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Rong Deng

Renewable energy researcher

Rong Deng’s hunch that renewable energy was going to be big has paid off and now as a researcher she’s built a career making solar sustainable

When Rong Deng was in China considering her career options 10 years ago, renewable energy was only just starting to take off. Some were even saying it was a short-term trend – luckily Rong felt otherwise and she’s gone on to an epic career in renewable energy engineering. Last year she was even named on the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list for her work to make solar energy even more sustainable.

Rong’s work sees her tackling the challenge of recycling solar panels once they reach the end of their lifespan – and given how long renewable energy has been mainstream, that lifespan is likely to come to an end for many panels around 2030.

Rong chose engineering after excelling at maths and physics at school, but in her third year of university she saw the potential for renewable energy, and was excited to see where the sector would go. “I felt like there was a lot more I could explore that was not well understood,” Rong says. “And today I really enjoy it.”

Today, Rong teaches and mentors many female engineering students, despite being one of few women in her undergraduate degree.

“Some girls are scared of the hands-on aspect of renewable energy engineering,” Rong says “But there are lots of opportunities in renewable energy that require you to have different types of knowledge.” 

For example, designing a solar system or wind farm, project-managing a large scale renewable energy project, or working in the electricity market.

There are many exciting job opportunities in the renewable energy sector,” Rong says.

“And because this is a fast growing area, it offers lots of opportunities to innovate and to have an impact.”

Rong’s study and career path to becoming a renewable energy researcher at UNSW

  • Data Analyst, Wattblock
  • Research Assistant, UNSW
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UNSW

Want to find out more about renewable energy engineering careers? Find out how to build your own, using STEM + X, here!

This profile was brought to you in partnership with UNSW’s School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE)

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