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Summary Report for:
17-2199.11 - Solar Energy Systems Engineers

Perform site-specific engineering analysis or evaluation of energy efficiency and solar projects involving residential, commercial, or industrial customers. Design solar domestic hot water and space heating systems for new and existing structures, applying knowledge of structural energy requirements, local climates, solar technology, and thermodynamics.

Sample of reported job titles: Consulting Engineer, Distributed Energy Systems Consultant, Energy Systems Laboratory Director, Engineering Vice President, Field Engineer, Power Systems Engineer, Renewable Energy Division Manager, Research Engineer, Solar Engineer

This title represents an occupation for which data collection is currently underway.

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Values  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings

Tasks

  • Conduct engineering site audits to collect structural, electrical, and related site information for use in the design of residential or commercial solar power systems. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Design or coordinate design of photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal systems, including system components, for residential and commercial buildings. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Create checklists for review or inspection of completed solar installation projects. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Create electrical single-line diagrams, panel schedules, or connection diagrams for solar electric systems, using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Create plans for solar energy system development, monitoring, and evaluation activities. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Develop design specifications and functional requirements for residential, commercial, or industrial solar energy systems or components. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform computer simulation of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation system performance or energy production to optimize efficiency. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Provide technical direction or support to installation teams during installation, start-up, testing, system commissioning, or performance monitoring. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Design or develop vacuum tube collector systems for solar applications. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Develop standard operation procedures and quality or safety standards for solar installation work. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform thermal, stress, or cost reduction analyses for solar systems. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Review specifications and recommend engineering or manufacturing changes to achieve solar design objectives. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.
  • Test or evaluate photovoltaic (PV) cells or modules. Green Task Statement See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Abrasion testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ageing ovens — Accelerated weathering machines; Solar simulators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ammeters — Picoammeters; Recording ammeters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Analytical balances — High-precision balances See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Atomic absorption AA spectrometers — Atomic absorption spectrometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Binocular light compound microscopes — Optical compound microscopes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Brushless motor DC — Direct current DC power supplies See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Calorimeters — Differential scanning calorimeters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Capacitance meters — Inductance capacitance resistance LCR meters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Colorimeters — Spectrocolorimeters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Compression testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Coulometers — Flow coulometric detectors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Creep testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Electrical frequency meters — Phase angle meters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Electrometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Extruders — Film extruders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Fatigue testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Fish tape — Pull testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Flexure or transverse testing machines — Flexure testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Frequency calibrator or simulator — Photovoltaic array simulators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Goniometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Graphic recorders — Current versus voltage IV curve tracers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Graphics tablets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hand held camcorders or video cameras — Video cameras See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hardness testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hipot testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Impact testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Infrared dryers — Ultraviolet UV exposure units See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Infrared imagers — Infrared cameras See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Isolation glove boxes — Inert atmosphere glove boxes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laboratory evaporators — Electron beam evaporators; Vacuum evaporators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laboratory mechanical convection ovens — Bench ovens; Humidity ovens See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laminators — Vacuum laminators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser printers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Lasers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Liquid chromatographs — Liquid chromatographs LC See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Load frame — Load frames See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Mass spectrometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Megohmmeters — Meggers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Metal testing instruments — Adhesion testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Moisture meters — Moisture analyzers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Multi gas monitors — Permeation testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Optical character recognition systems — Optical scanners See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Orbital shakers — Mechanical shakers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • pH meters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Photocopiers — Copy machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Plotter printers — Plotters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pocket calculator — Hand calculators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Polarimeters — Polarographic analyzers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Portable data input terminals — Data loggers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Potentiometers — Chronopotentiometers; Potentiostats See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Power meters — Apparent power meters; Power quality meters; Reactive power meters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Refrigerated and heated reach in environmental or growth chambers — Environmental chambers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Resistance thermometers — Digital resistance thermometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Rheometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Roughness measuring instruments — Surface profilometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanning electron microscopes — Field emission scanning electron microscopes FESEM; Scanning electron microscopes SEM See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanning probe microscopes — Scanning probe microscopes SPM See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Semiconductor process systems — Focused ion beam FIB systems; Ion beam assisted deposition IBAD systems; Ion mills; Plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition PECVD systems (see all 8 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Semiconductor testers — Lifetime testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Shear strength testers — Shear testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Signal generators — Digital pattern generators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Solar radiation surface observing apparatus — Irradiance detectors; Pyranometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Spectrometers — Auger electron spectrometers; Electron energy loss spectrometers; Energy dispersive x-ray spectrometers EDS; X-ray photoelectron spectrometers (see all 7 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Spectrophotometers — Fluorescence spectrophotometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Strain gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers — Thermal cyclers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tension testers — Tensile testers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Thermo gravimetry analyzers — Thermogravimetric analyzers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Thermocouples — Thermopiles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Thickness measuring devices — Spectroscopic ellipsometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Transmission electron microscopes — Transmission electron microscopes TEM See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tube furnaces — Laboratory tube furnaces See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ultrasonic cleaning equipment — Ultrasonic cleaners See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Vacuum ovens See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Videoscopes — Digital imaging microscopes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Voltage or current meters — Voltmeters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • X ray diffraction equipment — X ray diffractometers See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Analytical or scientific software — Simulation software; SOLAR-2; SolTrace; The MathWorks MATLAB (see all 19 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD LT; Autodesk AutoCAD software; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks software; IMSI Design TurboCAD software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Development environment software — National Instruments LabVIEW See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Mobile location based services software — Global positioning satellite GPS system software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Inspect finished products to locate flaws. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Provide technical guidance to other personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Test green technologies or processes. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyze costs and benefits of proposed designs or projects. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare detailed work plans. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Determine operational methods. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Collect data about project sites. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluate plans or specifications to determine technological or environmental implications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Determine design criteria or specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Create models of engineering designs or methods. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Create graphical representations of energy production systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Design alternative energy systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyze green technology design requirements. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: RI

  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Values

  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages data collected from Engineers, All Other.
Employment data collected from Engineers, All Other.
Industry data collected from Engineers, All Other.

Median wages (2014) $45.31 hourly, $94,240 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 133,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 29,500
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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