Solar Design Engineer

Design solar energy systems based on clients' location and budget.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$50,000 – $139,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Solar Design Engineers do?

Solar Design Engineers are paid to help people and buildings harness the sun’s energy potential using solar photovoltaics. After all, something as hot and as big as the sun has got to be powerful, right? In fact, the sun is so big – 865,000 miles in diameter, to be precise – that nearly a million planet Earths can fit inside it.

If you’re a Solar Design Engineer, you know better than anyone just how powerful the sun can be. And you’re employed by architecture, engineering, and design firms, as well as energy companies and solar equipment manufacturers, to share that knowledge.

Usually, that means designing, reviewing, and approving solar installations for commercial and industrial buildings, as well as government and utility projects. During a typical day, that requires conducting site evaluations – measuring sun exposure, shade, and wind, for instance – then using computer-aided design (CAD) software to design the size, scope, and specifications of ground- and roof-mounted solar installations.

In the golden age of green business, solar arrays are being installed everywhere from hotels and hospitals to corporate headquarters and city halls. No matter what type of building it is, however, your job as a Solar Design Engineer is to assess financial resources and energy needs, then to design solar installations based on clients’ unique goals, geography, real estate, and budgets.

Because solar arrays aren’t just plug and play, your engineering challenge ultimately is spending as little money and soaking up as much sun as possible – whether you’re in sunny Florida or in Alaska, where the sun only shines for a few hours a day in winter!

Should I be a Solar Design Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Solar Applications Development Engineer, Solar Designer, Solar Engineer

    How to become a Solar Design Engineer

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Solar Design Engineer-related education!
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