U.S. Department of Energy

    Energy Department Offers Online Training for Residential PV Inspectors

    October 3, 2012

    Photo of two workers holding a solar panel on a rooftop.

    The SunShot Initiative's free online tool will help code inspectors learn needed skills to ensure best practices.
    Credit: Craig Miller Productions

    The Energy Department on October 1 announced a free online training program for building and electrical code officials who perform inspections for residential photovoltaic (PV) solar energy installations. This training program will help establish a consistent and streamlined PV inspection process in jurisdictions throughout the country, saving time and reducing costs for consumers.

    The Photovoltaic Online Training (PVOT) program is a learning tool that uses video and photographs to illustrate correct techniques for safe solar installations that comply with all relevant building and electrical codes. It includes seven online modules, providing lessons in subjects such as roof and ground-mounted PV arrays, electrical requirements, equipment ratings, and expedited permitting. The first six lessons contain sequential material while the final module provides a virtual walk along a roofline, similar to what an inspector sees in a real-world situation. The PVOT program tracks each participant's progress and test scores, and meets professional licensing requirements for ongoing education in most cities and states. The curriculum complies with current National Electrical Code requirements and industry standards, which are referenced throughout the modules.

    Although the program is geared to code officials, it is also appropriate for solar installers, architects, students, and consumers who are interested in this growing field. While participation in the course is free, there is a nominal fee for obtaining continuing education units through the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). The Interstate Renewable Energy Council developed the PVOT program for the Energy Department as part of its SunShot Initiative's Solar Instructor Training Network, which aims to strengthen the quality and capacity of solar PV professional training across the country. See the Energy Department's Progress Alert.