A solar career

What Can a Solar Career Do for You?

Becoming a solar energy professional is good for you and the planet. At any point in your life, you can turn to solar. But what can a solar career do for you?

What Can a Solar Career Do for You?

Becoming a solar energy professional is good for you and the planet. At any point in your life, you can turn to solar. But what can a solar career do for you?

Merve Özcaner - SEE Team

June 25, 2021

Everyone has at one point thought if they were doing the "right thing" with their lives and career and when it comes to employment, a solar job – whether it is in research, operation or installation is undoubtedly an exciting one since both are has a bright future and it contributes to a brighter future if you will 😊

According to IRENA's 2020 Renewable Energy and Jobs report, The solar PV industry retains the top spot, with "33% of the total renewable energy workforce", which is estimated to grow even more (5). One of our distinguished professors, Dr. Winfried Hoffmann, said that "The International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2020 report declares solar energy as the new king of electricity generation and renewables."

Dr. Winfried Hoffmann is in the solar industry since the 80's. He teaches "The Global Energy Needs in a Nutshell" course.

Think about it for a second: a career in the solar energy field could take you to work outdoors on land or at sea, in an office or a laboratory. Also, many roles provide the opportunity to travel and work in different environments around the globe. We share many inspiring people's career journeys in solar energy on our blog; some of them switched careers from the oil & gas industries. Some of them became pioneers in their countries in what they do and they bring hope and positive change to their communities.

Going into technicalities: as part of the clean energy economy, a solar energy engineer can design large-scale PV or solar thermal systems; after the design phase, engineers are responsible for evaluating a design's effectiveness, cost, reliability, and safety. They can develop the requirements that allow solar power to integrate into the power grid safely, effectively and efficiently; create electrical three-line diagrams for solar power systems using computer-aided design software. They take optimisation, efficiency, and performance into consideration. They can also provide technical direction or support to field teams during installation, start-up, testing, system commissioning. If they are interested in management and operations, they can monitor performance and recommend necessary changes to achieve solar energy objectives.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Glunz is the co-coordinator of the SEE and a global expert in solar cells - acknowledged by academia and the industry.

So, what a solar engineer can do is versatile. In the rapidly developing solar industry, a little bit of imagination and passion are enough to play multi- and inter-disciplinary roles by bringing one's professional background in another field into the solar world. For instance, software engineers can study this master's program and combine their solar knowledge with digital solutions they can create for solar investment, simulations, operations, sales, and customer service and more.

Many of our SEE students and alumni actively work as engineers and managers in the global solar energy industry. After graduation, students can start their own solar business or stay in academia to pursue a PhD. Some potential employers in the solar energy industry include, but not limited to, are:

●        Solar energy equipment manufacturers

●        Engineering and consulting companies

●        Energy utility companies

●        Government and non-government organisations

●        Research and development departments

Whichever path they choose, solar energy engineers are sure to become essential agents in the ever-growing, international renewable energy arena. So what can a solar career do for you? It can help you change your and others' lives for the better, give you many opportunities, whether all around the globe or in your next door.

Cover image: Fraunhofer ISE - University of Freiburg, by Klaus Polkowski


IRENA (2020), Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2020, International Renewable
Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.