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Solar Power Engineer
Solar power engineers focus on converting natural energy iinto practical uses by studying the motion of gases, liquids and solids, and the effect that heating and cooling have on these substances. This is a very important career in this time of acute energy shortages.

Solar power engineers design solar energy cells by using scientific information gathered from the combustion of matter, interaction of materials and transfer of energy. Solar energy cells collect the sun’s rays, thereby harnessing natural energy. This energy supplies power which can be used in many different environments, such as providing power for large-scale solar power electrical generation stations or much smaller solar power panels for domestic use. Solar panels are also used in the heating of water for swimming pools and buildings.

Due to the need for cheaper power supply solutions, solar power engineers continually experiment with different and more economical ways of collecting and distributing this natural, unlimited and above all, free energy supply.

They may spend most of their time doing research, as well as designing, developing and testing their projects. They are required to produce detailed reports on the research they conduct. Solar power engineers work closely with other engineers on complex projects, each working on a different aspect of the project.

They work mostly in laboratories, research or manufacturing facilities. They work with computers, testing equipment, solar cells, solar panels, research materials and reports.

Satisfying Aspects
- interesting and challenging careers
- satisfaction using natural energy and thus protecting the environment

Demanding aspects
- long hours spent doing research
- stressful when working to deadlines
- lack of funding for research projects

- mathematical and technical ability
- able to communicate effectively
- have information gathering skills
- enjoy doing research
- prepared to work alone or part of a team

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting requirements for course

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Engineering and Technology

Degree: BEng Electrical / Mechanical Engineering - most universities, eg Wits, UCT etc

Diploma: Universities of technology, eg CPUT, DUT

- electrical equipment manufacturing companies
- research and development institutes, laboratories
- industrial laboratories
- government departments
- electrical power supply companies
- solar energy companies

Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa
P O Box 868
Ferndale, 2160
Tel: (011) 789-1384. Fax: (011) 789-1385