Development Engineer, Chemist

First Solar

Santa Clara, CA, USA



Nov 17

This job is no longer accepting applications.

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.

Job Title:                           Development Engineer IV - Chemist

Reports To:                      Technology Director

FLSA Job Status:              Exempt

Basic Job Functions:

The Research Scientist IV will join ourthin film solar cell research team in Silicon Valley, California. She/he will play a central role developing a broad range of materials and chemical processes to improve the performance of  thin film solar cells. The work will include:

  • exploring innovative chemical approaches for improvement of thin film solar cells,
  • fundamental studies of chemical transformations in photovoltaic devices during fabrication processes or at operation condition,
  • fabrication and testing of photovoltaic devices,
  • synthesis of organic and inorganic compounds,
  • champion chemistry safety,
  • consulting on broad aspects related to chemistry of PV devices.

An ideal candidate has deep knowledge and hand-on experience in inorganic chemistry—well beyond the boundaries of her/his PhD and/or postdoc work. The candidate will also serve as a model of safety standards, who creates and ensures high lab safety standards through engineering control by working with our site-EHS engineer.


  • At least 10 years’ hands-on experience in synthetic organic/inorganic chemistry, addressing Deep knowledge and experience in inorganic chemistry
  • Experience in wet process development
  • Experience in data analysis from major analytical techniques
  • Experience in statistical design of experiment and data analysis
  • Experience in fabrication and testing of thin film solar cells is a plus


  • PhD in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering

Required Skills:

  • Organic and inorganic chemistry (theoretical and lab knowledge)
  • Synthetic chemistry
  • Surface chemical treatment and surface characterization
  • Expert in materials characterization
  • Familiar with semiconductor devices
  • Familiar with thin film fabrication and characterization
  • Design of Experiment and Statistical Process Control
  • Creative problem solver
  • Excellent team player
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Operating with sense of urgency
  • Enjoying lab work, tackling new, challenging problems that may be far outside of her/his background.

Essential Functions & Responsibilities:

  • Hand-on process development on material synthesis and device fabrication
  • Owner of processes and tools: including writing SOP (standard operation procedure),  sustaining, troubleshooting and training
  • Experiments design and execution, data analysis and reporting
  • Lead R&D projects
  • Other duties as assigned
  • Job description subject to change at any time


  • Up to 10% 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)
  • No allergies to known chemicals

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.

Equal Opportunity Employer Statement: First Solar Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) that values and respects the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce. It is the policy of the company to recruit, hire, train and promote persons in all job titles without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a driving force in the success of our company.

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First Solar

First Solar is a leading global manufacturer and provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) systems using advanced thin film module and system techno...