Solar Energy Systems Engineer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Performs site-specific engineering analysis or evaluation of energy efficiency and solar projects involving residential, commercial, or industrial customers. Designs 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 career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Engineering and Technology pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Creates plans for solar energy system development, monitoring, and evaluation activities.
  • Conducts engineering site audits to collect structural, electrical, and related site information for use in the design of residential or commercial solar power systems.
  • Designs or coordinates design of photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal systems, including system components, for residential and commercial buildings.
  • Creates electrical single-line diagrams, panel schedules, or connection diagrams for solar electric systems, using computer-aided design (CAD) software.
  • Reviews specifications and recommends engineering or manufacturing changes to achieve solar design objectives.
  • Develops design specifications and functional requirements for residential, commercial, or industrial solar energy systems or components.
  • Provides technical direction or support to installation teams during installation, start-up, testing, system commissioning, or performance monitoring.
  • Performs computer simulation of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation system performance or energy production to optimize efficiency.
  • Develops standard operation procedures and quality or safety standards for solar installation work.
  • Creates checklists for review or inspection of completed solar installation projects.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Consulting Engineer --
  • Distributed Energy Systems Consultant --
  • Energy Systems Laboratory Director --
  • Engineering Vice President --
  • Field Engineer -- Responsibilities may include researching, developing, and designing machines and devices; installing hardware and servicing machines; and may supervise the construction of buildings, roads, airports, dams, tunnels, water supply and sewage systems, as well
  • Power Systems Engineer --
  • Renewable Energy Division Manager --
  • Research Engineer -- Independently evaluates, selects and applies standardized scientific or engineering procedures and techniques to area of specialization.
  • Solar Engineer --