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The Office of Career Services
Library Building, Room 429 & 430
222-05 56th Avenue
Bayside, NY 11364
Phone: (718) 631-6297

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Occupation Info

Solar Energy Systems Designer

Overview: Solar energy system designers plan and design hot water and space heating systems for new and old buildings using knowledge about the sun's energy and local climatic information. They make decisions about the system's components and estimate cost savings compared to fossil fuel heating.
Duties: They design solar domestic hot water and space heating systems for new and existing buildings applying knowledge about local climate conditions and the energy required for a project.

Determine the type of solar system to use such as water, glycol or silicone based on the knowledge of what operates most efficiently in the specific climate conditions.

Calculate the heat generating capacity of different solar panels to determine optimum size and type of panels to be used. They arrange their location.

Specify water storage tank sizes, pumps needed, and piping requirements. Select electrical controls, thermostats and solar sensors to be used. They oversee installation and testing.

Degree(s): A.S. Engineering Science 
A.A.S. Computerized Architectural and Industrial Design 
Job Outlook: Employment as a solar energy engineer will grow as fast as average through 2018. Despite an overall decline in jobs in utilities, solar energy is expanding rapidly producing opportunities for new workers. The Federal government has passed new energy legislation creating subsidies for clean technologies such as solar so that segment should provide significant opportunities for well-educated workers.
Salary Range (National Average): $40,000 to $46,000
Green: Green Career
Education Level: Typically, a Bachelor’s Degree from a 4-year college (some are 5 years) is required to be considered for this occupation.
Additional Training/Education: A college degree from an accredited engineering program with a concentration in construction and electrical engineering, environmental science, and physics is the usual educational background needed. Courses in architectural engineering and computer-aided design are essential. Most states require certification by passing a written examination.
Recommended Skills:
  • Analyzing requirements for a new product or service and creating a design to satisfy those needs.
  • Weighing out the options in a situation or a problem and logically choosing the best course of action.
  • Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.
  • Allocating and budgeting your time for different tasks so that things get done when needed.
  • Using mathematics and/or statistics to solve problems.
  • Ability to identify a problem, review related information, develop and evaluate options, and implement a solution.
  • The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.
  • Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Using scientific methods to investigate and conduct experiments.
  • Analyzing the symptoms of a problem and deciding what actions should be taken to resolve the problem.
  • Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.
Recommended Values:
  • Doing something where you can physically see the results of your work.
  • Having a job where you can spend a significant amount of time outside.
  • Create new ideas, programs, things, or anything else not previously developed by another person.
  • Being able to decide on how to get something done without significant direction from someone else.
  • Having a level of income that will afford you with luxuries, and which will allow you to become financially independent.
  • Having the ability to work with equipment or material things.

* National data collected by the Department of Labor between 2008-2012.
* For New York salary data information please click here
* For New York green job information please click here.

Understanding acquiring positions in this field may be enhanced through continuing academic study (i.e. earning a baccalaureate or a master's degree) and/or work experience in the field, Queensborough Community College has established transfer agreements with other institutions for students who wish to further pursue their educational goals. Students are highly encouraged to meet with one of our Career Services to fully understand the opportunities available through study in their degree program.