Resources

Solar training glossary

Tools, Apps, and Software
Click here for a printable PDF copy of these resources

EasySolar is a cloud-based web platform and mobile app for creating PV designs

HOMER Legacy: The Original: a free computer model that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications

Hybrid2: a user-friendly tool to perform long-term performance/economic analysis on hybrid power systems

i-Pals WEB is PV simulation software which includes multiple functions as following: designing layout, designing strings, making estimation, simulating power generation and shadow deterioration, comparing different projects

NOAA Solar Calculator: An easy tool to find the latitude/longitude for any place on earth

Polysun Online helps you plan and calculate PV installations in a few steps; free and paid simulation options

PVWatts Calculator estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected PV energy systems

SolarDesignTool is an online software that allows users to create PV system designs and accurate panel layouts.  Generate customer design options in minutes complete with PDF system datasheet and including data from electrical specifications to array layout diagrams

Solargis pvPlanner – a simulation tool for planning/optimizing PV systems using climate and geographic data

Solarmodel is an internet platform for designing solar PV installation and for evaluating investment

Renewable Energy Ready Home Solar Site Assessment Tool, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: helps homebuilders evaluate a site’s solar resource and to design for future solar installations

RETScreen: a Clean Energy Management Software system for energy efficiency, renewable energy and co-generation project feasibility analysis and ongoing energy performance analysis

SolarResilient: a sizing tool for solar PV and battery storage systems (funded by U.S. DOE SunShot)

System Advisor Model (SAM): a free performance and financial software for professionals

Skelion a SketchUp plugin that allows for solar thermal or solar PV installation design starting from a 3d model

Solaripedia: Tools for solar architecture and green building. Free and fee-based tools to design and build sustainably

Reports / Books / Papers

2015 International Solar Energy Provisions (ISEP): ICC’s solar code book, including the 2015 I-Code Solar Energy Provisions, and Solar Rating & Certification Corp (SRCC) standards

Here Comes the Sun, A State Policy Handbook for Distributed Solar Energy (8/2017), by the National Association of State Energy Officials and National Conference of State Legislatures for legislators, legislative staff, officials, others

The Design Professional’s Guide to Zero Net Energy Buildings by Charles Eley

Inside the BIPV Market by Amy Florence Fischbach, answers the question “Is this technology ready for prime time?”

Profiting from the Sun: How building developers can unlock the country’s largest potential for renewable energy; a summary of economic value and financing for commercial PV, especially Building Integrated PV (BIPV)

Solar Ready Buildings Planning Guide, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): identifies the important aspects of building design and construction to enable installation of solar after the building is constructed

Information / Educational Resources

Building Integrated Photovoltaics, A New Design Opportunity for Architects – a primer on BIPV

Code Compliance Brief: Installation of Photovoltaic Systems | PNNL provides info to help ensure that residential PV systems can be verified as compliant with safety codes and standards

Eight factors to consider when designing solar-ready roofs | AIA – for designers

George Washington University Solar Institute shares pragmatic policy solutions to catalyze the adoption and scale of solar energy

How Does Solar Photovoltaic Energy Work? | National Council for Solar Growth – basic info to educate homeowners and businesses about the economic and environmental benefits of PV solar

PACENation Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) finances 100% of a project’s costs; available in some states

PVeducation.com for solar installers, students, homeowners, and others; a website with advice from one solar designer’s “unbiased point of view” that “cuts through the hype and marketing provided by manufacturers”

Philadelphia Solar Installation Guidebook for developers of residential and commercial solar PV systems; addresses procedures for planning, siting, permitting, interconnecting, metering, & more

Reneweconomy – Australian-based website focusing on clean energy news and analysis worldwide; podcasts, more

Solar Information for Consumers: A Guide for States – consumer education efforts by states, for use by

municipalities, counties, and municipal utilities

Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) – for finding solar jobs and training

Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) – information and fact sheets

Solar Photovoltaic Technology Basics | EERE – from the US Department of Energy

Solar Photovoltaic Technology Basics | NREL- basic info from the National Renewable Energy Lab

State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, by National Conference of State Legislatures

Solar Training Courses

Ambassador Energy Solar Training – offers solar training for people at all skill levels

Architecture/art Arch 20 – a collective effort to which students/academics contribute; free training available

Association of Energy Engineers Certified Renewable Energy Professional Preparatory Training Program

greenCE design education offers a free online course including continuing education credits

Heatspring Online Training  a free online course on the basics of solar PV for newcomers to the industry

Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) PV Online Training for Code Officials (free), (including CEUs)

IREC/IAFF Solar PV Safety Training for Fire Fighters

Solar Energy International (SEI)  – offers free online courses on the basics of renewable energy

Solar Photovoltaics | Autodesk Sustainability Workshop offers design and engineering resources for design professionals, post-secondary students and educators

Best Practices for Permitting Solar PV Systems

APA Planning for Solar Energy  provide planners, public officials, and other community stakeholders with basic policies, approaches rationale for planning for solar energy

Chicago Solar Express: accelerating solar installations by streamlining/standardizing the permitting process

CSE California Solar Permitting Guidebook for local building departments

IREC Model Inspection Checklist for Rooftop PV Systems: for municipalities across the U.S.

Pennsylvania Municipal Guidebook for Solar Zoning and Permitting: provides a model solar zoning ordinance, a model permitting application and information related to permitting fees and processes


Solar Friendly Best Planning Practices for New Hampshire Communities: for Municipal Officials in NH

Solarpermit.org a free database of info on city and county solar permitting requirements

Renewable Energy Organizations