Five Questions to Players in the Renewable Energy World – Kathlen Schneider

Expert Interview

The renewable energy world is changing at a rapid pace and offers new job opportunities with special chances and challenges. In this series, we ask people who are working in different areas of the renewable energy sector 5 questions about their jobs:

1. Why renewables? Profession or vocation?

I believe that meaning describes best. A profession with meaning. For a long time through the graduation course, I felt frustrated because I could not see myself working in the traditional civil engineering field which I was studying for. Many existential crises led me to search for working activities that had meaning to me. Activities that respect nature and seek for the best living conditions and equality for every single person in our society. This is how I ended up working firstly with energy efficiency and later on with solar. Today, I finally see meaning in what I am working with and feel happy to be where I am.

2. What in your career prepared you in particular for your current job?

The relentless search for meaning. Once I found meaning in what I was working with, my heart was in peace and every new challenge was exciting, things just happened naturally and led me to the job where I am now.

3. Do you have role models, and if so, who and why?

I found that each person is special. According to their background and life experiences, everyone has a single way of expressing themselves in life. We will never be like another and I find a lot of beauty in that. Every person (family, close friends, colleagues, public figures) that is trying to make this a better world, either on the micro or on the macro level, is an inspiration to me.

4. What was your biggest professional challenge?

I think we are meeting new challenges all the time in the renewables energy field. From my perspective, this is one of the aspects that makes working in the field so exciting. Accepting the title of director of Instituto IDEAL, yet so young in the career and having such an important responsibility, was certainly a huge challenge to me. I am learning a lot in this process.

5. What has been your greatest professional achievement?

I feel that being where I am, working with a greater purpose, with meaning, and with my heart full and happy is the greatest professional achievement I could mention today.

About Kathlen Schneider:

Kathlen Schneider is a researcher in solar photovoltaics and energy efficiency topics. She has experience in sizing and simulating PV systems integrated to buildings performance, energy efficiency in buildings simulation, distributed generation regulation context with a focus on community solar. She has a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). She is currently a researcher from the Solar Energy Research Lab (Fotovoltaica-UFSC) and director from IDEAL Institute. She was a mentee from GWNET’s 2019 Mentorship Program and is one of the co-founders and coordinators of the Brazilian Women’s Network in Solar Energy (MESol Network).