Research staff in off-grid energy access

  • Schatz Energy Research Center
  • Arcata, California
  • May 05, 2023
Full time Quality Assurance Technician Engineering

Job Description

Applications accepted through Thursday, May 25, 2023 at 5 pm (Pacific).

Download the full job announcement

We are seeking an entry-level professional to join our off-grid energy access team. The position will support administrative and research tasks including coordination with solar product manufacturers, data input and maintenance, and technical test report review and analysis. This is a full-time (40 hours/week) position, and is anticipated to start in July 2023.

This position will substantially contribute to our work on off-grid energy access. For context, more than 1 billion people worldwide are currently unable to access reliable grid electricity. Modern off-grid solar products help support these communities by providing clean and reliable energy for homes, farms and small businesses, and local facilities including schools and health clinics. As the technical lead for the VeraSol program, our off-grid energy access team develops and implements international test protocols for quality assurance to ensure that solar products and appliances are safe, durable, reliable, and perform as advertised. We work closely with national governments, manufacturers, and nonprofit organizations seeking to provide energy access and resilience across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. To date, over 65 million off-grid solar products that were certified through the program have been sold, benefitting well over 100 million people.

We work in a hybrid environment that supports flexibility and connection. Our team members currently have the option to work on site all the time or alternate between working remotely and at least 25% onsite at the Schatz Center. During the initial onboarding period, the team member could telecommute, but ultimately will need to live within commuting distance of the Schatz Center.

We welcome applications from everyone who is legally eligible to work in the United States. Please note that we operate under the Cal Poly Humboldt policy, which requires all students, staff, and faculty to be either (a) fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or (b) qualify for a medical or religious exemption.

Who we are and what we do

Since 1989, the Schatz Center has been a leader in applied research and project development for clean and renewable energy. Our current portfolio includes microgrid development, sustainable transportation design, carbon life-cycle analysis, solar product testing, offshore wind feasibility studies, and planning and policy for clean energy access around the globe.

We are located on the campus of Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, California. Arcata’s 800-acre community forest and 11 miles of trails begin one block away — and we are within biking distance of California’s second largest inland bay and the Pacific Ocean. 

As residents of a rural coastal community, we are keenly aware of our social and environmental responsibilities. We are committed to increasing energy access and resilience for communities worldwide — and do so through clean and renewable design that reduces climate change and restores environmental and human health.

How to apply

Please see the full job announcement for required experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Applicants must submit all of  the following via email to

  • A 1-2 page formal letter of application explaining your interest in working on the off-grid energy access team and your qualifications for the position. Please note that communication skills are very important for this position, and we will use this letter as a writing sample. Please include your ability to work during typical working hours in the  Pacific Time and your willingness to be located within a weekly commuting distance of Arcata, California. 
  • A resume (2-page maximum) 
  • Contact information for 3 professional references
  • An SPF Employee Information Form for Applicants

All applicants must also complete a short skills assessment.

Please contact us at or call (707) 826-4345 if you are unable to access or complete the Google form.

Be sure to address all the minimum and desired qualifications that you meet in your application materials. Applications submitted with incomplete materials or that exceed the maximum lengths stated above may not be considered. Letters may be addressed to the “Search Committee.”

All application materials must be received by 5 pm Pacific Time (US) on May 25, 2023.

Affirmative action and equal opportunity

The Schatz Center is a part of the Cal Poly Humboldt Sponsored Programs Foundation (SPF), an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. We consider qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, medical condition, disability, marital status, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected status. Learn more about SPF’s Equal Employment Opportunity hiring.

Our organizational commitments

Our vision

We envision a healthy planet with thriving, equitable, resilient communities powered by clean energy.

Our purpose

Our team is committed to addressing climate change and improving human and ecosystem health through work that supports clean energy, climate-resilience, equity, and justice. Our work includes:

  • Research and development – we do applied research focused on energy and environmental issues.
  • Technology deployment – we design, integrate, build, test, and operate innovative, renewable, and resilient energy systems that are responsive to social and environmental needs.
  • Collaboration – we work with public and private partners including Tribal Nations, communities, agencies, academic institutions, foundations, and industry to exchange knowledge and implement innovative solutions locally and internationally.
  • Education and Training – we support learning that provides practical, hands-on experience for current and future practitioners and leaders.

Our values

  • Kindness: Treating people and the planet with care and respect through acts of inclusion, helpfulness, generosity, and encouragement.
  • Integrity: Approaching one another and our interdisciplinary research with curiosity, open-mindedness, transparency, and humility.
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion: Providing a nourishing and rewarding environment for Center staff, students, and partners. Respecting the differences of our colleagues and actively seeking to identify and remove barriers to ensure opportunities to thrive.
  • Justice: Working to advance racial justice, gender equality and women’s empowerment, LGBTQIA+ rights, economic equality, and environmental justice.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Supporting internal and external community building and engagement to create inclusive and innovative solutions. Sharing knowledge with and learning from our colleagues, collaborators, community partners, and the public to advance understanding.
  • Effectiveness: Using our technical, scientific, and policy expertise to do good work that makes a difference.

Questions and inquiries

For assistance with the application process, please submit an Accommodation Request Form or call the Compliance Support Coordinator at (707) 826-5169.

For additional information, please email or call (707) 826-4345.


The hourly (non-exempt) wage range is between $25.98-$32.45, depending on skills and experience. Cost of living adjustments are made annually in July.

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