Last month, the Southeast Solar Training Network (SSTN) and Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, hosted a two-day photovoltaic (PV) design and commissioning workshop at Southface Energy Institute. The workshop, led by well-known solar expert and trainer, Jim Dunlop, covered principles for design and commissioning utility-interactive solar PV systems specifically tailored to design professionals and instructors with working knowledge and experience with PV systems and/or detailed knowledge of electrical systems.

Jim Dunlop leads the SSTN PV design & commissioning workshop at Southface Energy Instutite
Jim Dunlop leads the SSTN PV design & commissioning workshop at Southface Energy Instutite

In all, some 23 attended the workshop, including SSTN partner instructors Lanier Technical College (GA), Gwinnett Technical College (GA), Contractors Institute (FL), Island Coast High School (FL), Auburn University (AL), Smart North America (AL), and Southface staff (GA). Also attending were representatives from Georgia Power, a Forsyth County electrical inspector, various energy consultants and Georgia contractors.

“Besides basic PV system design, attendees got useful information on how to submit construction documents to Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) for plan review and permitting,” said John Harrison, project coordinator for the SSTN.

The course, based on industry best practices and relevant standards (i.e., NFPA 70, the National Electrical Code, and IEC 62446: Grid connected photovoltaic systems – Minimum requirements for system documentation, commissioning tests and inspection), also covered system inspections, troubleshooting and diagnostics. Class exercises included design of typical residential and commercial PV systems. Hands-on activities included test instruments used in the commissioning process.

“The most useful information was the great written manuals given out to everyone followed by the lecture provided by the author James Dunlop,” said Stan Osborne, Instructor, Gwinnett Technical College. “I will use this information when I teach the credit level course, “Introduction to Photovoltaics.”