Interview: Petra’s employed in solar and researching renewable energy for conservation


Home » Interview: Petra’s employed in solar and researching renewable energy for conservation

Petra is studying on the MSc Renewable Energy and the Built Environment course at CAT. After taking a break between finishing here taught modules and starting her dissertation she has been up at CAT today speaking to her tutor about a dissertation idea. It was a great opportunity for us to catch up with her about her experience of the course so far and what she has been able to do with it.

Profile petra varga
Petra Varga – Renewable Energy Student

What is the dissertation about?

I’m looking a coral reef restoration project. For restoring coral they use submerged metal cages with an electrical current going through them at a low voltage. Over time these cages grow limestone on them, which helps establish the coral. At the moment this electric current is usually powered by diesel generators. I am looking at the potential of using marine current generators instead.

How did you get into studying renewable energy at CAT?

I trained as an Electrical Engineer in Hungary, and then worked as an automation specialist for eight years. I worked particularly on software testing in automated warehouses.

I guess I was looking for something that felt more important. I find that just working for money isn’t very motivating.

So I found the course at CAT and decided to come over and study here.

How has studying at CAT impacted on your career?

Initially I continued working in automation alongside studying, but I was looking for a new job. I used to find it was whenever I was meant to be writing an essay I would get distracted with looking for jobs instead! I wanted to find something in the renewable energy sector.

In January 2014, whilst still studying at CAT, I got a contract with a PV installation company as a project engineer. I had tried looking for a renewable energy job before starting the course and nobody was interested, so I certainly think being on the course made a difference. In the interview we had to complete some calculations, which seemed very simple after studying on the course. I didn’t find it to difficult to get into the work once I had started either.

How was your experience of studying at CAT?

I really enjoyed it. When I was doing my undergraduate degree I didn’t know what I really wanted to do. I was much more motivated with my MSc because I had a sense of purpose.

I met lots of people on the course, which was fun. I like the whole setup at CAT. When I first came for an open day it took hours to get here and I thought ‘is the drive going to be worth it?’ It definitely was. The setting here is so beautiful it is almost like being on a holiday. I always enjoy coming away here.