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Work experience abroad in Germany as a stepping stone

A work experience placement during his degree brought Clément Delhoume (30) to Bavaria. After completing his degree in electrical engineering, the French national decided to return to Germany, where he now works as an engineer building large-scale solar installations.

Frenchman Clément Delhoume works as a design engineer in Munich.

Clément Delhoume works at Energisto eG, a registered cooperative association near Munich, where he is collaborating with an external partner on the development of solar parks. This project involves taking numerous aspects into account, ranging from the design to the lease agreement and the connection to the grid.

German lessons at school

Clément Delhoume completed his degree in electrical engineering in France, where those wishing to study engineering must first pass a selection procedure. “Then you can attend a two-year preparatory course at specialised upper secondary schools,” he says. He completed this course at an upper secondary school in Bordeaux before going on to study at the École Centrale de Lille, where he opted to specialise in renewable energies.

The programme included the option to do a full year of work experience placements. Clément Delhoume worked on a construction site in France for half a year before moving to a Munich-based company in the renewable energies sector. This choice was primarily for pragmatic reasons. “I had some personal contacts at the company,” he tells us. “I also learned German at school, so I wasn’t a complete stranger to this neighbouring country.”

Diverse activities at a small company

After completing university, he took up a position as an engineer at the German company where he did his work experience placement. He stayed there for four years, planning and building solar power stations, before moving to the cooperative association where he works today.

“We are currently in the development stage for a number of solar power stations in France. Of course, it really helps that I’m a native speaker.”

“Our association has eight members. We work on the projects jointly, with everyone on the same level.”

Planning every cable and every switch

Clément Delhoume’s work as a design engineer begins with answering a variety of questions: do the grid operators have enough capacity for the solar power plants to be connected? Which inverters, modules, switches, cables and protection devices are used?

Planning extends to the so-called transfer station, which acts as the interface between the solar power station and the grid operator. “This small building needs to meet the specifications of the network operator,” he explains. He also has to take account of the different delivery times of the manufacturers of individual parts.

The native language as a trump card

Once this is complete, the project moves onto the next stage. Clément Delhoume supervises the construction and the connection to the grid. He likes the mix of computer work and activities on the building site.

The same is true of his life in Germany as a whole: “I can imagine staying here forever.” At any rate, the engineer has settled in well for the moment. And his origins also stand him in good stead: “We are currently in the development stage for a number of solar power stations in France. Of course, it really helps that I’m a native speaker.”