Solar West 2016

The sun is rising in the west. Well, not literally, but Alberta is becoming a major player in the solar industry in Canada. On September 14, 2016, the Alberta Government announced a firm target of 30% electricity used in Alberta will come from renewable sources such as wind, hydro and solar by 2030. On a brisk October day in Edmonton, Minister Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, doubled down on Alberta's commitment to renewables by announcing that the Alberta Government is setting a goal to power itself with more than 50% renewable energy.

This announcement was welcomed by a rousing audience on the opening day of CanSIA's Solar West Conference. According to John Gorman, CanSIA CEO, the attendance has more than doubled from last year, reaching a record 400 in 2016. The large number is no surprise - as I peered around, many of those in attendance were solar professionals, eager to get started with the transformation of Canada's Energy Capital.

I was fortunate to be in attendance at Solar West this year; representing the ELSE National Board. The conference was highlighted by the prominence of the speakers present. The day started with a speech from Gianna Manes, President & CEO of ENMAX Corporation who preached a comprehensive approach to transitioning away from carbon-intensive activities. It was followed by several panels that spoke about policy, system, and market dynamics, distribution-connected solar, and utility-scale solar. The panelists were insightful as they spoke with vigor about the rapid new trends and policies that have come in a flurry since the NDP took over power in the province from the 40-year reign of the Progressive Conservatives.

The Great Climate Race

Emerging Leaders for Solar Energy is working in collaboration with the Great Climate Race to raise funds for OrcaLab, a world-renowned, research centre situated on a remote island off the BC coast, near Alert Bay, which has been researching orcas and other whales for more than four decades. In 2013, OrcaLab installed a solar system to reduce dependence on gas generators. They are now taking the project further to meet almost all their energy needs using renewable energy only. The OrcaLab solar project is being organized by ELSE and will serve as an educational opportunity for students involved in solar energy.

“We are excited to be working with ELSE to be helping to fund the transition off diesel power for OrcaLab. Not only is this good for the climate but the cost savings for the facility can help do more good work monitoring and learning about the resident orcas we all love” said Great Climate Race co-founder Ben West.

“ELSE is participating because we strongly believe that solar energy is one of the most compelling clean energy resources available to us today” said Julie Guérin co-Chair, National Board of Directors at ELSE. “Solar energy creates meaningful employment; contributes to a healthy environment; and it helps meet electricity demands or helps those who are off the grid, like the OrcaLab. We’re very happy to be supporting the Great Climate Race and working towards achieving our goal of raising an additional $16,000 to complete this project.”

ELSE members outside of Vancouver will join others from around the world in The Great Climate Race — International Virtual Race. “with chapters in four provinces, and a presence at 17 Canadian universities and we’ll have upwards of 1000 participants in the race either locally or virtually across the country” said Guérin.

Please visit the ELSE fundraising page or this OrcaLab blog post for more details.

Career Workshop: Getting Past the Interview

Completing your resume is one thing but getting past the interview is a whole other ball game. When you're interviewing for a job, you know you need to sell the hiring manager on why your background, skills and industry experience are a match for the position. But there's one crucial piece of the puzzle that you shouldn't overlook: Is your personality right for the job? Join us on October 19th to find out what are the top qualities employers are looking for their hiring. We’ll share what important skills you’ll want to highlight during an interview and give employers an idea of who you are and how well you’ll fit in the team.


5:45PM - 6PM Registration
6PM - 6:15PM Introductions
6:15PM - 6:35PM Interview Skills (Do’s & Don’ts) - Smart Mint
6:35PM - 6:55PM Top 10 Interview Mistakes - Schulich 
6:55PM - 7:20PM 5 Tips to Succeeding From The Very First Day - PowerHub
7:20PM - 7:40PM Reach Your Potential - Focus Inspired
7:40PM - 8PM Getting Experience When You Have No Experience - MPower
8PM - 9PM Networking


Find out all the details and reserve your tickets today!

Mentorship Program Launch

The ELSE Mentorship Program Launch held on July 6th at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto was a HUGE success! We brought together an incredible mix of mentors & mentees for an interactive evening of networking, group discussions, and Q&A on key topics essential for upcoming professionals to embark on a career in this industry.

Targeting students, recent graduates and young professionals less than 35 years of age, this first-of-its-kind program in Canada matches mentees with two experienced industry professionals for one-hour in-person sessions. If you haven’t signed up already, learn more about the program today!


Be sure to check out the event photos. A big thanks to Kristin Lau for sharing her expertise, showing her artwork, and for providing ELSE these images from the event.


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