Top 10 Colleges with Solar and Renewable Energy Programs

Research on utilization of renewable energy including solar, wind, and biofuel has been booming across the United States over the past few years. In 2017 alone, over half a million jobs were created globally in the renewable energy sector. Educational institutions have also been quick to pick up on this need for qualified people to work in the renewable energy sector, and today there are several learning programs related to the field being offered by colleges all over the country.

Solar energy is our best solution, and here are a few of the top colleges where you can study renewable energy programs:

1. North Carolina State University Renewable Energy Programs

The award-winning NC Clean Energy Technology Center, which was established in 1988 with an emphasis on solar energy, offers a diploma series in Renewable Energy Technologies. The programs consist of 40-hour workshops that focus on teaching students the practical application of photovoltaic systems, renewable energy management, solar thermal design, and more.

In addition, engineers, architects, and contractors can choose to complete the necessary continuing education credits for professional licenses here. The center also operates the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).

2. Pennsylvania State University

Penn State World Campus offers one of the few online programs in the field. The program in Energy and Sustainability Policy is a Bachelor of Arts degree where students can learn from the university’s faculty members.

The comprehensive curriculum of the program focuses on building a broad foundational understanding of the energy industry. Moreover, the flexibility of the online course makes it ideal for those who are working or engaged in other study programs.

3. Oregon Institute of Technology

Oregon Tech was the first college in North America to offer a Bachelor of Science program in Renewable Energy Engineering, and the program continues to be popular. Students can also pursue this course alongside a BS in Electrical Engineering or Environmental Science and have dual major graduation.

The Master’s degree program in Renewable Energy Engineering focuses on photovoltaics, energy management, fuel cells, and wind power.

4. University of Wisconsin

Located in Madison, the University of Wisconsin offers Sustainable Management degrees and certificate courses. These programs are designed to explore real-world problems when it comes to renewable energy and sustainability management.

These online degrees feature a flexible program schedule which makes them perfect for people hoping to continue education while they are gainfully employed.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Studies

At MIT, undergraduate students can opt for a minor in Energy Studies. The interdisciplinary program is a blend of theoretical studies and hands-on experience with core curriculum courses that include Technology/Engineering in Context, Science Foundations, and Social Science Foundations.

The institute also offers the Energy Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), a summer research program open to students of any major. The research opportunities include in-depth studies on renewable energy sources.

6. Northeastern University

This college in Boston created their Master of Science degree in Energy Systems aiming to fulfill the needs of qualified people in the field. The program is an interdisciplinary one that focuses on the integration of financial planning and engineering technology of energy systems.

Available as an online course, the program has both part- and full-time schedules and prepares students for careers in various energy fields, including renewable energy.

7. University of Michigan Renewable Energy Programs

The Energy Institute of Michigan University offers Master of Engineering in Energy Systems Engineering (ESE) and a dual degree program in Sustainable Systems. The flexible ESE course is a 30-credit graduate degree. It prepares students with a holistic approach to the current requirement for energy solutions and ways to face challenges in sustainable energy.

The program on Sustainable Systems offers students three specialization options – Sustainable Energy Systems, Sustainable Water Systems, and Sustainable Design & Manufacturing Systems.

8. University of California Berkeley

UC Berkeley offers several courses in Energy and Clean Technology along with their MBA program to give students an understanding of energy issues from various perspectives. These include Cleantech to Market (C2M), Energy and Environmental Markets, and Energy and Infrastructure Project Finance.

The popular Renewable Energy Speaker Series has different technical experts, entrepreneurs, and leaders from the sector talk to students about energy efficiency, photovoltaics, wind energy, and biofuels among other topics.

9. Stanford University

The university offers professional certificates, graduate and Master’s programs, and courses for corporates in renewable energy through the Center for Professional Development. The certificate courses in Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies educate students on subjects like emerging trends in the energy industry, economic challenges of building a sustainable future, and cutting-edge technologies.

The programs are taught by Silicon Valley researchers in the field along with Stanford faculty members, and are perfect for working professionals who want to expand their knowledge of the field.

10. University of Texas at Austin Renewable Energy Programs

The undergraduate certificate program on Sustainable Energy Systems at UT Austin aims to prepare students for system-level analysis of alternative as well as conventional energy technologies. It also helps broaden their perspective on sustainability.

In addition, they offer a Technical Core on Energy Systems and Renewable Energy for students of electrical and computer engineering. This core involves learning about the design of reliable and economical electric power systems for both traditional and renewable energy resources.

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics occupational outlook, the job of solar photovoltaic installers is the fastest-growing one in the United States. This makes it a good time to opt for educational programs in the field and become a well-informed part of the clean energy revolution.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here