Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Photovoltaics & Solar Energy)

About Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Photovoltaics & Solar Energy) at UNSW 

UNSW Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Photovoltaics & Solar Energy) is a four-year full-time degree that will teach how to carve out a career that works towards a more sustainable future. This undergraduate degree specialises in Photovoltaics and Solar Energy, two key forms of renewable energy.

Photovoltaic engineering focuses on the use of solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity. Governments, large corporations and people across the world are utilising a combination of these ever-growing green options to reduce their carbon footprint and live in more sustainable ways.

The degree has a strong emphasis on gaining hands-on experience working with solar energy devices, modules and systems.

You’ll study the following areas:

  • Technology development
  • Manufacturing 
  • Quality control 
  • Reliability 
  • Cell interconnection and encapsulation 
  • Policy development 
  • Life-cycle analysis 
  • System design 

Why Study Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Photovoltaics & Solar Energy) at UNSW

For over twenty years UNSW has been a world leader in research and commercialisation of high-performance silicon solar cells.  The UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering was created to enable a greater number of students to specialise in photovoltaics. With energy becoming an increasingly important global issue, our teaching in photovoltaic engineering was expanded to include renewable energy engineering. 

We offer innovative teaching techniques to enhance your learning, including the 'Virtual Production Line' and 'Virtual World Solar Car Challenge'. Our school is well equipped for world-leading research, with the Tyree Energy Technology Building and the Solar Industrial Research Facility. 

The laboratories at the Tyree Energy Technology Building (TETB) are equipped with deposition, etching, structuring, simulation, and metrology tools which allows for a wide range of photovoltaic and renewable energy research. Our Solar Industrial Research Facility (SIRF) houses a flexible R&D enabled pilot line for crystalline silicon solar cells and modules with a focus on equipment using UNSW-developed technology. 

Benefits of studying with us

  • The School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) is a leading provider of world class education and research; specialising in education for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. 
  • UNSW academics in the photovoltaic field have been consistently ranked amongst the leaders worldwide through international peer review 
  • Our research has produced world record solar cells for a range of materials and technologies – including silicon, perovskite, CZTS and concentrating photovoltaics 
  • Our academics are world experts in their fields and internationally respected and recognized 
  • Each year our academics and research centres work with businesses, government and community organisations on specific projects, transferring our research into practice 
  • We have close industry ties with industry partners including Suntech, China Sunergy, LG Electronics, Tongwei, Adani, CSR, BlueScope, AECOM and the NSW Government
  • Our school held the world record for silicon solar cell efficiencies for decades and was responsible for developing the most successfully commercialised new photovoltaic technology internationally.

Gain Practical Training & Accreditation 

This undergraduate degree is globally recognised and is accredited by Engineers Australia. Part of your study involves applying your skills through 60 days of approved industrial training in Australia or overseas. Your industrial training will give you a taste of a real-world professional engineering setting and the hands-on experience to become career-ready.  

World-Class Solar Research Facilities 

Our Solar Industrial Research Facility (SIRF) is a $16 million, world-class manufacturing facility that takes UNSW’s silicon solar cell technologies straight from the lab and turns them into factory-ready industrial processes. This is the first facility of its kind in Australia and has three laboratories for developing and demonstrating industrial scale advanced technologies. The team based at the centre have achieved the world’s highest efficiency rating, meaning they’re now closer to creating buildings that generate as much power as they consume.  

Take Part in SunSwift Solar    

Sunswift is a student-led project run by UNSW students who are pushing the limits of solar technology to inspire sustainable action. They design, build and race solar-electric vehicles in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge to demonstrate that solar vehicles are practical alternative to petrol fueled transport. Undergraduate student volunteers make up Sunswift, with students from all areas of engineering come together to build a solar car from start to finish. 

Your Career Opportunities  

Photovoltaic engineers can be involved in developing and refining cell production methods, installing and maintaining systems and further integrating photovoltaics into everyday life. Graduates from our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are at the forefront of this transition to a renewable energy future.  

Opportunities are found in many fields. These include: 

  • Refining cell production technology 
  • Researching and developing multi-junction cells 
  • Concentrated solar power 
  • Multi-axis tracking 
  • Thin film technologies 
  • Grid-connection and integration 
  • Utility scale developments 
  • Independent system design 
  • Building integrated photovoltaics 

Our graduates are equipped to work in large engineering companies or small start-up companies. Many of our graduates have found places with Ausgrid, Energy Australia and Infigen Energy among others. 

What Our Graduates Say  

“The renewable energy industry is an exciting and diverse area to work. The breadth of specialisations at UNSW and deep industry connections helped me develop the skills needed to accelerate Australia’s transition to renewable energy.” 

Oscar Wilkie