UB center launches online courses about solar energy technology

By Tracy Puckett

Release Date: July 14, 2020

Jon Bird head shot.
“We recognize that the demand for PV technology is rising, and that our university plays a role in supporting the sector. ”
Jonathan Bird, professor and chair of electrical engineering
University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

BUFFALO, N.Y. – As climate change increasingly drives adoption of sun-harnessing technologies, the number of clean energy jobs grows, too. A new set of online, non-credit courses from the University at Buffalo aims to cultivate the worker pipeline.

Solar Energy for Engineers, Architects and Code Inspectors consists of three courses that explore fundamental concepts and mechanics of photovoltaic (PV) technology. It examines the intricacies of solar system design and provides a framework for solar PV project management.  

“We recognize that the demand for PV technology is rising, and that our university plays a role in supporting the sector,” says Jonathan Bird, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “We devised a curriculum that supplies the base knowledge needed by anyone interested in the field. It is particularly beneficial for engineers, HVAC installers, architects and building code inspectors.”

The series was created and produced by The Center for Industrial Effectiveness (UB TCIE), in collaboration with SUNY Erie. It was made possible by a $760,000 Performance Investment Fund grant from the State University of New York (SUNY) via New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Climate Jobs NY initiative.

Content includes how PV technology operates, the anatomy of solar electric systems, solar energy economics, pros and cons of different systems, considerations for designing a PV system, and fundamental code compliance.

“These courses prepare learners to distinguish the elements necessary for creating optimal PV systems,” says series facilitator Gay Canough, PhD, founder and president of ETM Solar Works in Endicott, New York. “Good designs result in long-lasting systems that require minimal maintenance.”

The series is available on the Coursera platform and includes:

Content consists of 5- to 10-minute video lesson learning sprints, demos, hands-on exercises, project work, readings and discussions.

Learners may sign up for individual courses or the complete set. There is no charge to “audit” a course, which includes videos, readings, community discussion forums and the ability to view assignments. The fee to gain complete course access – which includes submitting all assignments for feedback or a grade, and the opportunity to earn a certificate for the complete series – is $49 per month.

Continuing education units (CEUs) and professional development hours (PDHs) are also available through UB TCIE for learners who earn course certificates.

The Solar Energy for Engineers, Architects and Code Inspectors courses join 19 others created and produced by UB TCIE and available on Coursera. Topics include digital manufacturing and design, blockchain technology, energy, collaborative robot safety and computer vision.

Media Contact Information

Media Relations (University Communications)
330 Crofts Hall (North Campus)
Buffalo, NY 14260-7015
Tel: 716-645-6969

Published July 14, 2020