Photo Credit: Emerging Leaders for Solar Energy (ELSE)
In order for solar energy to play a significant role in the renewable energy transition, Canadians need to be part of the conversation. Solar energy education is vital in order to garner public support for the technology, dispel myths, and to increase the attention paid to the technology by all levels of government in Canada.
It is not enough for solar technology to exist. Since the fossil fuel industry has existed for more than a century, using fossil fuels has become the status quo. The fossil fuel industry continues to receive subsidies, without being forced to include the cost of the environmental externalities that fossil fuels produce, such as air pollution which contributes to increased healthcare costs Therefore, a diverse conversation must take place in Canada, so that those that are unfamiliar with solar technology can learn about its benefits, such as: providing clean electricity in remote locations which saves power transportation costs, creating no noise pollution, being one of the key components of a 100% renewable energy future, and allowing for communities to get involved in where their energy comes from by joining a solar energy co-op.
It is pertinent that Canadians of all ages are educated about solar energy technology and the role it can play in Canada’s energy mix. Six incredible organizations are shining a spotlight on solar energy through their work in public outreach and education. The organizations listed below target various demographics and interest groups including: emerging professionals, post-secondary students, elementary and highschool students, women in the renewable energy field, the general public, government, and the energy industry.
1. Emerging Leaders for Solar Energy (ELSE)
ELSE works to empower young professionals across the country who are passionate about solar energy, and to facilitate a public discussion about solar, its benefits and its place in the world supply mix. In 2015, ELSE launched Canada’s first Solar Energy Mentorship Program. To learn more about how you can get involved in ELSE’s Solar Ambassador program as a student, Mentorship Program as a mentor or mentee, or to sign up for their newsletter to learn about future events, visit elsecanada.ca
2. TREC Education
TREC Education is a national charity that delivers renewable energy education programs in classrooms and at community events across Ontario – creating systemic change for a greener future and fostering the next generation of renewable energy leaders. This May, TREC Education is hosting its 9thannual Kids’ World of Energy Festival which hosts more than 2,500 students and adults and offers unique, hands-on workshops focusing on renewable energy, energy conservation and environmental topics. To learn more about how you can support renewable energy education, visit treceducation.ca
Photo Credit: TREC Education
3. Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE)
WiRE expands the involvement of professional women in all renewable energy industry segments through educational field trips, monthly networking meetings, and communications and engagement initiatives. WiRE’s monthly meet-ups present a welcoming and casual opportunity to meet peers, share ideas and opportunities, and educate colleagues about projects and initiatives of interest to the group. To get involved in WiRE’s informational interview program, attend upcoming events, or learn about awards and bursaries available, visit womeninrenewableenergy.ca
OurPower is a voice for individuals and organizations, celebrating renewable energy across Canada and around the world, that shares ideas, information and inspiration for greening our energy supply, focusing on the positive impacts and people behind the projects. OurPower recently launched a video series to educate Canadians about the renewable energy transition. To join OurPower’s effort and help spread the word and general awareness of renewable energy, visit ourpower.ca
Photo Credit: OurPower & Toronto Renewable Energy Network (TREN)
5. Toronto Renewable Energy Network (TREN)
TREN is a non-profit organization that develops educational and networking events and activities for the public. The group’s mission is to create a more sustainable future by engaging people who are passionate about renewable energy. To stay in the loop about upcoming events and activities, join their meetup page: meetup.com/TorontoRenewableEnergy
6. Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA)
OSEA is Ontario’s lead advocate, facilitator and catalyst for the transformation of the energy sector in Ontario and the transition to a more sustainable energy economy by championing policy and regulatory change for a more sustainable society powered, heated, cooled and transported by a portfolio of sustainable energy. OSEA organizes Green Energy Doors Open, a province-wide, communications campaign showcasing individual, community, and commercial sustainable energy projects. The public is invited to visit these projects at an event in October every year. To learn more about becoming a member, and about OSEA’s events, advocacy, training and education, visit ontario-sea.org