One of the largest and most respected company in the renewable energy talks to GineersNow TV about the past, present and future of the solar industry.
Learn how Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar grew the company from their humble beginnings to building the largest solar power plant in the world.
Dr. Qu also discussed Canadian Solar’s history, early challenges, current innovations and their future technologies.
An inspiring story from the founder of Canadian Solar.
About the Leader
Dr. Shawn Qu founded Canadian Solar Inc. in October 2001 and has been its Chief Executive Officer and President since October 2001. Prior to founding Canadian Solar, Inc., Dr. Qu worked at Automation Tooling Systems Inc (ATS), Cambridge, Ontario Canada from 1998 to 2001, where he performed various responsibilities at ATS and at its subsidiaries in the solar power business, Matrix and Photowatt International S.A. including Director for Silicon Procurement, Director for Strategic Planning and Business Development and Technical Vice President (Asia Pacific) of Photowatt International S.A. From 1996 to 1998, Dr. Qu served as a Research Scientist at Ontario Hydro (currently Ontario Power Generation), where he worked as a process leader in the development of Spheral Solar technology, a proprietary solar technology which Ontario Hydro acquired from Texas Instruments.
Under Dr. Qu’s leadership, Canadian Solar Inc. became a publicly listed company on NASDAQ in 2006 and has grown into one of the largest photovoltaic solar product manufacturers and solar power project developers in the world. As of December 31st, 2017, Canadian Solar Inc. has delivered accumulatively more than 25GW of solar modules to thousands of customers in more than 100 countries. The Company and its subsidiaries have also connected accumulatively more than 3.2GW of solar power plants to the grid. These solar power plants are located in Canada, the United States of America, Japan, China and the United Kingdom. The company has also developed and constructed solar power plants in Mexico, Brazil, India and Namibia.
For 2017, Canadian Solar expects to ship 6.8 to 6.9 GW solar modules, achieve approximately $3.33 billion to $3.37 billion of revenue and connect approximately 1GW of new solar power plants around the world. The Company runs manufacturing facilities in six countries including Canada, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil. The Company employs more than 12,000 people around the world. In 2015, Canadian Solar Inc. acquired Recurrent Energy of California from Sharp, with approximately $265M, thus became one of the largest utility-scale solar power plant developers in USA. Canadian Solar has invested $940M into US as of today, including capital investment, parent and intercompany loans to its US subsidiaries, parent guaranteed loans and other financial facilities.
Academic publications / Technology achievements
Dr. Qu was the principal researcher on various topics in condensed matter physics and semiconductor materials science during his M.Sc. and Ph.D. studies. He has published scientific research papers in academic journals such as IEEE Quantum Electronics, Applied Physics Letter and Physical Review.Under his strategic leadership, the Canadian Solar research team has pioneered the commercialization of MCCE (Metal Catalyzed Chemical Etch) black Si texturing technology from 2012 to 2016, improved the efficiency of solar cell, at the same time enabled the low cost diamond wire-saw mc-Si wafer technology to become the new mainstream technology. He also has led the company creating a module production portfolio that accelerated the PV technology advancement for the whole PV industry, such as ELPS (MWT technology), double glass modules and high voltage modules. Through developing new PV technology, Dr. Qu and his team have accelerated solar grid parity, thus enabled solar industry in many countries to approach the same cost level of fossil fuel energy.
Dr. Qu received a Ph.D. Degree in Material Science from University of Toronto in 1995, a M.Sc. Degree in Physics from University of Manitoba in 1990 and a B.Sc. in Applied Physics from Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) in 1986.
From 1995-1996, Shawn was a Post Doctorate Research Fellow at University of Toronto focusing on semiconductor optical devices.
Honorary titles and Recognitions
In 2010, Dr. Shawn Qu was selected as one of the first group of 25 people out of the Chinese government’s 1000 overseas talent program and later was awarded the title by the state council as China’s Distinguished Expert for Dr. Qu’s significant contribution in starting and developing the solar industry in China.
From 2011 to 2013, Shawn was an honorary professor at Tsinghua University, the top university in China, for the development of the renewable energy research program. Shawn has been actively involved in various solar industry associations and holds key positions. Among them are member of Photovoltaic Special Committee of China Renewable Energy Association, Vice Chairman of Chinese Photovoltaic Industry Association, and Executive Vice Chairman of Jiangsu Province Photovoltaic Industry Association.
Dr. Shawn Qu is viewed as the global solar industry leader. In the past few years, Dr. Qu has been an invited speaker at the IFC Climate Change Conference, the International Economic Forum Americas, the Wall Street Journal Economics Forum, Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance Forum, International Energy Forum, Solar Power International, TEDx Talks, and many other prestigious forums, special interviews at China’s most viewed TV programs “Dialogue”, “Brainstorming” and “Bosstown”.
About the Company
Canadian Solar is an established global manufacturer of solar panels and has already made an impact in the Middle East region back in 2011. In 2012, we opened our first subsidiary Canadian Solar Middle East Limited in Abu Dhabi, followed by our second branch Canadian Solar Middle East DMCC in 2017. In addition, to better serve our customers, we have also established a logistic hub with professional warehouse facilities in Dubai, which will serve the entire region, timely and efficiently. With our recent project wins, including the DEWA III, the largest solar park to be built worldwide, we are a proven partner with a solid track record for your project requirement.
Our MENA team is based in the UAE and has over 10 years PV experience. With additional support from the EMEA headquarter in Munich, Germany, over 90 highly skilled and motivated employees encompassing all business functions – sales key accounts, regional sales, business development, market intelligence, finance, technical, marketing, operations and legal affairs – are supporting the regional team in the Middle East. The strength of our team is our professional, international sales team as well as our expertise to support all technical-related matters through our pre-sales and after-sales support, including on-site visits and inspections, ensuring the best quality and service for our customers before and after each purchase. With all this talent in-house we can offer our customers the full range of services, from presale consultation and system design to after-sale service and training (on site or online).
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