Solar energy is still somewhat seen as an alternative energy source compared to the older and less cleaner ways of producing energy, but how much longer will this clean energy be seen as an alternative? Last year, an ambitious goal was unveiled for Singapore to install at least 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) of solar photovoltaic (PV) power by 2030 – more than six times the currently installed capacity. We’re seeing progress and will hopefully become the ‘new normal’.
Renewable energy engineering is a sector that has and will continue to grow at a fast pace and with industry growth comes new and exciting job opportunities for engineers. Whether you are just starting out in your engineering career or you are thinking of moving your focus to the renewable sector, we have some reasons as to why solar engineering should be considered as a viable choice for you and your career.
What is solar energy?
Simply put, solar engineering is used to harness the energy that is being transferred from the sun to earth. When light hits solar panels, it reacts with the silicon crystals that are inside each panel, to produce an electric current. This is then fed into the national grid where we can transform the energy into power. Although it sounds simple, the sector needs knowledgeable and interested engineers to carry out the work. Solar engineering can cover anything from small projects like solar panels on the rooftops of houses to large scale solar energy plants. Solar engineering is not limited to solar panels, there are many job titles that you can explore!
What is the role of a solar energy engineer?
Just like other engineering sectors, there is no single role of a solar energy engineer. There will be different titles and different parts of the sector that you can potentially get involved in, depending on your skill set. Solar engineers can do anything from planning, designing and implementing projects. You can get involved in larger scale projects including energy farms and finding new ways to implement the renewable energy source. Or you can get involved with smaller projects like rooftop installations of solar panels.
There is so much variation in the sector and it’s not all just working with solar panels. Projects have to include consultation, site assessment, financial assessment, design processes and so much more. Teams need engineers with different abilities, they need people from different backgrounds to bring their experience and they need engineers like you.
You’ll be contributing to helping the environment
As you’ll probably know, we have already started and need to continue the fight against using fossil fuels and non-renewable forms of energy. The use of these kinds of energy in Singapore has significantly decreased over the years, but we need to carry on and make sure that renewable are hopefully here to stay. Using solar panels in homes is just one aspect of what solar engineering can bring to communities. Engineering can bring so may positive effects to our current way of life, being able to be a part of the change might be something that you are really passionate about. Sectors like this need determined engineers. Someone that is going to make a stand and fight for what they believe in. Passion brings innovation and the more people that get involved in projects within solar engineering, will bring new and inventive ideas with them.
The sector is becoming competitive
The more demand in the solar sector, the more chance it has of becoming a mainstream way of producing energy. If there are more opportunities, then there will be a need for more engineers. It’s simply a case of supply and demand. Sectors like solar are becoming more noticed and can help provide more engineering jobs in Singapore. Since 2014, the SolarNova programme is a Whole-Of-Government effort led by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and HDB to accelerate the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Singapore. The SolarNova programme will generate an estimated 420 GWh of solar energy annually. This is about 5% of Singapore’s total energy consumption or equivalent to powering 88,000 4-room flats. We will progressively roll out 220 MWp of solar panels across 5,500 HDB blocks within the next few years, which will align with Singapore’s plans to generate 350 MWp of solar power by 2020. Projects like this call for thousands of engineers, so now might just be the right time for you to get involved and see how your career can make a change!
There is money to be spent in this sector and room for innovative engineers like yourself. If you are passionate about the sectors within renewable engineering, then this might be a good step for you to take. However, if this is a new idea to you, make sure you do your research. As much as this sector is growing, you need to know where jobs will take you and how it will impact your career. Make the right choice for you.