Solar Energy Researcher

Your role as a solar energy researcher will help implement renewable energy in Australia and potentially around the world. Renewable energy is a rapidly growing industry area that uses natural resources to provide electricity and heating.

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Solar Energy Researcher
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What the job looks like
Salary expectation
starts at $27,000 up to $100,000+
The good
  • Being surrounded by creative and inspiring colleagues
  • Research has global benefits
  • Potential to travel and work in other cultures
  • Using different equipment
  • Teaching others
The not so good
  • Relying on funding to pay for your research
  • The beginning of research can seem overwhelming

Solar energy is increasingly driving sustainable solutions but future development relies on research, so your work will be critical on informing future solar technologies. You could be part of a team that is able to supply renewable energy to remote villages in developing countries or coming up with ways to power entire cities.

As a researcher you will find yourself working in the lab running experiments to find out things like how to manufacture a solar cell and what effect different conditions can have on it. This will help determine long lasting solar storage cells that can withstand the elements of nature for a long period of time.

Your research will also come up with ways to make the technology affordable. As a researcher you will have access to some of the latest technologies and scientific equipment including ink jet printers, firing furnaces and a range of chemistry gear. You will conduct investigations and gather the data relying on maths for accuracy.

Once you have gathered the results of your research you will generally have group meetings to discuss your findings. This will then lead to writing a report to submit to interested organisations where you might suggest ideas or recommendations. This will require excellent communication and English skills. 

If you are interested in renewable energy, the environment and solving problems, then a career as a solar enery researcher could be for you.

The industry is booming, now is the time to get involved. Green jobs are the future.


Pathways to this career

Subject suggestions for the HSC

Choosing your HSC subjects from this list could really help with your career. Think carefully about what you want to study after school as you might need to choose specific HSC subjects for that course and to count towards your ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank). An ATAR is your academic rank in relation to other HSC students and helps with University admission.

HSC subjects 

Some subjects will count towards your ATAR, others will not. Check with your career advisor before making subject selections.

What can I do after I have finished school?

University degrees 

Studying one of these degrees can help with your career.


Check out the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for more information

  • Find out what research is happening at the universities you are interested in as some usually offer summer research programs
  • Focus on solar energy for school assignments where possible
  • Go to career expos and events like university Open Days for information about what you will study