Solar Energy Systems Overview

This first course of the Solar PV for Engineers, Architects and Code Inspectors series provides an overview of the history and mechanics behind converting light into electricity, commonly known as photovoltaics (PV). Learners are empowered to recognize and describe elements of a PV system, enabling them to: compare the most common types of solar cells, sketch a solar PV system, and analyze differences between rooftop and ground mounting configurations. The course explores economic considerations, touching on solar PV costs for residential and commercial use, incentives, and contrasts solar power with fossil fuel and nuclear plants.      

This online course is available on the Coursera platform.

Course Duration: Approximately 9 hours

Learning Outcomes

  • Differentiate the value of solar energy versus alternatives
  • Explain how PV works in technical and economic terms, and identify its components
  • Estimate solar system costs

Intended Audience

Anyone interested in entering the solar power sector, whether fresh to the workforce or switching industries; curriculum is especially useful for engineers, HVAC installers, architects, and building code inspectors


  • High school diploma