Solar engineering is a growing field. While many engineers are working on solar projects, there are no statistics available yet regarding the number of solar engineers who are working full time in America. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in May 2019, there were 33,900 chemical engineers; 185,570 electrical engineers; 291,710 industrial engineers; 26,820 materials engineers; and 306,990 mechanical engineers, employed in the United States.
Power systems companies, solar cell and module manufacturers, solar panel companies, and companies that provide energy-saving services (such as heating and cooling systems, energy audits, etc.) to commercial and residential customers are just a few examples of the types of companies that hire engineers to work on solar projects.
Most engineers, in general, work in architectural, engineering, and related services. Some work for business consulting firms and manufacturing companies that produce electrical and electronic equipment, business machines, computers and data processing companies, and telecommunications parts. Others work for companies that make automotive electronics, scientific equipment, and aircraft parts; consulting firms; public utilities; and government agencies. Some may also work as private consultants.
See if you can get an internship with a company that provides solar energy services. You can also learn more about the industry by visiting the Web sites of professional associations such as the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the American Solar Energy Society. If there's an upcoming meeting or event in your area, it may be a good opportunity to meet solar energy professionals, find out about the latest trends, and learn where the job market is heading.
Solar engineers who work for companies can advance by taking on more projects, managing more people, and moving up to senior-level positions. They may start their own companies and expand their business by offering more services and opening up branches in other locations. They may also teach at universities and write for various publications.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as Solar Industry (https://solarindustrymag.com) and Solar Today (https://www.ases.org/solartoday) to learn more about the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office. Visit https://www.energy.gov/eere/education/clean-energy-jobs-and-planning for information on internships, fellowships, and scholarships.
Visit https://www.energy.gov/eere/education/explore-clean-energy-careers-0 for comprehensive information on careers in renewable energy.