FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS — Photovoltaic Online Training for Code Officials (PVOT)

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“We are pleased to be working with IREC and our Industry partners under the DOE’s SunShot Initiative,” said David Clements, IAEI’s CEO. “IREC’s online training program is an excellent tool that provides much needed education for all involved in today’s fast growing  PV industry.”

Who can take the online course?
The primary intended audience is code officials; however, the training will be available online to anyone who wishes to view the content.

Why was the on-line training developed?
The PVOT project was conceived by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) to create nationwide learning for code officials tasked with reviewing, permitting, and field inspecting residential photovoltaic applications. A cost-benefit analysis determined that traditional workshops led by subject matter experts were unlikely to reach all jurisdictions in need of providing photovoltaic training to their inspectors.

How is the course organized?
The lessons are classified under six basic, page-turner training modules and a seventh “capstone” module. The first six learning modules contain sequential material that includes onscreen text, video and voice-over narration. For each learning module an “i-button” (information button) can link the user to relevant references.   Interactivity is provided only in the assessment portion of each lesson, where the user is required to answer and be scored on multiple-choice questions.  The capstone learning module is game-based. This immersive learning module utilizes a virtual house which includes the increased learning potential of gaming features, such as problem-based challenges and scoring.  It is intended to fully engage the learner in a 3D environment, navigated via the computer keyboard and mouse.

Can you tell me more about the “capstone” module?
The capstone learning module is an immersive 3D environment in which the user can fully and completely engage with a virtual house and roof-mounted PV Array installation.  It provides an interactive environment in which the user can assess and improve his/her ability to identify correctly and/or incorrectly installed components of the PV Array.

The capstone has three different simulation options: Instructional, Exploration, and Assessment. Each of these options provides users, and jurisdictions, with separate but equally useful experiences within the learning module.

  • The Guided Instruction option provides the user with layover text screens which give necessary information for the selected object within in the environment, e.g. selecting the inverter provides a close-up of the inverter with  details.
  • The Exploration option provides the user with the ability to run through the process of field inspection without worrying about being tested or graded.
  • The Assessment (or testing) option mirrors the Exploration option but maintains a testing environment, evaluating and grading the ability of the student to complete a field inspection at a satisfactory level.

Is there a test?
In addition to the assessment contained within the capstone learning module, each “page-turner” learning module contains a multiple-choice assessment at the end. These questions are presented as standard multiple choice and true/false questions that pertain to the knowledge garnered from each lesson. The user must score 80 percent or better to achieve a passing grade.

How much does the online training cost?
There is no charge for this version of the online training but there is a fee for continuing education units (CEUs) offered from the International Association of Electrical Inspectors.

How does one apply for Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?
.6 CEUs will be available upon completion of each of the seven lessons in the course with a score of 80% or better.  Users who request CEUs will be contacted by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) with instructions for applying for CEU’s.  IAEI will contact you using the email address provided at the outset of the course.

Will my jurisdiction or State accept IAEI’s Continuing Education Units?
Those wishing to obtain CEUs through IAEI need to check with their local jurisdiction or State to determine if IAEI’s CEUs will be accepted or recognized.

What browser should be used?
Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox are recommended.  PVOT should be run in the most recent version of the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.  Use of other browsers at this time (October 2012) may cause erratic results:  Lessons may not load correctly and images may display improperly (e.g., overlapping).