Careers in solar: ‘At Evolar, I get to apply solar PhD expertise to real world challenges’

Newly minted PhD Fredrik Larsson never imagined his first job would allow him to apply his years of solar cell research experience on a daily basis. Until he began his career in solar with Evolar.

Chemical engineer Fredrik Larsson’s days at Evolar usually start in one of his favourite places: the lab.

“The first thing I do each morning is check on the results of the night’s experiments,” he explains.

Having recently completed his PhD in Physics Engineering from Uppsala University, Fredrik is no stranger to the lab.

For much of the last five years, he toiled in research labs developing materials and processes for thin-film solar cells to help improve their efficiency.

And since starting as a Research and Development Engineer at Evolar in the spring of 2021, he’s been doing much the same thing. “I never expected to be able to apply five years of solar cell research so quickly.

I use the expertise from my PhD every day,” he says.

There are a few differences, however. For one, Fredrik’s research is now focused on perovskite thin-film technology rather than CIGS.

Careers in solar: the chance to make a difference

He also finds himself surrounded by a dedicated group of colleagues who have chosen careers in solar in hopes of developing and launching the next generation of photovoltaics by applying cutting-edge research to real-world challenges.

“Working with solar and renewable energy technologies allows me to feel like I’m really making a positive contribution to society,” Fredrik explains.

Most of the experiments Fredrik designs and carries out are designed to test different processes and parameters with the aim of making Evolar’s perovskite thin-film solar cells as efficient as possible.

“Every day is different, which is part of the fun,” he says.

Building up knowledge step-by-step

The work can be painstakingly detailed at times considering the complexity that stems from needing to analyse so many parameters.

“I have to apply my knowledge of how solar cells work to try to predict what will happen if I adjust any given parameter,” says Fredrik.

“By running lots of experiments, we can build up more knowledge step by step.”

He describes the atmosphere at Evolar as “focused, but not too tense”. The team also brings together a diverse mixture of talent and expertise, which he believes makes Evolar stronger and a more exciting place to work.

“There’s a lot of optimism. Everyone is very motivated and ambitious,” Fredrik says.

He believes other solar cell researchers with an interest in making a difference would also feel at home starting their careers in solar at Evolar.

“It’s really a rapidly evolving field with a lot of interesting challenges to address. We’re close to entering the market, but there’s still a lot ahead of us on our journey. And it’s that I find very exciting and rewarding.”