Introduction to photovoltaics course

Saturday 15 June 2019
This course runs from 9.00am to 5.00pm in Stanmer Park, Brighton.

Learn how to design and install off-grid and on-grid photovoltaic energy systems in the beautiful setting of Earthship Brighton.

What will the Introduction to photovoltaics course cover?

The course will cover the basics of photovoltaics, from system design and load calculation through to the various types of solar panels, batteries and inverters and their suitability in different situations. The afternoon will be spent setting up a small photovoltaic system and will include a tour of the award winning Earthship Brighton.

The day is aimed at those who wish to get a broad introduction to renewable energy technologies, as well as those wishing to install a photovoltaic energy system for power, as well as for water and/or space heating. See Andy's article on the latest developments in solar here: Water and space heating from solar

Please bring a basic calculator to use during the day.

A taste of what you'll learn

Who is the Introduction to photovoltaics course for?

This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over. It is for anyone wishing to learn how to make a small scale basic solar electric energy system for domestic or other similar purpose. It is suitable for complete beginners, as well as those more familiar with electrics.

Brighton Permaculture Trust aims to meet the needs of participants with physical disabilities and leaning difficulties. If you have any issues which you feel may affect your ability to attend or participate in this course/event, please contact us to discuss them prior to booking.

Learning methods and outcomes

Participants will learn about photovoltaic systems, from the basics of electricity, batteries, panel types and inverters through to designing a basic off-grid or on-grid system. The course includes slides, discussions, a practical session wiring up and testing a small off-grid photovoltaic system and a tour of Earthship Brighton. Course participants who complete the entire course will receive a certificate, which will be sent via email after the course.

Course tutor

Andy Reynolds is a long-term practitioner in low-impact living and the associated technologies, who has been building and using wind and solar systems since the late 80s. He runs his home almost entirely from home-generated renewable energy and is the author of Wind & Solar Electricity: A practical DIY guide.

Mischa Hewitt will be assisting. Mischa was one of the project managers of Earthship Brighton, is the author of the book Earthships in Europe, and has an MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (Distinction) from the Centre for Alternative Technology. He is a building consultant, domestic and non-domestic energy assessor, and has worked on many eco renovation projects.


Stanmer Park (near University of Sussex)
South East England

Get directions to Stanmer Park.

If you intend to book accommodation, please check availability before booking a place, as accommodation in Brighton can be hard to find, especially over the summer months.

Get details on local accommodation and Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.

Recommended resources

No reading is required prior to the Introduction to photovoltaics course. The resources listed here are recommendations only:


Fees include tuition, refreshments and information sheets.

  • £280 - Sponsored/organisation rate
  • £280 - Individual income more than 25k/yr
  • £230 - Individual income 18-25k/yr
  • £180 - Individual income less than 18k/yr
  • £65 - Individual, concessionary rate (check eligibility)*

* Concessionary places are limited. If places are not available check back two weeks before the course/event as more may be available then.

We endeavour to make our courses and events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of these and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.

See the cancellations and refunds policy.

Booking the Introduction to photovoltaics course

Booking is essential, as most of our courses/events are fully booked weeks in advance. However, if places are still available, then bookings can be made until midday the day before the course. A place is not secured until we have received the requested payment.

Please do not book unless you are able to pay for your place.

Paying for your place

Please read this section carefully.

When you complete the booking process, you will receive a confirmation email from us. If you haven't received that email within the next few hours, please contact us immediately, as this email contains vital information regarding your booking.

You can pay when you book your place using a credit/debit card or PayPal, or you can tick the 'Pay later' box (in the Event Fee section), which gives you the option to pay by BACS or send us a cheque after you have booked. If you choose to pay later, you will have 7 days to pay for your place. Bookings that remain unpaid on our system for longer than that will expire. You will receive notification of this expiration by email. If you then decide you want to come, you will need to contact us to see if there is a still a place available for you.

If you are booking within two weeks of the course, or the course is nearly full, you will not have the option to pay later. Instead, you will need to pay immediately at the point of booking using a credit card or PayPal.

Be certain that you understand ALL the information on this page, then:


Book the 15 June course


Contact us

For further information or if you have problems with your registration, please contact us.

  • Layla
    "Fascinating seeing the Earthship and I now feel fairly confident about being able to make my own solar installation."

    Layla Redway-Harris

  • Guy
    "I was hoping to leave the course with a basic understanding of off grid solar but left with enough knowledge to actually build a system. I would highly recommend anyone to attend, as we should all be aware of solar power." 

    Guy Walker

  • Monica
    "Although the course addressed diverse goals and levels of technical understanding I obtained an understanding of solar energy and panels that will help me take a better informed decision about having them for heating my home." 


  • Mark
    "What better place to hold a solar PV course than in an Earthship?"

    Mark Easen

  • Vicki
    "Well structured, good amount of information (not too much but enough to be satisfied) and taught well. Friendly and engaged tutors/volunteers - and participants!"