National Renewable Energy Lab

  www.nrel.gov
  www.nrel.gov

National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews

Updated October 21, 2014
Updated October 21, 2014
68 Reviews
3.6
68 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
National Renewable Energy Lab Director Dan E. Arvizu
Dan E. Arvizu
43 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Very good place to work, good work life balance, beautiful campus (in 9 reviews)

  • Great atmosphere, great people, great life to work balance (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • In the beginning it was okay, though after progressive changes in senior management, the IS organization turned into a mess (in 4 reviews)

  • No opportunities, no raises, no bonuses, no direction and no leadership (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Post-Bacc Research Participant Program Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Post-Bacc Research Participant Program in Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Post-Bacc Research Participant Program in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very comfortable and lenient atmosphere
    Work-life balance is extremely important here
    Sits on the border between academic research and industry applications
    Good compensation and benefits
    Amazing facilities mean you have any equipment you could ever want for whatever research you want to do, including some government-exclusive and very powerful computer programs or databases

    Cons

    People get lazy when there isn't a huge push for results
    Ridiculously high overhead rate cuts down your research dollars a lot
    Bureaucracy and paperwork requirements can be a major hindrance to getting anything done
    Because of their extreme "safety first" policies, it's more like "safety instead of progress"

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great research environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Visiting Scholar in Boulder, CO
    Former Employee - Visiting Scholar in Boulder, CO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very friendly and encouraging people

    Cons

    remote location and difficult terrain

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    High Quality Research with Fantastical Personnel

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Golden, CO
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Golden, CO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The research work conducted at NREL, with all of the available tools, is fabulous. The working conditions are highly flexible, which is great for experimental research. Coworkers are positive and helpful. The healthcare coverage is excellent. Opportunities to learn about other work going on a NREL is also great, allowing for interdisciplinary work to flourish.

    Cons

    The lab is, unfortunately, very sensitive to the political climate. The well-being of the lab and it's funding goes up and down every two years, if now more often.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be conscientious of everyone that makes the lab successful. The director doubling his own salary while the lab was in a general salary and hiring freeze does not help morale.

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Well balanced work place with flexible work hours, experienced management and lots of smart people. Opportunities to get exposure to different subject matter and variety of projects.

    Cons

    Being subject to federal budget uncertainty can be stressful.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Disfunctional

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good work environment, good benefits, great mission

    Cons

    Poor leadership, no strategy, no coopertation

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find people that want to lead, and let them

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  7.  

    Great work, great people, great pay.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab

    Pros

    Everything. Hours, Pay, people and work-life balance.

    Cons

    There are no cons at this job yet

  8.  

    NREL is very cool, and the employment conditions were terrific, even for contracted employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Junior Java Developer in Golden, CO
    Former Employee - Junior Java Developer in Golden, CO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    The compensation for a freshly graduated, contracted Jr. Java Developer was exactly what I was seeking. The campus is large and a curious mix of high-tech and industrial. The staff is friendly, and we'd often have lunch together at local watering holes (and occasionally after work).

    Probably the most interesting perk was the fact that NREL so believes in ergonomic working environments that they bought me a $100 wireless mouse. Sadly, I had to leave it behind, but it was the best damned mouse I've ever used, and nobody batted an eyelash when I requested it. They even have a workspace set up to demonstrate a range of available products.

    Cons

    The commute was a bit tedious, and the contract was short (they offered an extension, but I ended up moving). That's about it.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    As others have stated - you need to find your niche!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great people to work with - very smart (and some are down-right brilliant)! The campus is lovely.

    Cons

    The campus is very wide-spread, so if mobility is an issue, this might not be the best setting. Right now NREL ssems to be going through a lot of changes, but I've been here five years now - and that seems to be a consistent pattern. There is too much of people bringing in people they know from the outside - small empires are emerging and there is a lack of a cohesive culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Standardize and embed a uniform culture and things would probably get better!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    My experience has been highly rewarding

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great atmosphere, great people, great life to work balance

    Cons

    the bureaucracy can be frustrating

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Some pluses and some minuses at NREL

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Technician in Glendale, CO
    Former Employee - Research Technician in Glendale, CO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Interesting work. Work in the important field in renewable energy. Some world class researchers there. Very little micro-management, you have space to do you job. Some flexibility in schedule.

    Cons

    Heavy bureaucracy. Lots of nonsense training and certification to just flip a breaker switch. Very large administration compared to researchers. The administrative people are located in a huge building, the Research Support Facility, that dominates the campus. Many researchers call it the Research Suppression Facility. Discrimination against white males.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Less Bureaucracy and more focus and funding on actual research. Stop discrimination against white males.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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