Solar Energy Technology - Associate Degree

Program Code: 104824

The Solar Energy Technology program provides a skilled workforce of installers, designers, and technical sales personnel who are able to assess sites; design systems; and install, operate, and maintain solar electric and solar thermal systems for residential and commercial applications in the growing renewable energy industry. Potential employment possibilities will be with existing solar, electrical and mechanical contractors to help expand their offerings of solar energy technologies. Other possible areas of employment are with energy consulting firms, design firms and utilities. With additional education and experience, graduates can expand their careers to energy analyst, journeyperson electrician/plumber, project manager, energy engineer, and environmental consultant.

Follow Your Path

All credits from the following certificate(s) apply toward this associate degree:
• Renewable Energy-Solar Electric, 904821
• Renewable Energy-Solar Thermal, 904822


Employment Potential

A graduate of the program will have the potential for employment for diverse employers, such as renewable energy businesses, energy companies, equipment supply companies, oil and gas field service companies and utilities in the following areas:

• Solar Electric Energy Technician: designs, estimates, installs, troubleshoots, repairs and modifies residential and/or commercial solar electric systems.

• Solar Site Assessor: conducts facility energy audit/assessments; is responsible for making recommendations regarding solar energy systems. Prepares cost estimates, energy analysis; is accountable for building long-term customer relationships.

• Solar Sales Representative: provides consultations and assessments to potential customers. Manages the pipeline of contacts and opportunities within an assigned territory and deliver compelling presentations. Acts as the project manager for installation of systems and coordination of closeout.

With additional education and/or work experience, graduates may find other opportunities for employment.

• Energy Analyst
• Plumber or Electrician Journeyperson
• Project Manager
• Energy Engineer
• Environmental Consultant


Requirements for Program Entry

• Completed application.
• High school transcript or equivalent. (For a list of equivalents, go to
• As a requirement for program entry, an Academic Skills Assessment (Accuplacer) with appropriate benchmark scores is necessary. Program Benchmarks are Elementary Algebra 61; Reading Comprehension: 80; Sentence Skills: 75. Students not meeting these benchmarks or the equivalent will be required to establish an individualized academic plan. Students may have the opportunity to enroll in selected program core courses while completing their individualized plan. Upon completion of the plan, students will be eligible for all program courses. However, higher test scores will lead to greater success in core program courses. To learn more about these assessments and program benchmark scores, please contact a counselor at (920) 498-5444 or (888) 385-6982.

