Hands-on Training in our Regional Smart Grid & Solar Field Lab

ImagineSolar Regional Solar Field Lab

4000 Caven Road, Austin, Texas 78744

ImagineSolar operates a world-class Regional Solar Field Lab inside the The Austin Electrical JATC. Training takes place indoors, outdoors, ground-level and on the top of the 4000 sqft training facility. Photovoltaic module technologies include crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, and copper indium gallium diselenide ranging in size from 60W to 235W. Inverters include grid-tied, off-grid, bi-modal hybrid, microinverter and bi-polar.

Our training equipment includes solar modules from Canadian Solar, REC Solar and Sharp;  inverters from SMA Solar Technology, Advanced Energy PV Powered, Schneider Electric Xantrex, Enphase Energy, Ideal Power Converters, Solectria and SolarEdge;  mounting systems from Schletter, Unirac, Array Technologies, ECOlibrium Solar and Quick Mount;  monitoring equipment from SolarEdge, Enphase Energy and PowerDash;  balance of equipment from MidNite Solar and Square D, and site assessment tools the Solmetric SunEye and the Solar Pathfinder.

Different roof surfaces as well as stationary and tracking ground mounts give students experience with most major solar PV environments. Students install flashing and racking on traditional singled roofs, install and properly ballast flat-roof PV systems, and practice proper use of fall protection and specialized racking while installing PV systems on a standing seam metal roof.


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PV201:
Solar PV System Design & Installation

Our 5 day PV201 course is designed to provide you with the fundamental knowledge you need to launch, or accelerate, your career in the fast-growing solar industry.

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PV201eLab:
Solar PV System Design & Installation Lab

In this one day (8 hour) hands-on lab addition to online PV201e, participants have the opportunity to install and commission a PV system and work with various state-of-the-art solar equipment.

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PV321:
Advanced Solar PV System Technologies

PV321 is a 2-day course that includes design concepts, system analysis, and hands-on demonstration labs. This workshop is designed for those who want a professional understanding of new solar industry technologies and the integration of those technologies into system solutions for commercial, residential, and utility-scale projects.

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ImagineSolar uses our unique facilities to give course participants hands-on experience with a variety of technologies and system configurations used for residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects. Assemble, commission, and energize complete PV systems in our all-weather lab space.

Upcoming PV201 Foundations Course Power Package Schedule:

 

No Training Currently Scheduled

 

Upcoming PV201eLab Course Schedule:

 

No Training Currently Scheduled

 

 

ImagineSolar Equipment and Labs
Site Evaluation Lab
Technologies: Solar Pathfinder, Solmetric SunEye, Performance Analysis Software;

Learning Objectives:
Utilize site evaluation tools and techniques to perform solar resource analysis;
Learn how to identify and account for shade obstructions;
Learn how to optimize array design for location-specific considerations;
Use performance analysis software and solar resource data to create an energy production model for various types and sizes of PV arrays;

Array Mounting Lab: Residential, Commercial, and Utility-Scale
Technologies: stand-off roof mounts, ground mounts, Array Technologies Dual Axis Tracker, flat roof ballasted mounts;

Learning Objectives:
Understand mechanical design considerations such as wind and snow loading;
Gain hands-on experience with various roof and ground mounting methods including flashing for shingled roofs;
Be able to evaluate the relative advantages of different mounting methods;

Grid-Tied Residential Install Lab
Technologies: Sharp 80 W PV modules, SMA SB700U inverter, stand-off roof mounts;

Learning Objectives:
Learn basics of PV design and wiring principles;
Learn how to mount and wire PV modules into series circuits;
Learn how to mount and wire disconnects and circuit combiners;
Learn how to interconnect, wire, and commission a grid-tied PV inverter;

Off-Grid Battery-Based Lab
Technologies: Sharp 80W Modules, 12VDC battery bank, Charge Controller, 1kW Inverter;

Learning Objectives:
Learn how to utilize PV charge controllers to charge and manage battery banks;
Learn about the different types and applications of different batteries;
Learn about proper battery maintenance and installation;
Learn how to size off-grid battery banks, charge controllers, and inverters;

