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.
This title represents an occupation for which data collection is currently underway.
- Conduct engineering site audits to collect structural, electrical, and related site information for use in the design of residential or commercial solar power systems.
- Design or coordinate design of photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal systems, including system components, for residential and commercial buildings.
- Create checklists for review or inspection of completed solar installation projects.
- Create electrical single-line diagrams, panel schedules, or connection diagrams for solar electric systems, using computer-aided design (CAD) software.
- Create plans for solar energy system development, monitoring, and evaluation activities.
- Develop design specifications and functional requirements for residential, commercial, or industrial solar energy systems or components.
- Perform computer simulation of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation system performance or energy production to optimize efficiency.
- Provide technical direction or support to installation teams during installation, start-up, testing, system commissioning, or performance monitoring.
- Design or develop vacuum tube collector systems for solar applications.
- Develop standard operation procedures and quality or safety standards for solar installation work.
- Perform thermal, stress, or cost reduction analyses for solar systems.
- Review specifications and recommend engineering or manufacturing changes to achieve solar design objectives.
- Test or evaluate photovoltaic (PV) cells or modules.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Abrasion testers
- Ageing ovens — Accelerated weathering machines; Solar simulators
- Ammeters — Picoammeters; Recording ammeters
- Analytical balances — High-precision balances
- Atomic absorption AA spectrometers — Atomic absorption spectrometers
- Binocular light compound microscopes — Optical compound microscopes
- Brushless motor DC — Direct current DC power supplies
- Calorimeters — Differential scanning calorimeters
- Capacitance meters — Inductance capacitance resistance LCR meters
- Colorimeters — Spectrocolorimeters
- Compression testers
- Coulometers — Flow coulometric detectors
- Creep testers
- Electrical frequency meters — Phase angle meters
- Extruders — Film extruders
- Fatigue testers
- Fish tape — Pull testers
- Flexure or transverse testing machines — Flexure testers
- Frequency calibrator or simulator — Photovoltaic array simulators
- Graphic recorders — Current versus voltage IV curve tracers
- Graphics tablets
- Hand held camcorders or video cameras — Video cameras
- Hardness testers
- Hipot testers
- Impact testers
- Infrared dryers — Ultraviolet UV exposure units
- Infrared imagers — Infrared cameras
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers
- Isolation glove boxes — Inert atmosphere glove boxes
- Laboratory evaporators — Electron beam evaporators; Vacuum evaporators
- Laboratory mechanical convection ovens — Bench ovens; Humidity ovens
- Laminators — Vacuum laminators
- Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines
- Laser printers
- Liquid chromatographs — Liquid chromatographs LC
- Load frame — Load frames
- Mass spectrometers
- Megohmmeters — Meggers
- Metal testing instruments — Adhesion testers
- Moisture meters — Moisture analyzers
- Multi gas monitors — Permeation testers
- Optical character recognition systems — Optical scanners
- Orbital shakers — Mechanical shakers
- Personal computers
- pH meters
- Photocopiers — Copy machines
- Plotter printers — Plotters
- Pocket calculator — Hand calculators
- Polarimeters — Polarographic analyzers
- Portable data input terminals — Data loggers
- Potentiometers — Chronopotentiometers; Potentiostats
- Power meters — Apparent power meters; Power quality meters; Reactive power meters
- Refrigerated and heated reach in environmental or growth chambers — Environmental chambers
- Resistance thermometers — Digital resistance thermometers
- Roughness measuring instruments — Surface profilometers
- Scanning electron microscopes — Field emission scanning electron microscopes FESEM; Scanning electron microscopes SEM
- Scanning probe microscopes — Scanning probe microscopes SPM
- 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)
- Semiconductor testers — Lifetime testers
- Shear strength testers — Shear testers
- Signal generators — Digital pattern generators
- Solar radiation surface observing apparatus — Irradiance detectors; Pyranometers
- Spectrometers — Auger electron spectrometers; Electron energy loss spectrometers; Energy dispersive x-ray spectrometers EDS; X-ray photoelectron spectrometers (see all 7 examples)
- Spectrophotometers — Fluorescence spectrophotometers
- Strain gauges
- Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers — Thermal cyclers
- Tension testers — Tensile testers
- Thermo gravimetry analyzers — Thermogravimetric analyzers
- Thermocouples — Thermopiles
- Thickness measuring devices — Spectroscopic ellipsometers
- Transmission electron microscopes — Transmission electron microscopes TEM
- Tube furnaces — Laboratory tube furnaces
- Ultrasonic cleaning equipment — Ultrasonic cleaners
- Vacuum ovens
- Videoscopes — Digital imaging microscopes
- Voltage or current meters — Voltmeters
- X ray diffraction equipment — X ray diffractometers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — Simulation software; SOLAR-2; SolTrace; The MathWorks MATLAB (see all 19 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD LT; Autodesk AutoCAD software; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks software; IMSI Design TurboCAD software
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access
- Development environment software — National Instruments LabVIEW
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Mobile location based services software — Global positioning satellite GPS system software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Detailed Work Activities
- Inspect finished products to locate flaws.
- Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
- Provide technical guidance to other personnel.
- Test green technologies or processes.
- Analyze costs and benefits of proposed designs or projects.
- Prepare detailed work plans.
- Determine operational methods.
- Collect data about project sites.
- Evaluate plans or specifications to determine technological or environmental implications.
- Determine design criteria or specifications.
- Create models of engineering designs or methods.
- Create graphical representations of energy production systems.
- Design alternative energy systems.
- Analyze green technology design requirements.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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|
|Employment (2012)||133,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Slower than average (3% to 7%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||29,500|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "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.