How To Become A Solar Engineer
Career Video: Solar Engineer
As a solar engineer, you will design, develop and test new equipment that uses solar energy. You will create products such as solar cells, which collect and harness solar power. You will help homeowners, businesses and cities with their solar energy projects, and understanding the benefits of switching to solar energy. This job requires experience as well as a bachelor’s degree.
Why Become A Solar Engineer
In the future, we will rely on more sustainable forms of energy. Scientists and engineers are very interested in finding more environmentally friendly ways of using energy. Solar energy is one form of energy that is going to be more widely used in the future, because it is cleaner, renewable and more efficient.
Solar engineers design new ways to use solar energy. They develop new products, or find ways to improve products that are already on the market. They help with the manufacturing, construction, and installation of new solar cells and other solar products. They help with the testing and manufacturing of solar equipment, ensuring that products meet the standards required for the project. They work together on a team with other solar engineers, researching and developing new solar products. They work to make sure that projects are completed on time and to specification.
Solar Engineers must possess the following qualities and skills:
- Good communicator
- Attention to detail
- Management skills
- Computer skills
Solar Engineer Work Environment
Most solar engineers work within research and development, or for an engineering service firm. They work in an office setting. In this work environment, they help to develop new types of solar products. They design new ways to use solar energy to accomplish tasks. They look at data and analyze results. They perform experiments inside of a laboratory. All of this is done with an engineering team.
Solar Engineer Salary
The median annual salary for electrical engineers in the United States is $96,270 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Solar engineers fall within this category.
Like many professions, salary can often vary depending on which industry you decide to have a position in. For those solar engineers who decide to pursue a career in the research and development side of engineering, median salaries were $113,000 in 2016. Solar component manufacturing was also quite a lucrative position to be in, with median salaries coming in at $100,000 annually in 2016. Overall, while salaries in solar engineering do vary, they still continue to remain quite high and competitive. People who have advanced education and experience may be able to earn a higher salary.
Solar Engineer Career Outlook
Employment for solar engineers is expected to show little to no change between 2014 and 2024. Many manufacturing sectors that hire solar engineers will be experiencing slow growth, or even a decline in production. This will cause business owners to slow down the number of employment opportunities for engineers. Many companies have been cutting costs by contracting out solar engineers as freelancers or independent contractors, rather than hiring them as full time employees.
The outlook for solar engineers will remain positive. As we head towards the future, many people are interested in environmentalism and sustainability. This has led to scientists and engineering companies desiring to create products that focus on renewable energy, such as solar energy. New technology and constant innovation will make it possible for people to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Solar engineers will be counted on to create products that use solar energy to keep our world a healthy place to live.
Solar Engineer Degree
If you would like to become a solar engineer, read more below for information about this career.
Step 1: Undergraduate education In order to become a solar engineer, you need to have a bachelor’s degree. A degree in a subject such as civil engineering, electric engineering, mechanical engineering, or a related field will be great. If your college or university does not offer any pre-engineering programs, other good programs would be environmental science, physics, chemistry, or any other type of science. Courses in sciences and mathematics will provide a strong foundation and allow you to decide if this is a good field for you. It takes four years to receive a bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: Internships One of the things that is most important in engineering is experience. Employers want to know that you can succeed in the position, and they look at your past experience to figure this out. Find a local research and development agency, or an engineering services firm, where you can get experience in this field. This is best done while you are still in college. You could even get paid for your internship.
Step 3: Licensure It is not required to have a license to become an engineer. There are plenty of solar engineer positions open for people who simply have bachelor’s degrees. Once you have obtained more work experience, you can apply for a professional engineering (PE) license. This PE license is available once you have passed both your Fundamentals of Engineering exam and Professional Engineering exams, and usually have about five years of work experience.