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CESA 0158 - Introduction To Solar Electricity

Centre for Energy Systems Applications Part-time Studies Course

School of Construction and the Environment

BCIT is planning for a substantial return to on-campus activity for the fall 2021 term as informed by BC Public Health Officer guidelines. Refer to each course listing for details.

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.



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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


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