1.1 Indoor

1.1.1. Classroom

Best Practices: The Series - #7: Photovoltaic Labs - 1.1.1. Classroom


  • Comfortable seating with tables (not desk) for participants
  • Sufficient lighting (natural and full spectrum artificial lighting)
  • Projection screen and high intensity LCD projector appropriate for size of classroom
  • Adequate work-space for the number of students
  • Extra table space and area at front of class for equipment demonstrations
  • Appropriate signage (bulletin boards and wall display areas)
  • Wireless Internet connection
  • Wireless presenter (audio/speaker system)
  • Indoor lab areas – (see Section 1.1.2)

Suggested Quantity: One typical classroom or small auditorium with appropriate A/V facilities.

Importance Rating: Essential

Comments: It is important to provide an appropriate teacher/student ratio. A maximum 15/1 ratio is recommended.

1.1.1.a. Laptop Computers or Computer Lab   

Best Practices: The Series - #7: Photovoltaic Labs - 1.1.1.a. Laptop Computers or Computer Lab


Up-to-date personal computers or laptops with software for site evaluation and system design to match the level of instruction typical of computer labs at educational institutions.

Suggested Quantity:  One PC for every 4 students (minimum); 1 computer each is preferred

Importance Rating: Essential

Comments: Computers are increasingly important in areas such as site evaluation, system design, equipment orders, job tracking, remote monitoring, and diagnostics.

1.1.2. Indoor Lab Area

Best Practices: The Series - #7: Photovoltaic Labs - 1.1.2. Indoor Lab Area

Specifications: Indoor lab area ideally located adjacent the classroom area.

Mockups and workstations:

  • Pitched roof surfaces with roofing materials common to the area
  • Flat roof surfaces – safe floor mount mockups (roofing flats can be configured for various roof installation activities)
  • Wall areas for equipment mounting and wiring workstations
  • Rolling Cart mockups for smaller programs, or those with limited space


  • Building Integrated PV (BIPV) (such as poly roofing tiles and solar glass)
  • Major equipment identification display boards
  • Balance of system (BOS) equipment, parts, and hardware display boards
  • Safety gear and equipment display boards
  • Bulletin Boards

Suggested Quantity:  As required.

Importance Rating: Essential

Comments: Flat and pitched surfaces for indoor lab activities support the development of real-world hands-on skills. Wall area displays are great for parts and equipment identification.

1.1.3. PV Lab Safety Provisions

Best Practices: The Series - #7: Photovoltaic Labs - 1.1.3. PV Lab Safety Provisions
Image: MySafetySign.com

Specifications: Effective lab facilities should include safe-practice areas for the various types of PV installations, such as:

  • OSHA signage and materials
  • Rolling first-aid cart (when appropriate)
  • First aid cabinet with eye wash station
  • Safety gear and equipment display boards

Suggested Quantity: As required

Importance Rating: Essential

Comments:  Lab safety cannot be overstated and should receive appropriate attention during lab activity preparation (safety tool box talk). Students should demonstrate safety practices during actual hands-on activities.

1.1.4. Pre-packaged PV Trainers

Best Practices: The Series - #7: Photovoltaic Labs - 1.1.4. Pre-packaged PV Trainers

Specifications: use as appropriate where space is limited 

Suggested Quantity: based on number of students, available space, and budget.

Importance Rating: Desirable (may be useful in some situations).

Comments:  Pre-packaged trainers offer speed and simplicity, and units often come with exercises. They work in limited space situations and require no assembly to operate. Most are expensive, however. They also tend to be limited in scope and do not provide real-word simulation. Pricing typical PV equipment through local suppliers and building lab mockups on site is a more cost-effective approach and better represents real-world situations.

1.1.4.a. Rolling PV Training Units  

Best Practices: The Series - #7: Photovoltaic Labs - 1.1.4.a. Rolling PV Training Units

Specifications: Where prepackaged trainers might not be appropriate for most lab situations, small site-built PV lab rolling units are widely used. Larger mobile training units, trailers, and demonstrators are custom-made or fabricated.

Suggested Quantity: As needed to match the scope of instruction.

Importance Rating: Desirable (may be essential for certain situations)

Comments: The design and construction of training carts and rolling units can make excellent student projects. They can be very desirable for programs since they are self-contained and can be built to store in the space available.

Donate to IREC

IREC builds the foundation for a 100% clean energy future.

Donate Now