AE 868
Commercial Solar Electric Systems

AE 868: Commercial Solar Electric Systems


Quick Facts about AE 868: Commercial Solar Electric Systems


Mohamed Amer Chaaban
Instructor, Department of Architectural Engineering
College of Engineering
The Pennsylvania State University


AE 868 is an elective for the Solar Energy Option within the online Intercollege Master of Professional Studies degree program in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (iMPS-RESS). It examines the theories and design practices of solar electric systems in the context of utility and commercial-scale applications. As AE 868 is intended for graduate students and professionals with interests in the procurement and delivery of commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems, an important goal of the course is to equip solar professionals with skills to follow the impact of hardware trends in industry on feasibility, design, and commissioning of such systems. This goal is reinforced with authentic assessments in the form of a sample of real problems that solar professionals solve in their line of work with examples of resources they access for this purpose and several case studies on design and construction of PV systems. Students will learn how to design solar electric systems as well as the processes required for permitting, construction, and commissioning of solar electric systems.

When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • Recognize solar electric conversion technologies in the global market and main factors driving the PV industry segments.
  • Explain main functions and factors influencing the design and performance of PV system components including PV modules, Power Conditioning Units, Batteries, and Balance of System to maximize the solar utility at a given locale.
  • Illustrate the role of safety, fire, building, and electrical codes to insure safe design and installations.
  • Identify steps to designing Grid-connected and Off-grid PV systems and the required permitting and construction documents before commissioning PV systems.
  • Describe system monitoring issues, operating and maintenance, and PV impact on the electric grid and load profile.

Topics of Study in this Course

  • Lesson 1 - Solar Electricity Generation in the US and Global Market
  • Lesson 2 - PV System Components (PV Module)
  • Lesson 3 - PV System Components (PV Storage)
  • Lesson 4 - PV System Components (Power Conditioning Units)
  • Lesson 5 - Electrical and Mechanical Balance of System (BOS)
  • Lesson 6 - System Design Processes for Grid-connected and Stand-alone Systems
  • Lesson 7 - PV Related Codes and Standards
  • Lesson 8 - Applicable NEC Articles for Sizing Electrical Components of PV System and Grounding Requirements
  • Lesson 9 - Interconnection Requirements and Methods
  • Lesson 10 - Construction Project Management, Permitting, Inspection, and Safety
  • Lesson 11 - Commissioning, System Monitoring, and Operation & Maintenance
  • Lesson 12 -  Impact of PV into the Utility Grid