The State University of New York

Solar Energy Basics

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

105,336 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Neal Abrams

Instructor: Neal Abrams


(2,427 reviews)

Beginner level

Recommended experience

15 hours to complete
3 weeks at 5 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Calculate the energy usage at a location

  • Design a basic photovoltaic system to meet a specific energy need at a specific location

  • Describe financial models and trends in the photovoltaic energy field

Details to know

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There are 5 modules in this course

Welcome! This first module will give you an introduction to the various forms of energy available to us on the Earth and how solar power fits into the overall mix. It will also introduce you to the various parts that go into that solar panel system you see on a house or other building, both the obvious parts and the less obvious pieces. Lastly, you'll learn how to calculate the efficiency of a solar panel as it takes in light energy from the sun and converts it to electricity.

What's included

10 videos2 readings5 quizzes

Before you design a PV system for a home or commercial building, you need to know how much energy is being used at that location. That energy need helps you determine the size requirements of a PV system to meet that energy need. You also need to know how much energy can be produced by a PV system, because it varies based on the amount of sunlight available. In this week's module you will learn how to differentiate and calculate power and energy for both energy consuming appliances and energy producing photovoltaics, and then apply those concepts and calculations to assessing energy needs and energy production potential at a site.

What's included

6 videos2 readings4 quizzes

Photovoltaics is a growth industry. In this module you will be learning about the historical development of photovoltaics, the current trends, and some of the future forecasts of the market both globally and with a little bit of a closer look at the United States. Finally, you'll be learning about the segmentation of photovoltaics into different applications beyond just solar panels on a house or a solar farm.

What's included

4 videos2 readings4 quizzes

The field of photovoltaics engages many people filling many different roles. In this module you will learn about the different stakeholders and job opportunities in PV. You'll also learn about some different certifications available to those already working in the photovoltaics industry and for those interested in joining the field. You'll also learn about the different financial models associated with PV systems that underpin the implementation of on-grid PV systems. When you finish this module I would recommend at least starting your work on the capstone project rather than waiting until the following week.

What's included

4 videos1 reading4 quizzes

In the capstone project you will be applying some of key skills you have learned so far in this specialization. You will need to evaluate a site's location, calculate it's energy consumption and try to reduce it's load, and then design a solar array capable of meeting it's total energy load using data from commercial modules and using a simplified assumption about system efficiency as we have been doing in this course.

What's included

1 peer review


Instructor ratings
4.8 (895 ratings)
Neal Abrams
The State University of New York
2 Courses121,813 learners

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Recommended if you're interested in Environmental Science and Sustainability

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