Photovoltaics and Solar Energy


Photovoltaic devices, otherwise known as solar cells, are devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity and are capable of powering essentially any electrical load. Photovoltaic Engineering is concerned with the production and use of solar cells and the design and implementation of photovoltaic systems.

Solar energy is a major renewable energy resource which may be harnessed and used in many ways. UNSW has been a world leader in silicon solar cell research for approximately 15 years, and developed the most successfully commercialised photovoltaic technology throughout the same period.

Photovoltaic Engineering covers a broad range of engineering tasks and disciplines but it can be summarised into 5 main areas:
  1. Device and system research and development.
  2. Manufacturing, quality control and reliability.
  3. PV system design (computer based), modelling, integration, analysis, implementation, fault diagnosis and monitoring.
  4. Policy, financing, marketing, management, consulting, training and education.
  5. Using the full range of renewable energy technologies including alternate energy technologies (such as wind, biomass and solar thermal) solar architecture, energy efficient building design and sustainable energy.
Worldwide, the Photovoltaics industry is growing at approximately 30% each year. Recent studies, publications and media releases indicate that large numbers of jobs are being created in all aspects of photovoltaic and renewable energy engineering. Job opportunities exist in PV system design and implementation for remote areas, manufacturing, quality control, grid-connected systems, fault diagnosis and testing, maintenance, simulation and modelling, technology development, marketing, financing, policy, education, project management, etc.

Studying Photovoltaics and Solar Energy At UNSW

The study of Photovoltaics & Solar Energy is primarily though the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering. Please refer to the table below. Postgraduate study is also available.

Photovoltaics and Solar Energy can be studied as 

Specialisation Stream Type Stream
Photovoltaics and Solar Energy Major SOLAAH3764
Renewable Energy Engineering Major SOLABH3764

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