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Physics Renewable energy jobs with a BS in physics

  1. Dec 8, 2011 #1
    Im graduating with a BS in physics, where I mostly focused on astrophysics. I'm looking to do something different after I graduate, not planning on grad school, at least for the time being. I'm interested in getting a job somehow related to renewable energy technology, and it would also be a plus if I could use my physics background in some way. I had previously been planning on the grad school --> academia route, so I'm not really sure how to start looking into this, or what type of job I could realistically get. Anyone have any experience in this field, especially with just a BS in physics, or know someone who does?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2011 #2
    I'm a co-op student pursuing my BS in physics right now and I worked for a year at a start-up solar energy company. If you want to get into that type of industry now is the time. Governments are offering up a lot of support right now to kick start that industry and there is a good chance that a lot of the companies are hiring. There has also been a pretty significant increase in efficiency of solar cells and decrease of cost over the past decade so things are looking bright (and I'm not talking about the reflections off of the panels).

    In my opinion, the best way into an industry is to volunteer or intern at a company for 4 months or so. If its a start-up, you will start to acquire new tasks and responsibilities quickly, and they won't have anyone to pick those up from you after you leave. That is to say that they will probably hire you.
  4. Dec 8, 2011 #3
    Do you have any work experience or course work in power plant engineering or process engineering?
  5. Dec 8, 2011 #4
  6. Dec 8, 2011 #5
    Out of curiosity, what kind of work/responsibilities did you have? Did you feel like your physics background was a benefit? Looking around at listings from various renewable energy companies, every job I've seen requires either an engineering background or some technical background like electrician or contractor. I have some technical experience doing experimental physics work, but it's far from formal or extensive.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  7. Dec 9, 2011 #6
    I got my hands on a whole bunch of things. One of my main responsibilities was data acquisition for our test site, which required coding in python and some minor stuff in C. I did some quality control on an optical piece which did use some of my physics background. I did some certification testing, some hands on building of the odd project. My physics background was for sure a benefit, but not necessary for success at the company. I worked in the R&D department and even then I had a handful of tasks which were engineering related.
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