Program Availability

FULL TIMESpring 2017Summer 2017Fall 2017
Green Bay

Application Checklist

Students following the study plan below will complete the Solar Energy Technology associate degree in the number of semesters shown.
Machine Fabrication 1
10-442-150 MACHINE FABRICATION 1 ...a study of joining processes including welding, brazing, soldering, mechanical fasteners and adhesives. Course Typically Offered: Fall/Spring
Energy-Intro Renew & Sustain
10-480-101 ENERGY-INTRO RENEW & SUSTAIN overview of various renewable energy technologies and sustainable design practices and their current applications. Emphasis will be placed on policies, renewable energy production, green products and jobs. Course Typically Offered: Fall/Spring
Intro to Solar
10-482-126 INTRODUCTION TO SOLAR overview of the use of sunlight to produce heat and electricity and the practical and economical use of solar power and solar thermal systems. Learn the importance of energy efficiency and the economics of solar hybrid designs. Course Typically Offered: Fall
Fluids 1: Basic Pneumatics
10-620-100 FLUIDS 1: BASIC PNEUMATICS ...what fluid power is, differentiate between hydraulics and pneumatics, implement basic pneumatic circuits, utilize schematics, apply Pascal's Law, define properties of fluids, implement airflow control and hydraulics cylinder circuits.
Fluids 2: Basic Hydraulics
10-620-101 FLUIDS 2: BASIC HYDRAULICS ...hydraulic pumps, basic hydraulics actuator circuits, hydraulic schematics, apply Pascal's Law, summarize the effects of fluids friction, define properties of hydraulic energy, design hydraulic circuits with directional control valves. (Corequisite: 10-620-100, Fluids 1: Basic Pneumatics) Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
DC 1: Introduction
10-660-104 DC 1: INTRODUCTION ...introduction to the concepts of DC electricity and simple series circuits. Voltage, current, resistance, Ohm's Law, power and Kirchoff's Voltage Law are defined. Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
DC 2: Circuits
10-660-105 DC 2: CIRCUITS ...analysis of parallel and series-parallel circuits. Application of Kirchoff's Current Law to parallel circuit combinations. Introduction of current sources and source conversions. (Corequisites: 10-804-118, Interim Algebra w Apps OR 10-804-113, College Tech Math 1A; 10-660-104, DC 1: Intro) Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
Interm Algebra w Apps
10-804-118 INTERM ALGEBRA W APPS...algebra content with applications. Topics include properties of real numbers, order of operations, algebraic solution for linear equations and inequalities, operations with polynomial and rational expressions, operations with rational exponents and radicals, algebra of inverse, logarithmic and exponential functions. (Prerequisites: Accuplacer Elementary Algebra=61 or ACT-Math =21 or 10-834-110, Elementary Algebra AND Accuplacer Reading=55 or ACT-Reading=15 or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 or Intro to College Writing with "B" or better OR equivalent)
College 101
10-890-101 COLLEGE 101 ...develops tools and strategies that support success in college. Focuses on study skills, college resources, goal setting, time management, and learning styles. Introduces concepts for self assessing learning and completing an Exit Assessment that provides evidence that learning took place. Students should take this course prior to or during the first semester of their programs. 1 cr. Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/J-Session/Spring
Photovoltaics-Design & Site
10-482-132 PHOTOVOLTAICS-DESIGN & SITE ...learn steps to performing a site audit prior to installation of a PV system. Focus on defining the solar window, system site placement, system sizing and design, load analysis and energy efficiency concepts. (Prerequisite: 10-482-126, Intro to Solar) Course Typically Offered: Spring
Machine Wiring and Safety
10-620-140 MACHINE WIRING AND SAFETY ...introduction to machine wiring, including basic documentation, labeling, and wiring practices; an overview of NFPA 70 machinery, safety and installation standards. Course Typically Offered: Fall/Spring
Digital 1: Logic
10-660-101 DIGITAL 1: LOGIC ...AND, OR, NOT, NAND, NOR, logic operation using switch logic, ladder logic, and gate logic. Simplification methods using Boolean theorems and Karnaugh Maps, and timing diagram analysis.
Digital 2: Sequential
10-660-102 DIGITAL 2: SEQUENTIAL ...operation and connection of latches, RS flip-flops, JK flip-flops, and D flip-flops using timing diagram analysis, and some simple applications are studied. (Corequisite: 10-660-101, Digital 1: Logic) Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
AC 1: Properties
10-660-107 AC 1: PROPERTIES ...introduction to the properties of capacitors and inductors including types and behavior in switching circuits. Inductor basics include a study of magnetic fields. (Prerequisite: 10-660-105, DC 2: Circuits; Corequisite: 10-804-196, Trigonometry w Apps OR 10-804-114, College Tech Math 1B) Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
AC 2: Reactance
10-660-108 AC 2: REACTANCE of the way inductive, capacitive and resistive components behave in a circuit excited by a sine waveform. Effective and average values of the sinewave are derived. (Corequisite: 10-660-107, AC 1: Properties) Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
Electronics 1: Diodes-Basic
10-660-110 ELECTRONICS 1: DIODES-BASIC ...introduction to the characteristics and usage of semiconductor diodes in rectifiers and linear power supplies. Special diodes and diode circuits are also considered. (Prerequisite: 10-660-105, DC 2: Circuits; Corequisite: 10-660-107, AC 1: Properties) Course Typically Offered: Fall/Spring
Automation 1: Control Logic
10-664-100 AUTOMATION 1: CONTROL LOGIC ...electric motor control components such as switches, relays, starters, transformers; and safely mount and install motor and motor control components and perform related wiring and troubleshooting of motor control circuits. Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
Automation 2: Motor Control
10-664-101 AUTOMATION 2: MOTOR CONTROL ...electric motor control components such as sensors, timers and counters. (Corequisite: 10-664-100, Automation 1: Control Logic) Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
Trigonometry w Apps
10-804-196 TRIGONOMETRY WITH APPLICATIONS ...topics include circular functions, graphing of trigonometry functions, identities, equations, trigonometric functions of angles, inverse functions, solutions of triangles complex numbers, DeMoivre's Theorem, polar coordinates, and vectors. (Prerequisites: Accuplacer College Level Math=63 or ACT-Math =24 or 10-804-118, Intermediate Alg w/ Apps with "C" or better AND Accuplacer Reading=55 or ACT-Reading=15 or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 or Intro to College Writing with "B" or better OR equivalent) 3 cr. Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
College Physics 1
