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Photovoltaic Installer Levels 1 & 2

The purpose of the Solar Photovoltaic Installer Training Programme is to develop technical skills and knowledge consistent with entry level qualifications specified by the Electronics Technicians Association for technicians seeking entry to the photovoltaic Installation Industry worldwide. The course will include a mix of theory and practical. Prospective students should have a fair understanding of electrical principles with the ability to solve simple electrical circuitry problems.

Utilizing the guidelines of the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA), the course curriculum was developed by Vector Technology Institute and approved by the ETA. Through affiliation with industry leaders such as Alternative Power Sources, students benefit from current and real-world practices. Currently, Vector, through its affiliations, continue to expand its programme for professional mentorship between students and established professionals.

The programme is currently designed as a two-part series. Level 1 is considered the foundation course for persons interested in becoming certified, competent professionals in the Solar (Photovoltaic) industry as a Designer, Technical Sales Representative, Consultant or Installer. Level 2 is mainly a practical, hands-on course that allows intermediate level students the opportunity to experience real life scenarios that confront our installers and designers as they implement best practices related to panel mounting, cabling, balance of systems installation, code compliance and GEI design application submissions.

As a prerequisite, candidates must have prior knowledge of electrical theory. Vector offers a Basic Electricity course that satisfies these objectives.

Why Obtain a Phototvoltaic Certification Through ETA International?

The Electronics Technicians Association, International (ETA International) is a not-for-profit trade association. Since 1978 ETA has, and continues to, support the academic, social and professional needs of the technical professional by fostering excellence through certification. ETA is accredited through the International certification Accreditation Council (ICAC) and works to align with ISO-17024 standards. The U.S. Department of Labor Recognizes ETA International Certifications!

ETA International

How the Courses are conducted:

The course are fairly intensive, where students are exposed to a number of concepts related to electricity, astronomy, atmospheric and environmental principles. Students will be called upon to demonstrate their ability to apply these concepts within the widely varied constraints and requirements of the potential owner of the PV system.

This PV Level 1 course is a careful balance between theory and practical activities to ensure that a solid foundation is cast where students understand the principles of solar technology, operations of PV components and issues related to systems design and applications ; while the PV Level 2 will offer far more practical exercises resulting in significant hands-on experience in carrying out functions similar to those conducted in the field.

With respect to practical exercises, students will work in small groups to:

  • Conduct a site analysis using a solar pathfinder
  • Determine production capability of a location with the assistance of a pyronometer or irradiance meter
  • Wire major system components using PV kits to demonstrate the photovoltaic, battery charging and inverter effect
  • Draw and critique the circuit design of the existing LAB PV system to determine the power handling capacity of a battery backup system

The PV Level 2 course will allow Level 1 graduates to apply a significant amount of the theory and design principles in an environment that simulates many of the real world challenges. Students will work with the PV components to install PV panels and other electrical components into a fully working system. Students will hear from manufacturer representatives and work along with practitioners in the field who share their experiences, while willing to develop new solutions and techniques.

Becoming certified:

On successful completion of the courses, students receive the Vector Technology Institute Certification – PV Installer Level 1 certificate and the PV Installer Level 2 certificate. After successfully completing the courses, students qualify to sit the external Electronics Technicians Association’s international certification examination. This exam may be taken at Vector but includes an examination fee that is not included in the course fee.

Industry Affiliation:

The programme at Vector was initially implemented with the support of Alternative Power Sources as our main industry affiliate. This affiliation allowed students to benefit from the experiences of APS’s specialists who directly relate technical and regulatory challenges unique to the Jamaican environment. The programme has now broadened since its inception, and now includes mentors from a broad, yet select group of established solar institutions throughout the island. This allows the Institute to meet its original mission of workforce development, serving the Jamaica solar industry.

Level 1 - What will you Learn?

At the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain how energy is reaped from sunlight and converted to electricity;
  • Conduct site analysis for locating PV arrays,
  • Determine appropriate system type - off grid, grid tied or hybrid systems; fixed or tracking arrays, etc.
  • Select and configure the major components – panels, inverters, charge controllers, batteries and other balance of system components;
  • Configure PV panel arrays and battery arrays,
  • Describe system layout using line diagrams,
  • Understand the performance and sizing characteristics of the equipment,
  • Troubleshooting basic systems problems and installation errors,
  • Understand and compensate for the impact of shading, edge of cloud effects, etc.
  • Demonstrate safe working practices for working aloft, working with hand and basic power tools , eye and ear protection, and electrical safety.

Level 2 – What will you learn?

At the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Mount Panels on Flat and inclined Roofs and on Pole mounts
  • Install & Maintain Batteries
  • Prepare PV System Drawings for Government submission
  • Specify equipment and BOS for a variety of PV type Systems
  • Apply NEC and Government Electrical Inspectorate (GEI) code for Installing PV Systems
  • Calculate wire sizes, specifying conduits and raceways
  • Install and wire Inverters, Charge Controllers, Fuses, Breakers, etc.
  • Design systems with grounding and Lightning protection
  • Explain the process for submitting systems for approval JPS and GEI approval