With the launch of the Global Production Engineering for Solar Technology (GPE Solar) international Masters degree, the Technical University of Berlin (Germany) will be offering the established GPE Masters degree for the next Winter semester in the solar technology field. The course, which will be offered in English, will provide a currently unique combination of material including engineering and product-specific topics, business development skills and management training. It is designed to prepare students for the particular needs of the fast growing solar-technology market. The course contents cover all stages of the photovoltaic and solar thermal value-added chain: from the production of components through planning and installation to finance, legal issues, marketing and business development.
After two year's study the graduates of the GPE Solar Masters will acquire a Master of Science degree and gain excellent career prospects. "GPE Solar sees itself as a crucial link between education and the industry" said Dean of Studies Prof. Dr.-Ing. Guenther Seliger. "The triggers for the creation of the course were the concrete requests of the industry."
GPE Solar will be organized jointly by the University and the Renewables Academy of Berlin which, as a partner to the University, will ensure an on going the connection to solar companies and current industry practice. The university is working together with solar technology manufacturers, designers and system vendors for both teaching and research. A 6-month vocational assignment forms part of the course and, for their final dissertation, students will work on real-world issues facing enterprises in the sector.
Students will benefit not only from the international student community in the German capital, but also from crucial advantages presented by this location. Germany is the global market leader in photovoltaic component supply, manufacturing and installation. In addition the course is supported by the German Solar Industry Association (BSW); to quote managing director Carsten King: "The skills of the next generation of managers will be a major factor for continued solid growth in the solar industry. Therefore, I can only welcome the introduction up of GPE Solar."
In the face of rising prices for oil and gas, the use of sunlight to generate electricity (photovoltaics) and for heating (solar thermal) is becoming increasingly important, both to secure energy supplies and for climate protection. The global solar market is booming and currently recording double-digit growth rates. According to a market study in 2007 by the Swiss Bank Sarasin, the next few years will see further worldwide growth, with newly commissioned PV power installations growing at an annual rate of 50% up to 2010. At the same time, the companies in the industry are seeing an acute shortage of qualified personnel. The GPE Solar Masters program is specifically designed to fill this expertise gap.