FAQ

What educational background (Engineering/Math/Science) is needed before taking the courses? Is a college degree required?

There is no college degree or formal certification, such as electricial or journeyman, required to attend any of the courses.  A solid background or understanding of electricity and current electrical principles and codes is needed.  Because these are important components, the first course in the series is Electrical Principles for Alternative Energy and is the pre-requisite for the other two courses.  Currently, licensed Electricians may waive this course with submission of their license. 

How many courses are offered in the PV program?

There are three courses that comprise our Photovoltaic Systems Certificate offerings.  The first course is Electrical Principles for Alternative Energy.  This provides a solid introduction to electricity and the relevant National Electrical Codes applicable to solar installations.  It is designed for individuals without a solid background in electricity and electrical theory. It is followed by the Basic PV Systems and the Advanced PV Systems courses.

What is the length of each course?

Each course meets for 45 contact hours over 8-10 weeks.  Completing all three courses takes approximately 6-7 months depending when the series starts.   

Are the courses in-person or online?

The courses are hybrids and combines traditional classroom instruction with online learning.  Students will find the syllabus, course module and assignments, PowerPoint presentations, videos and quizzes through CANVAS, Salt Lake Community College's online learning management system.  In addition to online learning, each class will meet in-person every other Tuesday from 6:00pm - 9:00pm at our Meadowbrook Campus located at 3900 South 250 West. The Advanced PV Systems course also includes two Saturday hands-on sessions that are more intensive and usually run 4-6 hours.  Students will work in the Solar Training Yard to complete an 'install' of various types of systems.  

What is covered in the hands-on instruction part of the classes?

Lab activities include module testing, shading characteristics and analysis, working with equipment going through PV array components, inverters, battery bank wiring, sizing, and installation. System monitoring and troubleshooting are also covered.

What certifications and/or degrees are offered upon completion of the course or program?

Salt Lake Community College issues a Certificate of Achievement at the completion of the appropriate courses - CEAE 0100 and 0200 for the Solar Sales Certificate.  CEAE 0100, 0200 and 0300 for the Solar PV Installation program.   These courses are non-credit and do not lead to a degree.  

CEAE 0100 is a required course for students completing their Energy Management A.A.S. degree program, designated as EGMT 1700.  CEAE 0200 and CEAE 0300 (EGMT 1710 and 1720 respectively) are technical electives for students enrolled in the EGMT degree program. 

Do these courses count towards relicensing / CEU credits?

Yes, they ALL do.  Each course has been reviewed and approved through Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing as follows:

Electrical Principles for Alternative Energy

  • Contractors - 9 hours Code
  • Electricians - 9 hours Code and  18 hours Professional

Basic PV Systems

  • Contractors - 6 hours Code 
  • Electricians - 6 hours Code and 11 hours Professional

Advanced PV Systems

  • Contractors - 6 hours Code
  • Electricians - 16 hours Code and 12 hours Professional
How frequently are courses offered?

Each course is offered at least twice per year. Additional courses may be added to meet student and/or industry needs.

How much is tuition?

Tuition for all three courses is approximately $2,200.00, including textbooks.  This is based on Salt Lake Community College 2014-2015 tuition rates. 

What textbook are needed and where can they be purchased?

Electrical Principles for Alternative Energy requires the textbook "Mike Holt's Illustrated Guide to Basic Electrical Theory", 3rd Edition.  Basic PV Systems and Advanced PV Systems courses both use the textbook "Photovoltaic Systems", 2nd Edition. Advanced PV Systems course also requires the most current NEC Handbook. These can all be purchased at the SLCC Taylorsville Redwood Campus Bookstore. 

You will also need "Ugly's Reference Guide" - YES, that is the name of the book.  You can purchase this through numerous sources online or at most any local store that sells electrical equipment.

Is financial aid available?

Non-credit courses are not eligible for traditional federal financial aid such as student loans or Pell grants.

There may be other agencies, such as Vocational Rehab or Division of Workforce Services, who may provide financial assistance. You may contact them directly to determine what is available.

Short Term Intensive Training (STIT) funds may be available through the State of Utah for students taking non-credit courses. If funds are available and students meet eligibility requirements, 50% of tuition for the non-credit course is covered.  Please contact the program coordinator for more details.

What is NABCEP?

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a nationally recognized and well respected certification organization for the solar professionals.  NABCEP's mission is to support, and work with, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, professionals, and stakeholders to develop and implement quality credentialing and certification programs for practitioners.

NABCEP offers entry level knowledge assessment and professional certifications and is considered by many to be the 'gold standard' for PV installation and sales certifications. 

What assessments or certifications can I get through NABCEP?

NABCEP offers an Entry Level Exam, which confirms basic knowledge about the solar installation process, fundamental principles of the application, design and operation of Solar PV systems.  This is not the same as being a Certified installer, but it says to a potential employer that you're getting into the industry and have learned enough to pass a still rigorous exam.

NABCEP also offers two certifications that are applicable to our program - PV Installation Professional and PV Technical Sales.  Both of these certifications require submission of an application with demonstration of additional experience before being accepted to sit for the exam. 

At the completion of the Solar Photovoltaic program at SLCC, including all three courses, students will have surpassed the minimum number of education hours required to take either the Exam or Certifications. 

You can find additional details about each of these on the NABCEP website - www.nabcep.org.  In the lefthand column, click Entry Level or Get Certified to find more info, including candidate handbooks, application deadline updates and application process and forms. 

What is the advantage of having NABCEP assessment or certification?

When students can put on a resume or tell potential employers that they have passed the Entry Level Exam or achieved a NABCEP certification, they gain a valuable edge over others vying for the same position. This shows potential employers the students have the knowledge and experience necessary for the job and that they are ready to get to work without rigorous in-house training.