British Columbia Institute of


CESA 0158 - Introduction To Solar Electricity

Centre for Energy Systems Applications Part-time Studies Course

School of Construction and the Environment

Course Details

Introduces the equipment used to generate electricity from solar power, such as photovoltaic modules, batteries, inverters and charge controllers. Participants are taught to identify the various components, understand how the components interact and interpret manufacturer's specifications. Design principles of stand-alone photovoltaic systems are explained and participants visit demonstrations of PV systems on the BCIT campus. At the end of the course, the participants should be able to: Analyze the solar energy resource of a potential site; explain the function of each PV system component; interpret performance data for each PV system component; identify the different types of PV systems; specify the main component of an off-grid PV system; perform basic PV system maintenance.





Fall 2016

Below is one offering of this course for the Fall 2016 term.

CRN 35634

Fri Oct 21 - Sun Oct 23 3 Days

Class Meeting Times

Dates Days Times Locations
Oct 21 Fri 18:30 - 21:30 BBY SE1 Rm. 220
Oct 22 - Oct 23 Sat/Sun 08:30 - 16:30 BBY SE1 Rm. 220


Eric Smiley

Course Outline





  1. Pre-requisites: A basic knowledge of electricity, Ohm's Law and Kirchoff's Law.

This course offering is in progress. Please check this page for other currently available offerings or subscribe to receive email updates.

In Progress

Winter 2017

Below is one offering of this course for the Winter 2017 term.

CRN 84370

Fri Feb 03 - Sun Feb 05 3 Days

Class Meeting Times

Dates Days Times Locations
Feb 03 - Feb 05 Sat/Sun 08:30 - 16:30 BBY
Feb 03 - Feb 05 Fri 18:30 - 21:30 BBY



Course Outline





  1. Prerequisites: A basic knowledge of electricity, Ohm's Law and Kirchoff's Law. CESA 0158 will run from Feb 3 - Feb 5, 2016 on the following times: Friday, Feb 3, 2016 6:30 – 9:30 pm Saturday, Feb 4, 2016 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Sunday, Feb 5, 2016 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

This section is only available for registration starting Sun, Oct 23 at 9:00 am (PDT)

Sneak Preview

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

Solar Photovoltaic Power systems

  • Outline the advantages and disadvantages of solar electric power generation.
  • Describe present and future applications of solar photovoltaic power systems.
  • Explain the basic electrical concepts used in solar photovoltaic system design.
  • Illustrate various PV system configurations.

Fundamentals of Sunlight

  • Explain the main properties of sunlight essential to PV system design.
  • Interpret Solar Resource data in various formats.
  • Perform a solar resource assessment of a potential site.

Fundamentals of photovoltaic power generation

  • Explain the operation of a PV cell.
  • Identify the different PV cell technologies used today.
  • Demonstrate the effect of environmental factors on PV cell performance.
  • Interpret performance data and specifications for different PV modules.
  • Compare different PV cell technologies and PV module manufacturing methods.

Balance of System (BOS) components

  • Explain the operation and performance characteristics of various types of Inverters.
  • Explain the operation and performance characteristics of various types of Batteries.
  • Explain the operation and performance characteristics of various types of charge controllers.
  • Select inverters, batteries and charge controllers to meet specific criteria.

Photovoltaic System Design – Stand Alone

  • Describe the main features of stand-alone DC and AC PV systems.
  • Analyze the electrical loads and solar resource for a small stand-alone PV system.
  • Specify the major components of stand-alone solar PV systems.


  • Outline the proper maintenance procedures for a simple solar PV system.
  • Analyze the performance of a solar PV system during maintenance and trouble shooting.

Effective as of Spring/Summer 2014


Interested in being notified about future offerings of CESA 0158 - Introduction To Solar Electricity? If so, fill out the information below and we'll notify you by email when courses for each new term are displayed here.

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Registration News

Registration is currently open for the Fall 2016 term.

A sneak preview of Winter 2017 term courses is also available here. These courses are available for Web registration only starting Sun, Oct 23 at 9:00 am (PDT).

Students may also register by phone, mail or in-person, starting Mon, Oct 24 at 8:00 am (PDT).

Classroom Locations

Classroom locations are subject to last minute changes. Please check the Part-time Studies Classroom Locations listing at on the first day of any course you are registered for.

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