Saturday, September 10, 2011

PV301L: PV Battery-Based Lab

Solar Energy International's PV301L course instructs students to safely install, test, and commission battery-based PV systems at the Paonia Lab Facility.  The five days of hands-on installation practice with battery-based systems are offered at SEI’s world-class PV Lab training facility in Paonia, Colorado;  lab stations are comprised of both stand-alone and grid-tied with battery back-up systems, and include both AC and DC coupled systems.  Integrating generator back-up is also covered in detail, as participants concentrate on battery safety, wiring, and maintenance, and will wire balance of system components including: combiner boxes, disconnects, power centers, controllers, battery banks, and inverters.  Set-up, basic programming, and testing of components for specific battery-based applications are integrated into the lab sessions, students learn fundamental procedures for safe installation and commissioning practices, and all exercises have an emphasis on battery safety considerations.  The maximum eight to one student-to-instructor ratio and comprehensive lab setting create the ultimate environment to get first hands-on PV and battery experience.

 I learned alot about the 'other side' of PV installation (after taking the Grid-Tie lab the previous month) & the Lab Facility in Paonia is beyond compare.  I can't imagine a more pleasant place to be trained in this amazing technology!

 Day 1 had us grouped up in the classroom in downtown Paonia, going over the basics of battery-based PV installation, before moving to the lab on the outskirts of town. 

Joe Villacci (one of three instructors for the course) goes over the basics of battery design & single string design & set up.

The class split into 3rds (one group per instructor) & went through all the specifics of setting up various systems, rotating throughout the week.  With 5-7 students per instructor, the class provided invaluable personal attention.

I must admit, I kept getting distracted by the breathtaking sky show.

Going over design schematics after wiring up the panels of one of the systems. 

Wiring up the inverter, charge controllers, et al.

Downtime @ The Revolution Brewery.

Awwwww, such love amongst SEI instructors & staff : )

Rule #1: Stay Hydrated !

Solar snacks:  Nutella & Banana toast in the solar cooker!

One system ready to go!

Laying down the last panel on the pitched-roof mounted system.

PV installation is fun!

Tawnya, our popcicle princess, rewarded us every afternoon with delicious icy treats.

Taking respite from the sun in the tented classroom.

Music in the Park; there's always something going on in the little mountain town of Paonia.