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Powering jobs in the New Energy Economy: Meet Avanija Vedela
By Tracy Idell Hamilton on February 18, 2014
Avanija Vedela, 24, is a module engineer for Mission Solar, formerly Nexolon America.
Avanija, who earned her MS in manufacturing engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio, works in Mission Solar’s process technology department, where she’s responsible for all module processes, including quality and yield.
There are two parts to the manufacturing at Mission Solar: solar cells, which are then put together to form the modules. They’re being produced to be used by OCI Solar Power as it builds out the 400 MW worth of solar farms for CPS Energy.
Avanija was recruited by the solar company even before she graduated from UTSA. We spoke to her as as part of our ongoing series “Powering jobs in the New Energy Economy” to highlight some of the diverse San Antonians hired to fill the nearly 300 jobs already created by CPS Energy’s partner companies.
Why did you decide to go work for Mission Solar?
“I knew I wanted to work in manufacturing, but I had no idea that I’d end up in the solar industry. I was fascinated by it — I had seen some of the work done by the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute at UTSA, and was fascinated by it. This field, it’s the future. I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time.”
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
“Well, it’s a totally new field, and a new culture. I am from India, where I earned my bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. I came to San Antonio for my studies and this is my first job. I love it here, and I love the job. In-house training and help from my teammates have helped a lot.”
And what’s been fun about it?
“Seeing the industry grow in front of you. That’s been a great thing to experience. And I had the opportunity to see (the company) grow from concept to reality. I saw every stage. I also enjoy interacting with people in other departments. I am getting experiences here that I don’t think many other entry level jobs get.”