Solar Energy Engineer
How to Become a

Solar Energy Engineer

The complete career guide to be a Solar Energy Engineer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $98,150
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 3.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

A solar energy is responsible for creating solar cells for collecting and storing solar energy. Working with various clients, you will create designs for implementing renewable energy projects in cities, for commercial enterprises and private residential homes.

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What is a Solar Energy Engineer?


The job responsibilities of a successful solar energy engineer include the following points:

  • Develop project specifics and functional details for commercial, residential and industrial solar energy infrastructure.
  • Execute solar engineering audits to compile data on electrical and structural aspects of solar power systems.
  • Collaborate closely with electrical contractors and technicians for configuring solar power systems, electrical distribution, plumbing systems, and technology upgrades.
  • Evaluate and assess work plans and take part in inspecting a wide range of premises for new construction, repairs and demolition, to ensure compliance with state and federal rules.
  • Undertake detailed observation of all materials and equipment used in implementing the solar power project, with regard to performance and certification.

Day In The Life

The primary focus of a solar energy engineer is to handle all aspects of solar energy projects, from planning to execution on-site. You might be assigned large scale projects for a government agency, or residential rooftop solar setup.

In the early stages of project planning, your work will involve speaking frequently with the respective client to understand their demands, reviewing the site of the project for any weak points and evaluating the budget requirements for successful implementation. Once this is done, your job will include creating a step by step plan that is well-informed and feasible within the given timeline. Another important part of this job is to coordinate with engineers to ensure project support for development, creation and construction activities.

Other aspects you have to keep in mind include the safety and security of the systems and the overall cost of the project. Having advanced computer skills is highly beneficial for creating up-to-date designs and making sure the photovoltaic systems are working efficiently.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

The majority of solar energy engineers work in standard office settings, but occasional travel is required to work sites and overseas for meetings with clients. In addition, you have to be physically fit for climbing up the ladder to rooftops and inspect residential solar installations. You may also have to move around heavy boxes over short distances.

Growth Of The Job

According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, there has been rapid growth in global solar energy generation at 40% by 2011. This has accounted for a faster than average increase in jobs for this sector, both in the United States and in other countries. Continued growth is very likely due to solar power having a host of environmental advantages and is gradually decreasing in cost, which will allow it to be more competitive with fossil fuels. The largest growth in this field will specifically include roles in solar installation, such as photovoltaic installers or electricians with professional experience in solar installation.

Typical Employers

Solar energy engineers are in high demand in the solar power industry. They are usually employed by solar equipment manufacturers and have to travel quite frequently to diverse work-sites on ground, in Asia and Europe.

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How To Become a Solar Energy Engineer

To join a position as solar energy engineer, you need to at least have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject area such as electrical engineering, industrial engineering, computer software engineering, construction management and mechanical engineering. One way to fast track your job prospects is by acquiring good work experience via internships or consultancy positions related to solar energy engineering. You may explore such opportunities through career services offered at your college or university or reach out to professors directly with your interest. There are also some solar energy firms that provide seasonal internship programs for fresh graduates and junior professionals.

A solar energy is responsible for creating solar cells for collecting and storing solar energy. Working with various clients, you will create designs for implementing renewable energy projects in cities, for commercial enterprises and private residential homes. In this line of work, you need to typically undergo pre-employment on-boarding requirements which might include a detailed criminal/civil background check, drug screening, and a motor vehicle records search, in keeping with existing laws and regulations. A solar energy engineer has to regularly take part in client meetings and presentations, either with other departments such as marketing and sales or alone.. This is why having excellent verbal and written communication skills and a great attitude is a big boost for career prospects. In addition, you have to be comfortable conveying complicated engineering information to non-technical as well as technical audiences.

Solar Energy Engineer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Solar Energy Engineer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Solar Energy Engineer's can make an average annual salary of $98,150, or $47 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $70,960 or $34 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #71 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Solar Energy Engineer. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Solar Energy Engineers

  • 7.3%   Doctorate
  • 28%   Masters
  • 48.1%   Bachelors
  • 6.7%   Associates
  • 7.6%   College
  • 2.2%   High School
  • 0.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Solar Energy Engineer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 5,400 jobs for a total of 142,300 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 3.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #482 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Solar Energy Engineers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Federal government, excluding postal service 28,900 -2,800 -3%
Engineering services 12,200 1,400 1%
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 8,900 2,900 3%

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