Photovoltaics (PHV) & Renewable Energy (REN)

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Career opportunities

The photovoltaics and renewable energy industries are growing rapidly worldwide in response to global climate change and energy supply challenges. In particular, photovoltaic generation is the most rapidly growing sector of the electrical power industry, and the area generating the most rapid cost reductions.

Many exciting areas of PV power are emerging as the price of PV power falls and as new technologies emerge in response to environmental concerns. PV power is increasingly being employed on buildings, sometimes replacing conventional building materials such as roofing, shading devices or walls. At the same time, utility scale PV plants are being commissioned worldwide. PV is also suitable and often least cost for the provision of sustainable electricity to remote areas, and plays an important role in the provision of electricity to people in developing countries who at present have little or no access to electricity.

The major companies employing photovoltaic and renewable energy engineers include manufacturers, research organisations, system design and integration companies, electricity utilities, and major end users of products, for example, communications companies. The number and size of companies employing photovoltaic engineers is increasing, and with it the demand for appropriately trained engineers. 

Click here to check out some career journeys of Co-op alumni and industry partners 

Program overview









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Find out more about Photovoltaics & Renewable Energy

Technologies that utilise the power available from the sun, wind and plant matter are often referred to as renewable energy technologies, or because the sun is the primary source of energy for all of these, the term Solar Energy is also often used to describe a range of renewable energy sources. One particularly important solar technology is Photovoltaics (PV), an area where UNSW has a history of world-leading research. PV cells produce electricity directly from light without any moving parts or polluting waste products by using materials similar to those used in the manufacture of computer chips.

The UNSW degree in Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering focuses on the development, manufacture and use of PV cells and modules and the implementation of PV systems for the purposes of powering electrical loads. It covers a broad range of engineering tasks and disciplines, but it can be summarised into four main areas.

These are:

  • Device and system research and development
  • Manufacturing, quality control and reliability
  • PV system design (computer based), modelling, integration, analysis, implementation, fault diagnosis and monitoring
  • Policy, financing, marketing, management, consulting, training and education

Students also have the opportunity to learn about other renewable energy technologies and/or energy efficiency in buildings and appliances through appropriate choices of electives.

For more information contact:

A/Prof Ziv Hameiri
Co-op Coordinator & Lecturer
School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
Phone: (02) 9385 9475

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Who should apply?

In addition to meeting the general entrance requirements for a Co-op scholar (see Are you the next Co-op scholar?), successful Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy applicants should:

  • Want to apply their knowledge to the solution of practical problems,
  • Have demonstrated an aptitude for mathematics and physics at school,
  • Want to be involved in helping to create and implement more environmentally sustainable energy technologies,
  • Want to be challenged by the opportunity to work with cutting edge technologies and their applications.

The recommended knowledge for entry into the UNSW Co-op Program in Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy is:

  • Mathematics Extension 1
  • Physics or Chemistry

See FAQs  for 'What is Recommended &/or Assumed Knowledge?'

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