Design Your Solar Roof

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Intended Audience – Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Solar Installers

Benefits for Attendee – Learn solar power fundamentals as well as design techniques

Length: 4 Hours HSW/PDH/LU

Course Introduction – Course author and mechanical engineer John Cromer has written and taught solar classes while concurrently working as an installation contractor since 2008. He shares important project considerations and design techniques in this robust 4 hour program.

Course Summary/Description/Overview – Learn solar fast is a two hour introduction to solar design that places you behind the desk of a professional solar installer. Learn installation and design tips while learning how to design and specify rooftop solar projects of any size. This class will cover fundamentals of solar project design, including array layout, performance estimating, shade analysis, interconnection strategy, battery sizing, and load control. This is an introductory course designed for experienced building professionals and is essential for any architect, engineer, project manager, or contractor interested in adding solar power to their existing skillset.

No prior solar experience is necessary, but this is no ordinary introduction to solar. Even solar field professionals will benefit from the design fundamentals discussed. In four hours, you will understand terms and components, as well as how complete project permit documents are assembled. Multiple strategies are discussed to implement cost-effective onsite power management projects on site even in regions where solar buyback rates are low. 

Solar power is only 3% of the USA electricity market and less than half of that is rooftop solar. But many buildings have the potential to generate more power than they consume, as well as take advantage of smaller purpose built systems. Learn the latest in design practices while learning how to best implement renewables on a home or business.

Learning Objectives – 8 total

Estimate solar array production and compare against facility energy use. 

Consider array layout strategy to benefit density, aesthetics, or safe installation.

Understand 3D shade analysis techniques to understand irregular object shading (such as trees) can be modeled into performance estimating

Use manufacturer sizing tools to finalize designs and convert into material list for bidding.

Walk through the site evaluation process to develop a computer-generated single line diagram.

Learn cable management techniques to improve construction and operational safety.

Evaluate right-sizing to optimize utility rate structures for onsite renewables and storage.

Understand how digital controls and monitoring can add value to energy infrastructure and planning.


  1. Part One: Performance Estimation, Economic Calculations, Array Layout, Computer-Assisted Design 

2. Part Two: Shade Analysis, Inverter Sizing, Interconnection, Project Documentation

3. Part Three: Finalizing Design, Racking Sizing, Aesthetic Considerations, Internal Conduit Runs, Solar Final Notes, CAD Conclusions

4. Part Four: Batteries Sizing, Modeling Demand, Load Control

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