes and programs in alternative energy are in the plans to offer in 2012 and beyond.
Who would be interested in this program?
- • People who already work in related fields, such as
roofing, electrical, and plumbing. These might be contractors,
or people who work for contractors, who want to add a new skill
set and certification to their offerings.
• Unemployed people who have a technological orientation and a willingness to do physical work.
• Current students who have not declared a major.
• Current students who may be pursuing a transfer option, who have a technological orientation, and need to support themselves through the rest of their schooling. Take two courses, pass the NABCEP™ test, and get a good job!
Is this program a fit for me?
The job of Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Installer may appeal to those who enjoy working outdoors at work activities requiring practical, hands-on problems and solutions; accordingly, this occupation does not involve a lot of paperwork. This occupation also generally interests those who are attentive to detail and enjoy completing work tasks.
What does a photovoltaic installer do?
• Determine photovoltaic (PV) system design based on factors such as customer needs, budget, and site conditions.
• Install photovoltaic (PV) systems in accordance with codes and standards using physical layout drawings, electrical schematics, and instructions.
• Fasten solar modules to roof and fasten wiring, inverters and other support structures to building walls
• Apply weather sealing to array penetrations and other support structures.
• Check electrical installation for proper wire sizing, polarity, grounding, or integrity of terminations.
• Determine appropriate sizes, ratings, and locations for all system over current devices, disconnect devices, grounding equipment, and surge suppression equipment.
• Certify photovoltaic (PV) systems by verifying system functionality and conformity to performance expectations.
• Determine connection interfaces for connecting photovoltaic (PV) systems with utility services and other power generation sources.
• Perform routine maintenance on modules, arrays, batteries, power conditioning equipment, safety systems, structural systems, weather sealing, and balance of systems equipment.
• Understand electrical and power tool safe practices, fall protection measures and other environmental and safety hazards associated with photovoltaic installations.
What do a Solar Thermal Installer and Technician do?
• Design active solar domestic hot water systems and solar pool systems.
• Assess collector sites to ensure structural integrity of potential mounting surfaces or the best orientation and tilt for solar collectors.
• Determine locations for installing solar subsystem components, including piping, water heaters, storage tanks, circulating pumps, valves, and ancillary equipment.
• Install components and plumbing using pipe cutters, soldering equipment, plastic glue, electrical supplies, and hand tools.
• Connect solar thermal system to existing water heaters and water sources.
• Fill system with water and check tanks, pipes, valves, pumps and fittings for leaks.
• Perform routine maintenance or repairs to restore solar thermal systems to baseline operating conditions.
• Understand plumbing, soldering and power tool safe practices, fall protection measures and other environmental and safety hazards associated with solar thermal installations.
Sample of reported job titles according to the California Occupation Guides
Solar Thermal installers and technicians in California may also be called: Solar Energy Systems Installers; Solar Hot Water Systems Installers; Solar Thermal Repairs Technician
Solar Energy Technician Certificate of Specialization Curriculum
Course Course Title Units
SOLAR 050 Photovoltaic Systems 5
SOLAR 052 Solar Thermal Systems 5
SOLAR 101 Introduction to Energy Technology 3
Curriculum changes as technology and industry standards transform. Please refer to the counseling website as requirements may have changed since this website was developed, www.canyons.edu/counseling/certificate.asp
How do I get more information about wages for this program?
• California Occupational Guides
For California wages, enter “Solar Photovoltaic Installer” or “Solar Thermal Installers and Technicians” in the “Keyword Search”
• O*NET OnLine
For national and state data, enter “Solar Photovoltaic Installer” or “Solar Thermal Installers and Technicians” in the Occupation Quick Search
For more information about the Solar Energy Program at College of the Canyons
Contact Kristin Houser, Division Dean Career Technical Education
Kristin.firstname.lastname@example.org or 661-362-3408