Why He’s Top 40: Arguably Alberta’s most influential solar-power advocate.
Key To Success: “I’m the type of person that if something isn’t working, I don’t wait around. I go and fix it.”
Kyle Kasawski’s wife calls him “my carbon offset.” But, that’s totally unfair – he could easily offset an entire Edmonton neighbourhood. Maybe even the city.
As the president and owner of Provident Solar, Kasawski installs solar energy systems for customers in Alberta, Ontario and the Northwest Territories. In 2010, its first year of operations, Provident installed solar panels that, over their life cycles, will offset emissions equal to the annual greenhouse-gas emissions from 184 cars.
He has also made a career of advocating for solar power at various levels of government, by co-developing the Alberta Solar Municipal Showcase, which got 20 Alberta municipalities to put panels on civic buildings. He was the leading contractor for the City’s solar-electric pilot program, and installed the solar system for the University of Calgary’s Child Development Centre, the Canadian Solar Industries Association‘s 2007 project of the year. For Kasawski’s efforts, the same association named him Solar Advocate of the Year in 2009.
It may not be the easiest industry to promote in oil-rich Alberta, but, he says, it’s getting easier every day as technology, affordability and public awareness improve. Back in 2002, when he co-founded ETI Solar, even Kasawski’s parents were skeptical. Now it’s a different story, in large part due to his tireless advocacy. “Things happen so much faster in solar than I expect,” he says. “It’s been a really remarkable, dynamic, exciting industry to be part of.”
In 2007, ETI Solar was bought out by German company, Conergy. Kasawski stayed on as president and managing director of Conergy Canada, where he consulted with the Ontario government on an industry-leading “clean contract program” for developers, which the City of Edmonton recently adapted for its green strategy. Actually, he says, thanks to the oil and gas industry, “we’ve gota great energy consciousness here.”
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He left in 2010 to launch Provident Solar. As TEC Edmonton Entrepreneur-in-Residence,he also counsels other start-up entrepreneurs, particularly those in clean-tech companies.
“I’ve always said I’m changing the world one solar panel at a time,” he says. If he keeps it up, Kasawski may one day realize his dream of re-christening Alberta “the sun patch.”