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I'm interested in sustainable energy like solar power, what major should i choose?

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  • Thread starter dumpman
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i am planning to go for a bachelor in eletrical engineering, but im not sure if it is right for solar power.
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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i am planning to go for a bachelor in eletrical engineering, but im not sure if it is right for solar power.
It would be a fine start, IMO.
 
  • #3
Pengwuino
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Going into physics and getting into condensed matter might also be a good path.
 
  • #4
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For photovoltaics I would also say EE.
For things such as solar heated boilers or wind energy I would say ME.
For alternative fuels I would say ChemE.
 
  • #5


I don't know how it is broken down at other schools, but here at A&M they have different tracks for EE's. My bet would be an EE on the power tract would be your best bet.
 
  • #6
Astronuc
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For photovoltaics I would also say EE.
For things such as solar heated boilers or wind energy I would say ME.
For alternative fuels I would say ChemE.
I concur. Also relevant courses in materials (materials science & engineering) would be beneficial.
 
  • #7
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#1 discipline in my opinion for photovoltaics is chemistry followed closely by material science. Although condensed matter physics and electrical engineering aren't a bad way to go either but most of the development being done is by chemists. Every PV seminar I have gone to have been by inorganic and organic chemists.
 
  • #8
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I'm going to take a different approach and say business or economics (or even political science). You can make improvements in PV efficiency with the chemistry or EE majors, but that is not why PV don't have any successful large-scale practical power applications. But if you really want to solve technical problems related to large-scale power applications from solar energy in general then I would recommend working on energy storage rather than solar energy itself.
 
  • #9


#1 discipline in my opinion for photovoltaics is chemistry followed closely by material science. Although condensed matter physics and electrical engineering aren't a bad way to go either but most of the development being done is by chemists. Every PV seminar I have gone to have been by inorganic and organic chemists.
Could not disagree more. Chemists may do the "way out there" stuff, but the people doing practical work are engineers. MSE and EE are the two best fields for getting into solar cell research, in my opinion. I base this on the fact that the majority of the faculty working on solar cells at my institution are EE's.
 
  • #10
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I can't vouch for chemists and how closely they are tied to photovoltaics, but I do agree with FirstYearGrad in that EE will set you up nicely for this and many EE professors I know are involved with solar cells.
 
  • #11
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I base this on the fact that the majority of the faculty working on solar cells at my institution are EE's.
Are they working on the actual PV cells or just related components of it (i.e. current collectors, control systems, substrates, etc)? The majority of PV work done at my institution has been done by EEs as well but none of their research projects are actually developing new cells. The latest and greatest actual PV development IMO is in the area of dye-sensitized solar cells, much which involves finding new inorganic materials for catalysts and redox shuttles. Both things that are typically done by chemists and physical chemists and not EEs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dye-sensitized_solar_cell
(check where the references are from)
 
  • #12
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One of my advisors is a professor of organic chemistry whose research focuses on development of useful porphyrins for eventual use in solar cells. This is just another aspect of the materials science side of things.
 

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