Solar Energy Systems Design Engineer



  • Review specifications and recommend engineering or manufacturing changes to achieve solar design

  • Test or evaluate photovoltaic (PV) cells or modules

Career Path

As engineers gain experience, they become specialists and advance into positions where they supervise a team of engineers and other staff.

Some eventually become managers or move into sales jobs where their technical background is particularly useful. Some go on to earn a master’s in business administration (MBA) to prepare them for higher level managerial positions.

Earning Potential

Median hourly wage (2009): $43.06

Median annual wage (2009): $89,560

(Based on “Engineers, All Other”)


Typically, this occupation requires an engineering degree from a college or university accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Typically, a degree in electrical engineering is preferred for a solar energy systems engineer position. However, a degree in a related technical field may also be acceptable. Some colleges and universities offer five-year programs that culminate in a master’s degree. Some offer five- or six-year programs that include cooperative experience. Some four-year schools have arrangements with community colleges or liberal arts colleges that allow students to spend two or three years at the initial school and transfer for

the last two years to complete their engineering degree.

All fifty states and the District of Columbia require engineers to be licensed as professional engineers (PE) if they serve the public directly. In most states, licensure requires graduation from a four-year engineering program accredited by ABET,four years of experience, and passing the state exam. Many engineers take the Fundamentals of Engineering portion of the exam upon graduation. They are then engineers in training (EIT). After obtaining appropriate work experience, they take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to complete their professional license. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the requirements are the same or more stringent. Some states have continuing education requirements.