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What Does a Solar Power Engineer Do?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 23, 2024
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Green jobs work to provide long-term natural energy solutions for human endeavors. A solar power engineer is one such profession, and such individuals deal specifically with energy derived from the sun. These engineers harness solar rays through cells and solar panels. They work with clients on the planning, design, and implementation of solar energy projects on a personal or civil level.

Solar power is a form of renewable, environmentally friendly energy. Thus, the demand for skilled workers in this technology is growing. Generally, speaking, solar power takes the sun’s rays and converts them into a natural energy source.

On the most basic level, the solar power engineer is responsible for creating solar energy cells. They achieve this goal in part by studying temperature and its effect on the earth’s elements in all forms: liquid, gas, and solid. Solar cells are what engineers use to gather and store the sun’s rays, and once created these cells may be used to make larger structures called solar panels. Small panels might be used for additions to a small building or a particular building fixture such as a swimming pool. Larger panels can be used to sustain entire solar power plants.

A solar power engineer might work for anyone who wishes to use solar power as a primary or secondary energy source. Projects may range from private home conversions to renovating large portions of a whole town. After an initial client consultation, a typical project will involve several steps.

The site of the energy conversion will first have to be visited and assessed. From this assessment, the solar power engineer designs a specific plan that addresses the best approach, the risks of the particular project, and the technology and financial backing that the project will require. From there, the solar engineer might oversee specific details as the project comes to fruition.

Meetings and information briefings with these clients are therefore an important part of the job. Teamwork and communication skills are often essential. Technical report write-ups are also commonplace, so some proficiency in this area will likely prove invaluable as well.

Someone in this field might also occasionally work in a maintenance capacity. If a client who has solar technology experiences problems with equipment, the engineer may be called upon to help discover the source of the malfunction. Such duties might also include performing evaluations and recommending improvements on systems.

In addition, solar power engineer jobs can call for familiarity with specific equipment. Transformers, inverters, and photovoltaic modules are just a few components that the solar engineer will deal with daily. The engineer will also need to keep track of projects and progress by using computerized aids like data acquisition systems.

A solid educational background for a solar power engineer and other engineering professions will include plenty of science, mathematics, and research-heavy courses. A bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline like electrical or mechanical engineering will also generally be needed, as will a specific advanced education background in solar engineering. In some areas, more advanced certification could be required.

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