Eric Tonnaer

Eric in numbers

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About Eric Tonnaer

Eric first joined Vattenfall as a student intern working on large scale solar projects before being employed full time as a Project Engineer/Project Co-ordinator. He graduated from the University of Utrecht with a BSc Science & Innovation management followed by an MSc in Energy Science and a MSc in Business Economics/Managerial Economics from the University of Amsterdam.

“I’d always been interesting in a career in the energy sector as it is the backbone of society, demand will continue to grow and I also wanted to be involved in the development of an energy system which will enable current and future generations to live in a healthy, safe and sustainable environment.

For my last internship before leaving university I joined Vattenfall’s Solar business and I was able to take a deep dive into the technology. I learned a lot from my colleagues in these first 11 months thanks to the supportive, open and proactive culture within Vattenfall.

What I really liked was that even as an intern, you are able to share your thoughts or ‘out of the box’ ideas, as people are eager to listen or to learn, even if they have more experience.

Solar farm of the future

During my internship I was working on the ‘solar farm of the future’ – searching for the optimal symbiose between the agricultural and solar industries. For example, placing solar panels vertically when it rains or using solar panels as a shelter in case of frost. It’s great that I’m now able to continue to work on that as a part of my full-time job.

Although I haven’t been with Vattenfall long, it is a fast-paced environment and I have already completed a number of solar projects so it is rewarding to feel that I am making my own small contribution towards a fossil-free society.

I like the bold ambition on sustainability of Vattenfall, especially because it is such a big company. The ‘fossil-free within one generation’ mission really appeals to me and it is something which people I speak to outside work also appreciate.

My job is fast-paced but I also like to be active when I’m not at work. I am currently training for a triathlon and am a singer in a new band making cover songs.”

Eric works within:

Solar & BatteryExplore

Career path

I finished as an intern on Friday and started as a full-time employee on Monday! Together with my colleagues I co-ordinate all the technical aspects of decentralised solar projects, coming up with designs and cost calculations, selecting components, and working with suppliers, development and the O&M department. I am also working on improving the ecology and biodiversity of solar farms and still looking at innovative ways to combine solar with agriculture.
For my last internship before leaving university I was keen to spend time with a large energy company that was really investing in the development of a sustainable energy system. It was a valuable ‘deep dive’ into the technology and I was working on areas such as multi-disciplinary solar farms of the future, with a specific focus on combining agriculture and solar energy on a single field.
The energy sector had always interested me as a career as it plays such an important role in society. My thesis was about how to motivate high school students to contribute to a sustainable future by educating them on climate change. During my MSc in Energy Science I worked on a number of energy-related projects including one around how to improve energy consumption in retail stores.