The next generation of solar pioneers: Electrifying a nation

Solar photovoltaic array at Rwindi Ranger Station (Photo courtesy of Joe O’Connor)

December 7, 2016 | By Kevin Soobrian

U of T Engineering alumnus Shawn Qu (MMS PhD 9T5) is an indisputable leader in the solar field. In 2001 he founded Canadian Solar, which has grown to become one of the world’s largest solar power companies. Canadian Solar has successfully delivered solar modules to over 90 countries — one of which is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This August, Qu donated a number of 30-kilowatt solar panels to Virunga National Park in the DRC to establish the park’s first mini-grid system. Poaching and the Congolese Civil War have significantly reduced plant and animal wildlife in Virunga. Electrification in the park has potential to prevent further destruction by powering security lights and radios that will enhance the park rangers’ ability to protect wildlife in remote areas at night.

“Protecting endangered species and environment is every corporate citizen’s responsibility,” said Qu in a press release issued by Canadian Solar. “As a founder and CEO of a world leading PV solution provider, I am happy to be able to empower rangers in their endeavour.”

Qu is also helping to support the next generation of solar researchers at U of T Engineering. In 2015, Canadian Solar committed $400,000 to support solar research at the Faculty through the TalentEdge program.

This article has been re-purposed with permission. The original article was published by U of T Engineering News.

#GreenFuture: This is from the final installment of a three-part series on how U of T Engineering researchers are addressing the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.