President and Co-Founder, SolarShare | Toronto, ON
I built my first off-grid solar system in 1985 to power a quaint old cottage I had purchased on Georgian Bay. Living with off-grid solar ever since then, I asked myself, ‘why aren’t we producing more of our electricity this way?’
So, in 2005, I got involved with the Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative (TREC), which developed the community-owned Windshare turbine at Exhibition Place in Toronto. When TREC acquired enough funding to investigate the possibility of establishing a solar co-operative, I jumped at the opportunity. I left my company in 2009 to work as a full-time volunteer—co-founding and developing SolarShare to the present day.
I’m very proud of the fact that by August of this year, SolarShare will have more than 1,500 members and $60 million worth of solar systems in operation across Ontario.
SolarShare provides local jobs to solar developers, engineers, maintenance providers and co-op staff—we all in turn spend our money in our communities. We bring together like-minded people who share ideas and come up with more ways of promoting renewable energy. Having SolarShare projects in various communities can give the residents a sense of pride that they are doing something positive for the environment.
One lesson I’ve learned from working with SolarShare is that business can be done in a way where transactions are always a win-win for all parties involved. We call this “doing business cooperatively,” and it’s very refreshing and encouraging to see business conducted in a kinder, fairer, more honest and transparent manner.
We must all do whatever possible to reduce carbon emissions—and I mean yesterday! How? Reduce your personal use of fossil fuels; insulate your home better; and switch to driving an electric vehicle if possible. New electric vehicles are coming on the market this year in Canada that will drive far longer distances on a single charge and cost far less than in the past. And, of course, please continue to support renewable energy in any way you can through organizations like Bullfrog Power and SolarShare!
SolarShare is a renewable energy co-operative that develops solar power projects across Ontario. SolarShare currently has more than 1,500 members and 49 projects representing over 6 MW of installed solar power generation capacity. Incorporated in January 2010, SolarShare is a not-for-profit co-operative formed by TREC Renewable Energy Co-operative. Bullfrog Power provides project financing for the construction of new SolarShare installations in Ontario.
About Currents of Change
Currents of Change are portraits, thoughts and ideas from Canadians helping to transform the energy landscape through renewable energy. Bullfrog profiles changemakers who are creating powerful currents in their communities. Those featured have either helped build a green energy project, financially supported by the bullfrogpowered community, or they are a member of the bullfrogpowered community, supporting green energy projects across Canada.
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