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Development Engineer Solar Cell Optimization

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 the 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.


Job Description

Design, model, prototype, and test non-conventional solar cells

Coordinate external development work with domestic and international (Europe, Asia) research and development organizations and universities

Closely collaborate with senior development-engineering staff in the development of novel solar-module architectures and build prototypes


Experience and Education

The level of the role will be commensurate with the education and experience of the selected candidate. The minimum qualifications to be considered are as follows:

Bachelor Degree in an engineering discipline like electrical engineering, applied physics, mechanical engineering, or similar technical discipline, with 5 years of technical work experience as an Engineer or 2 years as a Development Engineer I with First Solar

Master Degree in an engineering discipline or similar technical discipline, with 3 years of technical work experience as an Engineer or 2 years as a Development Engineer I with First Solar

PhD in an engineering discipline with 2 years of industrial work experience

Modeling of solar cells (Atlas, Quokka or similar tools)

Fabrication of solar cells (silicon or thin-film)

Advanced characterization of solar cells using techniques like IV, CV, QE, UV-Vis, EL, PL

Advanced metrology, data collection, and failure analysis using electrical, optical and electron-beam probes


Required Skills

Fabrication of solar cells

Modeling of solar cells and experimental validation of these models

Programming: Matlab, Python or similar

Excellent knowledge of photovoltaic device physics

Self-starter who can work independently

Excellent communication skills with internal and external partners and customers

Proven organizational skills

Knowledge of MS Office software


Essential Functions & Responsibilities

Ownership of solar-cell design, prototype, and testing

Management of external research and development resources

May train, mentor, and manage junior associates

Comply with the company’s Environmental, Quality, Safety or any other policies that have been enforced

Frequent 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 March 16, 2020

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