Solar power is a key piece of the growing "green economy." Rapid growth in the science and practice of solar energy has given rise to the need for advanced understanding in resource assessment, project development, system design, and emerging technologies for both solar thermal and solar electric systems. As employment opportunities continue to expand, organizations will look for professionals who can develop, manage, and improve solar energy systems through project development, system design and analysis, and process improvement.
Why a Certificate in Solar Energy at Penn State?
The 12-credit Graduate Certificate in Solar Energy is offered through Penn State's World Campus. Our online courses make it possible for you to further your education while maintaining your current responsibilities.
This online graduate certificate provides you with a highly relevant solar energy curriculum taught by faculty with world-class expertise. A graduate certificate in solar energy can help you add an important credential to your résumé — as you acquire a skill set valued across the solar energy industry. In addition, you get the convenience and flexibility of completing your course work at times and places that fit into your life and current schedule.
You will be able to choose from parallel paths of study that focus on either electric-driven (PV) or thermal-driven study, which can also be pursued from the large-scale or from the distributed approach.
Continue Your Education in Solar Energy
In addition to being an excellent stand-alone credential, all of the courses in the Graduate Certificate in Solar Energy can be applied toward the Solar Energy master's degree option of the Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (iMPS-RESS) degree program, also offered online through Penn State's World Campus.
Who Should Apply?
The Graduate Certificate in Solar Energy could be right for you if you are a current or aspiring professional seeking the progressive skills needed to advance the solar energy sector.
Students will come from a variety of undergraduate degrees; however, a background in systems science, engineering, or physics is strongly recommended for this graduate certificate.
Career Opportunities for Graduates
With this graduate certificate, you can gain the solar energy systems project development skills and knowledge that many companies will require from their sustainability professionals.
To prepare you for these opportunities, our curriculum covers a breadth of topics, including:
- solar resource assessment for selected locales
- effective communication techniques to maximize the solar economic utility to clients/stakeholders
- thermal- and electric-derived solar conversion technologies
- technical information about hybridized solar energy systems design
- the social and policy context of solar energy systems project design
By successfully completing the course work for the Graduate Certificate in Solar Energy, you could qualify for such leadership positions as:
- solar energy project manager
- solar PV design engineer
- VP of business development in a commercial solar sector
- solar research analyst
- project engineer in solar energy
Information for Military and Veterans
Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.
Online Education at Penn State
Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.
- Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems - Solar Energy Option (Master of Professional Studies)
- Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems Base Program (Master of Professional Studies)
- Bioenergy (Graduate Certificate)
- Sustainability Management and Policy (Graduate Certificate)
- Wind Energy (Graduate Certificate)