The sun is a truly large star, and it just doesn’t emit radiation or heat. In fact, it can also power homes and businesses, including cars, planes, motorcycles and even toys! So, how do you fully harness this limitless energy to safely and efficiently power millions (or even billions) of homes, factories, business establishments, motor vehicles and more? By enrolling in a solar installation and/or solar design course! Here’s a peek at a few of the many skills that one will learn by enrolling themselves in a solar energy design course.


According to experts, “solar design” includes both passive solar design and active solar design. Passive solar design does not require special technologies, but it employs certain design strategies and methodologies for optimizing the heating effects of the sun when heat is required, and for shade and natural ventilation when cooling is needed.

Passive solar construction need not cost any more than standard construction, and it can greatly reduce costs by cutting on capital and ongoing costs of heating and air conditioning equipment.

How rooms or spaces are oriented for passive solar design should be balanced with other principles of site design, like addressing the street. On the other hand, active solar systems include solar hot water systems (which use the sun to provide hot water) and photovoltaic or PV panels, which effectively convert the sun’s rays into electricity.

A solar energy system design course builds upon the introduction to photovoltaic systems from a solar energy basics course, which includes basic system components and functions. A student of a solar design course should at this point have a basic understanding of electrical power and energy, and should be able to calculate the energy requirements of a building or project site, as well as energy production potential for a PV system at a given location under optimal conditions.

Much of the solar design course will focus on incorporating on-the-ground conditions into energy production considerations, as well as how to account for these conditions in solar energy system design and equipment selection.

By the end of the solar design course, the individual should be able to understand, and incorporate, the losses in irradiance due to array setups with less than optimal shading or positioning, as well as account for the variations in solar module output due to variations in temperature in your system design.


What You Will Learn When Enrolling in a Solar Design Course

For starters, a solar design course will provide a lot of insights on better design practice, and employ passive solar techniques in the design. The specific passive solar design elements include shading, insulation, building orientation, lighting and ventilation.

Materials with a high thermal mass (which refers to the ability to absorb and retain heat like brick, concrete and stone) can be utilised in conjunction with solar penetration into a home or building during the summer or winter shading, to even out the various temperature swings.

In simple terms, the design of a solar energy system can help to keep a home, building or some other structure warmer in winter, and cooler during summer. Because of the many complicated relationships between passive design factors or aspects, it is advisable to obtain advice early from a solar design specialist.

The solar design course also helps to employ active solar technologies in the development. For example, solar thermal conversion (or using the sun’s energy to heat water) is hailed as the oldest and most efficient method of harnessing solar energy or power.

Solar water systems, especially the ones you see today, are quite inexpensive to install and may help to considerably reduce the cost of supplying hot water. With the proper sizing and design of a system, a major portion of a home or building’s hot water requirements may be met by utilizing the sun’s energy alone. An electric or gas-boosting element in the storage tank should help to meet hot water requirements during times of high demand, as well as during times of low sunshine.

Photovoltaic (PV) technologies also convert solar energy directly to electricity through the use of PV cells. The high cost of batteries, as well as the uncertain return from selling privately-produced electricity back to the grid, has also meant that for most developments it would be cost-effective to size the photovoltaic system so that all electricity that is produced on-site from the sun is used within the development as it is produced.

This could be well-suited to mix-use developments like townships and economic zones, where there is likely to be daytime electricity use during all the days of the week, (weekends by residential users, and weekdays by commercial users).

While all active solar energy technologies may easily be integrated into existing homes or buildings, these technologies are more cost-effective when considered in the early design stages of a residential or commercial development.

The good thing is that today’s solar energy technologies are often unobtrusive, can help enhance the aesthetic and architectural appeal of a home or building, and are often considered as a marketing asset because of the environment-friendly image that they convey for a residential or commercial development.

By completing a solar design course, the individual could work as a solar energy consultant in a small, medium-sized or large development project. Depending on the course curriculum or orientation of a solar design course, the graduate may learn calculating the contribution of the solar energy plant for curbing carbon emission.

The individual could also learn comparing grid-tie versus off-grid PV systems, the various components of a solar PV system and how they function, as well as the thumb rules and formulas for evaluating any solar energy plant, and carry forward the necessary planning.

The graduate of a solar design course may also learn how to size a solar energy plant or facility, as well as how to calculate the savings and ROI period of the solar plant. The may also learn how to select the best financial model for their solar energy plant, comparative of different financial models.

And, the graduate of a solar design course may also learn to understand the net metering, and compute bills from import and export readings, as well as the role of monitoring the output of the solar plant.

A solar design course is essentially created to anyone who wishes to explore the ins and outs of solar PV energy. It has also been designed in such a way that it is suitable for beginners, and some of the detailed calculations and concepts would also benefit advanced learners.

In summary, the solar design course will prove to be very beneficial to beginners in the field of solar energy, as well as for experienced solar energy professionals who wish to enhance their skills or increment their knowledge, either for self-improvement or for a job promotion.

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