• Level: Beginner

  • Duration: 2 hours

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Solar Power: What a bright idea!

The Earth receives 174 petajoules of energy from the sun every second. Over the course of a year, enough solar energy falls on the Earth's surface to replace all of today's global energy production. In fact, its potential surpasses by far the combined energy output of coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, nuclear, and biofuels. Photovoltaic systems allow us to tap into this abundant resource by converting sunlight into electricity. In 2016, this technology produced 1.5% of the global electricity supply, that is, 303 GW worldwide and is set to grow rapidly.

Thomas A. Edison, (1847-1931)
Inventor of the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb and one of the earliest motion picture cameras, Thomas Edison is described as America's most celebrated inventor with 1093 patents registered in his name.

Watch Intro Video


Watch Lesson 1: What is the role of solar energy in the global electricity supply today? What will be its role in the future?

What you'll learn

In this course, we'll answer the following questions

  • Global Deployment

    What is the role of solar energy in the global electricity supply today? What role will it play in the future?

  • PV Solar Power Potential

    Could the world run on solar power? How does the energy we receive from the sun compare to other renewable and non-renewable sources of energy? How much land would we need to run the world on solar power?

  • Principle of Operation

    How does a solar cell produce electricity? What is the photovoltaic effect? How does high ambient temperature affect the performance of a solar panel or solar module?

  • Solar Cell Types & Efficiencies

    What are the different types of solar cells that exist today? What are their efficiencies? How is the efficiency of a solar cell measured? Is there a theoretical limit for the efficiency of a solar cell? What are scientists doing to overcome it?

  • PV System Sizing

    How to calculate the number of solar modules that are needed to produce a given amount of power.

  • Solar Power Plant Cost

    What is the average cost of a solar PV power plant globally? What is the average cost in Canada? In the USA?

Course curriculum


What engineers are saying about this course

- GR from Quebec

Excellent! Very instructive. Well made. Bravo!

- GR from Quebec

- JM from Quebec

Great course.

- JM from Quebec

- RN from Manitoba

It was really helpful to understand solar energy in terms of efficiency and cost.

- RN from Manitoba

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Enroll in the Full Course

Learn about solar energy and earn professional development hours at your convenience. Access this online course from any computer or mobile device and take up to 2 years to complete it. Instantly download your course completion certificate. It will state that you've earned 2 professional development hours (2 PDH). An electronic copy will be stored in your user account.
Buy the full course for $99.98 CAD

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when you buy The Complete PV Solar Power Course Bundle (5h)

The Complete PV Solar Power Course Bundle includes two courses: Solar Energy and Photovoltaic Solar Power Sustainability. Buy these courses together and save 15%.
Learn more about this course bundle

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View this Course on our YouTube Channel!

Are you interested in learning about solar energy but don't need to earn professional development hours (PDH)? Or do you need to accumulate continuing education (CE) credits for your engineering license renewal but want to see more of this course before enrolling? We're happy to help! Click the button below to watch all of the video lessons contained in this course on our YouTube channel. Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE, LIKE and COMMENT. Your input helps us to create new courses.
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Remember, as part of this course you will receive:

  • Instant Access

    Instant, 24/7 access to this course for 2 years. Use your computer, telephone or mobile device.

  • Course Notes

    The entire course in PDF format.

  • Course Completion Certificate

    A course completion certificate attesting the number of professional development hours (PDH) mentioned in the title of this course.

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Preview the first two sections of this course absolutely free. Download the course notes and keep them even if you decide not to buy. You will not be asked to provide any credit card information.

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Professional Development

This course has been written to meet the professional development requirements defined by the orders of engineers of the following Canadian provinces and territories and the engineering boards of the following US states. These governing bodies do not require pre-approval of courses or course providers. For more information on the continuing education requirements set forth by your order or board, please click on your province or state below. 




AL, AK, AZ*, AR, CA*, CO*, CT*, DE, GA, HI*, ID, IL, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MA*, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI*, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA*, WV, WI, WY

* These states do not have a professional development policy at this time.

It remains the engineer’s responsibility to determine whether an activity meets the guidelines set by their licensing body. It is also the engineer's responsibility to maintain and submit records of professional development activities to their engineering board.


Marianne Salama, Eng., MBA

Chemical Engineer

Marianne Salama, Eng., MBA

Marianne is the president and founder of iPolytek, a company whose mission is to provide training on the latest developments in engineering and relate these innovations to the most pressing issues of our time: climate change, water quality, air quality, and sustainability. Marianne is a chemical engineer with over 18 years of experience in the field of air and water treatment using ozone. She has worked for high-tech companies on the leading edge of their fields, namely, Ozomax, CAE and IBM. She is a graduate of McGill University (B.Eng.) and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the John Molson School of Business. A member of the Order of Engineers of Quebec (OIQ), Marianne writes about a variety of subjects, including environmental technologies, renewable resources, and the energy transition. " For me, engineering is about making the world a better place: one idea, one design, one project at a time. "