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Manager - Emerging Photovoltaics

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:

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 Function:

The Manager of Emerging Photovoltaics will join our advanced photovoltaics research and development team in Silicon Valley, California. She/he will lead chemistry-related development work for novel solar-cell materials and devices. The work will include synthesis of organic and inorganic compounds, the fabrication and testing of devices. The ideal candidate has deep knowledge of emerging photovoltaics materials and devices, and is an established researcher in this field—well beyond the boundaries of her/his PhD and/or postdoc work. She/he must be a self-motivated innovator, and can influence or lead the definition of the work groups’ directions, goals, and progress. The candidate can serve as a technical mentor to development engineers and technicians and can provide technical guidance to key cross-functional teams. The candidate must ensure and create high lab safety standards through engineering control by working with our site-EHS engineer.



Min. 10 years’ experience in the synthesis of compounds and device fabrication of organic and other emerging solar cells

Deep knowledge and experience of synthetic chemistry of organic and inorganic compounds

Experienced in defining process requirements and leading process development efforts

Management experience is required. Experience in managing a corporate R&D function is a plus



PhD in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering in the field of organic and other emerging solar cells

Postgraduate experience required


Required Skills/Competencies:

Top technical expert in organic and other emerging solar-cell material synthesis and device fabrication.

Synthetic chemistry

Thin film deposition and characterization

Familiar with solar cell characterization

Familiar with production dry and wet process tools

Creative problem solver

Excellent team player

Excellent communication skills

Proven organizational skills

Proficient use of all Microsoft Office suite programs


Essential Responsibilities:

Lead a small team of scientists and technicians

Build an industrial R&D lab

Manage day to day lab operation

Ability to coach junior engineers and technicians hand-on

Engage in or lead internal/external research collaborations

Other duties as assigned

Job description subject to change at any time


Reporting Relationships:

Position will have direct reports



Up to 20% Domestic and international travel required


Manufacturing & Maintenance Physical Requirements:

Will sit, stand or walk short distances for up to 12 hours per day

Will climb stairs on an occasional basis

Will exert up to 50 pounds of force to lift, push or pull on a seldom basis

Will lift, push or pull up to 27 pounds on a frequent basis

Required to use hands to grasp, lift, handle, carry or feel objects repetitively 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)




Posted June 3, 2019

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