FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2019
School’s In For Summer: the George Gordon First Nation Partners With Mo’ Solar Company to Offer First-Ever Indigenous Solar PV Certification Course in Saskatchewan
REGINA, SK, June 20, 2019 – While many youth across the Province are gearing up for summer holidays, an eager group of young indigenous people are busy ‘hitting the books’ this week in Regina.
In partnership with the Canadian Solar Institute, Mo’ Solar Company and George Gordon Developments Ltd. (the business development arm for George Gordon First Nation) are proud to launch a first-of-its-kind program offering in Saskatchewan – #MPoweredByMo. The program targets First Nation participants to build technical skills and knowledge in renewable energy.
The unique one-week, hands-on program immerses students in the science and technology of solar photovoltaics; electricity basics; proper system sizing, design and installation techniques; commissioning and construction safety. Strategic delivery partners were also engaged to provide expertise in areas such as renewable energy-specific rules (section 64) of the Canadian Electrical Code, fall protection and the importance of PPE. Course graduates will emerge as competent and CSA-accredited solar PV design & installation professionals. Most importantly, they will have the confidence and connections to be successful in the growing renewable energy sector.
“The students have been working very hard, and are asking some excellent questions. They seem to be catching on very quickly, and bring a ton of enthusiasm to the classroom each day,” said Mario Borsato, NABCEP-certified head instructor and founder of the Canadian Solar Institute. “I’ve been in this industry for a decade now, and I’m still learning every day.”
Last month, SaskPower and First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) signed an historic First Nations Opportunity Agreement for developing 20 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale solar generation projects. The agreement is estimated to be worth $85 million over the course of 20 years, and will undoubtedly create many employment opportunities in the construction and maintenance of the facilities.
“We see this training as a great opportunity for our people to gain employment in the construction of these future solar projects. George Gordon First Nation has a strategic plan for the future, and one of the core pillars is renewable energy and self-sufficiency,” said Glen Pratt, CEO of George Gordon Developments Ltd.
The idea for the specialized course came as a result of an observation by Mo’ Solar Company’s founder & CEO, Bradyn Parisian, who spent nearly half a decade working for SaskPower in key accounts, renewables and energy conservation.
“I simply noticed that there weren’t any quality, hands-on training programs within our Provincial borders. If a person wants to gain a certification, you must to travel to Alberta or Manitoba. A few different online offerings are available, but I’ve personally found this model isn’t the best for learning practical skills or getting your hands on actual solar PV components and gaining experience with installs,” said Parisian, who is also a sessional university business instructor with First Nations University of Canada and the University of Regina. “Furthermore, there is nothing specific to Indigenous communities, which face a number of unique circumstances as opposed to non-indigenous communities. With the growing number of opportunities for First Nations & Métis in renewable energy – it just clicked. We had to make the course a reality.”
In just its first offering, it is also seeing a great deal of success. George Gordon Developments informs that employers in the solar installation sector are very interested in its first crop of graduates. The majority of the students have already received assurances of employment post-graduation, which will be held on Friday June 21 (National Indigenous Peoples Day) at 12pm at the George Gordon First Nation Business Centre in Regina (2704 – 10th Avenue). MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT.
About Mo’ Solar Company
Mo’ Solar Company is a 100% Sask-owned and operated EPC solar photovoltaic system design and installation contractor based in Regina, SK. The company serves residential, commercial and ag clients across southern Saskatchewan.
About George Gordon Developments Ltd.
GGDL has been the economic development arm of the George Gordon First Nation since 2011, and is headquartered in Punnichy, SK.
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For more information, please contact:
Bradyn Parisian, Founder & CEO
Mo’ Solar Company