10-806-143 COLLEGE PHYSICS 1 ...presents the applications and theory of basic physics principles. This course emphasizes problem solving, laboratory investigation and applications. Topics include laboratory safety, unit conversions and analysis, kinematics, dynamics, work, energy, power, temperature, and heat. (Prerequisites: Accuplacer Elem Algebra=61 or ACT-Math score=21 or 10-834-110, Elementary Algebra w/Apps with "C" or better AND Accuplacer Reading=80 or ACT-Reading=17 or 10-831-103, Intro to College Writing or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 with "B" or better OR equivalent) 3 cr. Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
Blueprint Reading Intro
10-403-100 BLUEPRINT READING INTRO ...develop the knowledge skills process and understanding of site plans, footings and foundations, floor plans, elevations, below-grade piping, above-grade piping, isometric piping diagrams, schedules and details, electrical floor plans, lighting, ventilating, and air conditioning. Course Typically Offered: Fall
Intro to Energy Management
10-481-114 INTRO TO ENERGY MANAGEMENT ...introduces the basic concepts of energy, utility systems and utility rate structures; defines the need for energy management as an integral part of society at all levels. The course will present the various opportunities available to energy management students. Course Typically Offered: Fall
10-482-133 PHOTOVOLTAICS-ADVANCED ...topics include batteries, wiring configurations, system diagramming, National Electrical code, component selection, wiring, safety and system maintenance. (Prerequisites: 10-482-126 Intro to Solar; 10-660-104, DC 1: Intro; 10-660-105, DC 2: Circuits; 10-620-107, AC 1: Properties) Course Typically Offered: Fall
Solar Thermal Design & Site
10-483-107 SOLAR THERMAL DESIGN & SITE ...learn steps to performing a site audit prior to installation of a solar thermal system. Focus on defining the solar window, system site placement and sizing, lead analysis and energy efficiency. (Prerequisite: 10-482-126, Intro to Solar) Course Typically Offered: Fall
Power Electronics 1: Devices
10-605-157 POWER ELECTRONICS 1: DEVICES ...the device characteristics and applications of thyristors, power transistors, and switching devices. (Prerequisite: 10-660-107, AC 1: Properties) Course Typically Offered: Fall/Spring
Power Electronics 2: Drives
10-605-158 POWER ELECTRONICS 2: DRIVES ...power circuitry of AC and DC drives and basic setup and application of an industrial DC and AC drives to DC and AC motors. Course Typically Offered: Fall/Spring
English Composition 1
10-801-136 ENGLISH COMPOSITION 1 ...learners develop knowledge/skills in planning, organizing, writing, editing. Students will also analyze audience/purpose, use elements of research, format documents using standard guidelines, and develop critical reading skills. (Prerequisite: Accuplacer Sentence Skills=75 AND Accuplacer Reading=55 OR ACT-English =18 AND ACT Reading =15 OR 10-831-103, Intro to College Writing or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 with "B" or better OR equivalent) Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
Solar Advanced System Design
10-483-106 SOLAR ADVANCED SYSTEM DESIGN ... troubleshooting and repairing renewable thermal and electric equipment; diagnosing faulty equipment; selecting replacement parts; preparing a detailed work order. (Prerequisites: 10-483-107, Solar Thermal Design & Site; 10-482-132, Photovoltaics-Design & Site; 10-482-133, Photovoltaics-Adv; Corequisite: 10-483-108, Solar Thermal Advanced) Course Typically Offered: Spring
Solar Thermal-Advanced
10-483-108 SOLAR THERMAL-ADVANCED ...topics include safety, system design and layout, component selection, mounting collectors, plumbing and insulation copper pipe, storage tank installation, heat exchanger and circulation pump. (Prerequisite: 10-482-126, Intro to Solar) Course Typically Offered: Spring
Technical Reporting
10-801-197 TECHNICAL REPORTING ...principles of report writing and correspondence, proposals, feasibility reports, progress reports, investigation reports, evaluation reports, meeting reports, memos, and correspondence. (Prerequisite: 10-801-136, English Composition I OR 10-801-195, Written Communication with “C” or better) 3 cr. Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/Spring
Intro to Diversity Studies
10-809-172 INTRO TO DIVERSITY STUDIES...basic American values of justice and equality by teaching vocabulary, history of immigration/conquest, transcultural communication, legal liability, multicultural majority/minority relations, ageism, sexism, gender, sexual orientation, the disabled/ADA. (Prerequisite: Accuplacer Sentence Skills=60 AND Accuplacer Reading=55 OR ACT-English =16 AND ACT Reading =15 OR 10-831-103, Intro to College Writing or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 with "B" or better OR equivalent)
Intro to Psychology
10-809-198 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY ...survey of theoretical foundations of human behavior such as sensation and perception, motivation, emotions, learning, personality, psychological disorders, therapy, stress, and human diversity in personal, social and vocational settings. (Prerequisite: Accuplacer Sentence Skills=60 AND Accuplacer Reading=55 OR ACT-English =16 AND ACT Reading =15 OR 10-831-103, Intro to College Writing or 10-831-107, College Reading and Writing 1 with "B" or better OR equivalent) Course Typically Offered: Summer/Fall/J-Session/Spring
Curriculum Note
. The credit for 10-890-101, College 101 is an institutional requirement for graduation. Consequently, it is not part of the program credit requirements, but must be passed with a C or better.
. Students completing General Studies courses at NWTC must earn a "C" or better in English Composition to enroll in Technical Reporting.

Program Outcomes

• Evaluate the energy use of commercial and residential buildings and perform site assessments for solar electric and solar thermal systems.
• Generate technical project proposals and estimates for solar electric and solar thermal systems.
• Read and comprehend mechanical blueprints.
• Upload and download information from remote and local networks to aid in the operation and maintenance of systems.
• Facilitate distributed generation agreements and connection to local utilities.
• Obtain zoning regulations and building permits.
• Design, install and maintain solar electric systems.
• Design, install and maintain solar thermal systems.
• Ensure compliance with the national electrical code.
• Provide training to user upon project completion.
• Install, troubleshoot, repair and modify mechanical and electrical systems including programmable controllers.


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Study Abroad Opportunities

The International Studies staff continually seeks opportunities for students to travel abroad for educational experiences that may be offered in association with program courses. To find out more about which of your program courses may offer an opportunity during this academic year, contact your academic advisor.