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Technologist/Chemist - Materials for Renewable Energy

Santa Clara CA

Our high growth and leadership position in the renewable energy business offers outstanding opportunities to individuals seeking an exciting work environment in one of the most important industries for the 21st century. First Solar is a leader in the development and manufacturing of thin film solar modules used in grid-connected solar power plants, as well as a provider of complete solar generation solutions for U.S. utilities. Our culture is one where teamwork, continuous improvement, achievement of results, and environmental responsibility are core values. We are seeking new associates who are motivated to contribute their talents to making cost-effective solar energy an important part of the world’s energy mix.


Primary Job Functions:

Job Description

We’re changing the world. Let us start with yours.

First Solar’s research and development (R&D) department seeks candidates who believe in our mission of providing cost-advantaged solar technology through innovation, customer engagement, industry leadership and operational excellence.

Technology is among the strongest levers for driving overall cost of solar energy. Through innovation in both areas of module and balance-of-systems (BoS), the R&D team is driving an innovative photovoltaic (PV) system roadmap that will create a compelling and differentiated product for our customers. By investing significantly in advanced semi-conductor research, the R&D team has revolutionized our core cadmium-telluride (CdTe) thin film technology. With the help of our R&D team, First Solar will continue to introduce new innovative products and solutions to increase solar penetration into the global energy mix. By co-locating R&D with manufacturing, we are able to transition technological advancements in the lab into production quickly and efficiently.

The R&D team looks for individuals who enjoy contributing to an innovative, forward-thinking team, are effective problem solvers, data and results driven and continuously look for ways to improve processes to help us lead the world’s sustainable energy future.


Basic Job Functions:

The Technologist/Chemist will play a key role in the evaluation of both early-stage and mature renewable-energy technologies. She/he will perform techno-economic analyses of energy materials and devices for solar energy conversion, energy storage, electrolytic conversion, zero-carbon fuels, and other. The job requires a high degree of independent work. It encompasses the building of models for device performance and techno-economic performance. It may include hands-on laboratory work. It will also involve the management of external collaborations with universities, startups and other research organizations.



At least 2 years’ post-graduate experience in high-tech industry or applied research laboratory (battery, photovoltaics, semiconductor or related industries are preferred)

Basic knowledge of finance (financial analysis of manufacturing processes, IRR and NPV analyses)



MS in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or similar discipline

PhD a strong plus


Required Skills:

Strong knowledge of inorganic chemistry

Strong knowledge of materials and physical chemistry

Solid knowledge of organic chemistry

Solid knowledge of undergraduate physics

Subject-matter expertise in at least one energy technology

Self-starter who can work independently

Excellent communication skills

Proven organizational skills

Knowledge of MS Office software


Essential Functions & Responsibilities

Participate in and/or lead laboratory work

Manage partnerships with academic groups, consortia and startup companies

Prepare written technical reports and spread sheet models using a wide range of information sourced from literature, proprietary company data, laboratory analyses (internal and external)

Approximately quarterly presentations to CTO and technical leadership staff

Participate in international scientific and engineering conferences

Domestic and international travel required


Physical Requirements:

Will sit, stand or walk short distances for up to the entire duration of a shift

Will climb stairs on an occasional basis

Will lift, push or pull up to 27 pounds on an occasional basis

Required to use hands to grasp, lift, handle, carry or feel objects on a frequent basis

20/40 vision in each eye, with or without correction, is required

Must be able to comply with all safety standards and procedures

May reach above shoulder heights and below the waist on a frequent basis

May stoop, kneel, or bend, on an occasional basis

Ability to wear personal protective equipment is required (including but not limited to; steel toed shoes, gloves, safety glasses, hearing protection, protective jacket or apron and arm guards)

All associates working on the production floor may be required to wear a respirator at any given time and thus, the ability to wear a respirator is a condition of employment and continued employment (requires little or no facial hair)


Please note: potential candidates will meet the education and experience requirements provided on the above job description and excel in completing the listed responsibilities for this role. All candidates receiving an offer of employment must successfully complete a background check, pre-employment drug screen, and any other test that may be required for the role.



Posted February 4, 2019

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