Solar Panels

This course gives you an introduction to the fundamentals of solar power as it applies to solar panel system installations. You will learn to compare solar energy to other energy resources and explain how solar panels, or photovoltaics (PV for short), convert sunlight to electricity. You will be able to identify the key components needed in a basic photovoltaic (solar panel) system, such as is found on a house or building and explain the function of each component in the system. You will also learn how to calculate the electrical demand of a building, how to reduce the overall demand, and then how to design a solar panel system that can meet that annual demand at a given location. You will also compare the different types of pricing models that are being used and key regulatory considerations for grid-tied systems (where a house or building is connected to the electrical grid and also generates electricity from solar panels). A capstone design project that entails both the simple audit of a building to determine demand, and a selection of components to design a solar panel system to meet that demand.

This course is part of the Solar Power Installation Specialization. It provides a good overview of system components and functions but uses some simplified assumptions. The other two topical courses in this specialization entail a more advanced coverage of site assessment, factors impacting efficiency, and the sizing, design, and integration of photovoltaic systems. The Specialization concludes with a capstone project course of a full site evaluation, photovoltaic system design, and installation plan. The specialization is modeled after an on-campus workshop that has been running on the ESF campus for many years and can serve as an important step for those who are interested in working the solar power field for the certification process to become a Certified PV Installation Professional, or PV Technical Sales through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Associate Professor , The State University of New York

Instructor rating 4.77/5  (49 Ratings)

Associate Professor
15,347 Learners

The State University of New York, with 64 unique institutions, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States. Educating nearly 468,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs both on campus and online, SUNY has nearly 3 million alumni around the globe.

By DR•APR 26TH 2020

Nice Course. Full modeling of PV sizing and estimation of the energy demand of any site learned by this course.\n\nVery Much useful for installing and an overall idea about the solar industry.


Coursera Student

Oct 06, 2019

This course is excellent! It includes all the important topics you need to know about solar energy and it is easy to understand. Definitely, it was a great decision to take it.

Karla M G C

By RH•OCT 14TH 2019

A very good overview of solar energy and practical knowledge as well as the end of course project. to improve, there should be more involvement from faculty in the project as the peer-review is a flaw.