Advanced Grid-Tied Lab on a Slanted Metal Roof
Technologies: Kaneka 60 W thin-film PV modules, PV Powered PVP1100 Inverter;

Learning objectives:
Learn to wire high-voltage thin-film modules into multi-circuit PV arrays;
Wire residential-scale inverter to existing electric service;
Learn how to mount modules to standing seam metal roof with a 30 degree pitch angle;

Advanced Hybrid Bi-Modal Micro-Grid Lab
Technologies: REC Solar 215 W PV modules, SMA Sunny Boy, SMA Sunny Island, Gas Generator, Deep-Cycle Batteries;

Learning Objectives:
Learn how to design a hybrid “bi-modal” battery-based system with multiple sources of power: solar, battery, grid, and generator;
Learn about DC v. AC coupled bi-modal systems;
Learn how to program and commission a complex bi-modal system to provide reliable standby power for unreliable electric grids;

Advanced Grid-Tied Three-Phase Commercial Building Install Lab
Technologies: Solectria 13kW 3-phase inverter, Unirac G10 ballasted roof mounts, REC 215 W PV modules;

Learning Objectives:
Learn how to plan and construct large, flat roof mounted arrays common in commercial installations;
Learn how to wire large central PV inverters for commercial buildings;
Learn how to interconnect and commission 3-phase PV inverters;

Advanced Grid-Tied Bi-Polar Commercial Building Install Lab
Technologies: Ideal Power Converter’s Bi-polar 30 kW 3-phase inverter, negative-grounded array and positive-grounded arrays using Canadian Solar 235 W PV modules;

Learning Objectives:
Learn about bi-polar array wiring methods, and how they differ from traditional mono-polar PV designs;
Understand the advantages of bi-polar wiring configurations;
Learn to properly assemble and wire a bi-polar PV system in a commercial building;
Use ballasted mounted array racking components;

Advanced Grid-Tied Dual – Axis Tracking Lab
Technologies: Dual axis sun-tracking pole mount array, REC 215 W PV modules, Enphase microinverters;

Learning Objectives:
Learn how to assemble and power a dual-axis tracking array;
Learn how to install and wire microinverters;
Learn to calculate the energy-output advantage of tracking arrays versus fixed arrays;
Learn about the advantages of module level power-electronics;
Learn how to install and program an internet-based PV monitoring system;

Advanced Grid-Tied Commercial Building Lab
Technologies: Canadian Solar 235 W PV modules, PV Powered PVP3500 inverter, flat-roof ballasted ECOlibrium Solar mounting system;

Learning objectives:
Learn to wire multi-circuit PV arrays;
Wire residential-scale inverter to existing electric service;
Learn how to mount modules to roof ballasted ECOlibrium Solar mounting system;

Micro-Inverter Lab
Technologies: Enphase Energy microinverters and the companion Internet monitoring system;

Learning Objectives:
Explain the differences between traditional PV systems and microinverter & AC module technologies and the advantages of module-level power-electronics;
Understand proper installation and troubleshooting procedures for microinverter systems;
Connect and use the Internet system monitoring option for microinverter systems;

Solar Professional Tools

There are a variety of tools used by solar professionals including meters, equipment, charts, tables, spreadsheets, calculators and software. Instruction is available on the following:

Meters and Equipment
Solmetric SunEye, Solar Pathfinder;
Compass, Inclinometer/Protractor;
Irradiance Meter, Non-Contact Temperature Probe;
Digital Multimeter DMM, Clamp-On Digital Multimeter Meter;
Watt-Hour Meter (Kill-a-Watt), Megohm Meter;
Fall Protection Equipment, PPA Safety Equipment, Scissor Lift;

Charts and Tables
Sun Path Charts, Solar Insolation Tables;

Excel Spreadsheets
Pathfinder: Solar panel shading, System Sizing;

Online Calculators and Analysis Tools
PV Watts Performance Calculator for Grid-Connected PV Systems;
SMA Sunny Design;
SMA Voltage Drop Online Calculator;
Clean Power Finance CPF Tools;
Department of Energy NREL IMBY;
Google Earth;

Software
Solar Pathfinder Assistant Software;
Solmetric SunEye Software;
DOE NREL Solar Advisory Model (SAM);