Category Archives: Green Jobs

Links to Green companies that are hiring, links to green positions advertised and notes on Green Collar Jobs.

Inviting all students: Sustainable Engineers Association Conference @ University of Toronto

This Saturday, Nicolas Morgan (our co-founder and the original author of this blog) will be speaking at the 3rd Annual Sustainable Engineers Association (SEA) Sustainability Conference at U of T’s Hart House.

The conference is designed to bring together students of ALL disciplines who are passionate about sustainable development.

It seems like a good opportunity to refine a final year engineering project, or learn about what’s going on in industry/ government to consider career options. If you’re of the entrepreneurial bent, there’s a panel on that which may be of interest too.

The theme of the conference? Overcoming obstacles in sustainability. Nic will be on a panel discussing the future of energy; other key themes include transportation and public policy.

Here’s a run-down of the pertinent details:

Date: February 2nd, 2013, at 9 AM
Location: Hart House Great Hall. See the Hart House Website for directions.
Registration: $10 deposit via credit card, will be refunded to you in full only after checking in at the conference reception desk.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Dress code: Business Casual

To register and for more conference details visit: http://sustainable-engineers.org/seac/.

2013.01_Sustainable Engineers Association

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Morgan Solar is Hiring. A lot.

Funny story. At the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery 2011 conference last week, we mentioned to a lot of the graduate students, and others, that Morgan Solar planned to hire half a dozen positions this month.  Many of the students were there because in their university or college programs they had developed their own, fairly cutting-edge renewable technologies. One of these technologies was a working horizontal wind turbine, from George Brown College, whose team won first place in the student competition. Naturally, these are the type of people that you’d want to hire.

Anyways, at one point, a very eager young individual came up to the booth and said, “I hear Morgan Solar is offering jobs. Hi.” It was the way it was said, as if we were giving out jobs like they were a dime-a-dozen conference giveaway. I had to have a laugh, and eventually when I explained why, he did too.

But the fact is, we are hiring a lot this month. In the past two days, I’ve posted 4 jobs to our Careers page, and that’s on top of the Quality Manager position that is the subject of the previous blog post. Here are what we are hiring for:

Edit: We’re happy to say we’ve found excellent candidates to fill all of the below openings. Check www.morgansolar.com/careers for new postings.

1. an Automation Engineer (5+ experience a must, experience with PLC, machine controls also essential)

2. a Manufacturing Engineer (2+ years experience, with good co-op placements taken into consideration as part of this)

3. a Design Engineer (B.Sc. in Mechanical Engingeering/ similar is required, plus 0-10 years in a related position; new grads are welcome to apply)

4. a Materials Scientist/ Materials Engineer (B.Sc. in Materials Science Engineer/ similar, and 2-5 years in a relevant position)

Please spread the word to anyone you think would be good for these jobs. We have a 33-strong, motivated and dynamic team, and look forward to adding more brilliant, hard-wording minds to the mix.

Morgan Solar is Hiring A Quality Manager

Note: This position is now filled. 

We’re very happy to announce we’ve posted a new job opening for a Quality Manager to our website.

We are looking for a highly motivated, experienced individual to develop and put in place quality control best practices in our Toronto manufacturing facility. This is an exciting opportunity to craft quality standards and processes for a groundbreaking new technology moving rapidly from manual to high-throughput, automated manufacturing.

Global travel to suppliers and installation sites will be required.

More jobs to be posted soon, so please check back.

Electricity Prices Go Up Regardless

Ontario will be having an election this October, and the Green Energy Act is being raised as an issue.  I’ve decided to write this post before I know what different candidates are saying, because I’m not trying to favour one side or the other so much as discuss a point of view.

To start, I’ve heard people criticize the Green Energy Act on the basis that it will increase people’s electricity bills. It will.  But what that objection implies is that somehow, electricity prices would stay the same otherwise.  This is false.  Electricity rates are going up, period.

Why?  For starters, coal, oil and natural gas are all getting more expensive to mine or extract, and consumption for all three is increasing rapidly in China, India and other high-growth economies.  Demand for electricity is increasing in general, and where populations are growing it’s increasing even faster. In Ontario, our generation and distribution infrastructure is old, inefficient and in need of significant and expensive upgrades.  This means that it is getting more and more expensive just to keep things going at current levels, ignoring the fact that we’re already at the very edge of rolling blackouts every summer.  Added to that, some sort of cost for carbon emissions is starting to look inevitable (regardless of your opinion on global warming, that’s just political reality right now), and our current infrastructure still relies too heavily on coal.  I could go on, but you get the point.

NASA Satellite Images of the 2003 blackout in the North Eastern US and Ontario

The 2003 Blackout - The most dramatic recent example of how fragile our power grid can be.

To emphasize: No matter what we do, the price of electricity is going to go up. So, if you’re going to pay more, what would you like to buy with those extra dollars? There are many options, but here are two:

Option # 1: Invest minimally, keep electricity costs low (for now)

Some people will argue that we should spend and invest as little as possible, and our goal should be to keep electricity rates as low as possible now.  This means we don’t focus on any of the serious upgrades we badly need, and we keep importing extremely expensive power when we can’t generate enough in the summer.  This scenario assumes we don’t have to shut down any of the nuclear power plants, and we keep all of our current coal plants running. Electricity costs will still go up, but in the next few years, the increases will probably be slower. Once the growing costs of nuclear power plant maintenance, carbon taxes, rising fossil fuel prices and the long term health costs to the people living downwind from coal fired stations start to add up, things can easily very expensive, very quickly. In the long term, we’ll pay much more, and we’ll get little more than the status quo to show for it.  (And remember, all of the GTA and an overwhelming majority of the people in Ontario live downwind from Nanticoke, literally the most polluting coal plant in the Western Hemisphere.)

Option #2: Invest in a long term energy plan, stabilize and possibly reduce prices over the long term

The other alternative is to invest.  Reasonable people can disagree on the best way to invest, or even if that is a better course of action, and the Green Energy Act is absolutely not the only model for investing in a better energy future for Ontario.

With the Green Energy Act, we are paying more for electricity than we would otherwise. The extra money is used for several things: extensive upgrades to Ontario’s electrical distribution and generation infrastructure, aggressive efficiency and power reduction targets, and direct stimulation of renewable energy development via feed-in tariffs. Feed-in tariffs are controversial. They have been a disaster for Spain and Italy, but have had astonishing results in Germany and Japan.  The Ontario Green Energy Act was built with a specific set of long term goals in mind: job creation; increasing our clean energy supply; steadily lowering the price of renewable energy in Ontario by growing the market; eliminating coal-fired power plants; and, broadly speaking, avoiding instability in supplies and electricity price shocks, thereby keeping long term electricity costs low.

I can’t say if the all of the goals set out in Green Energy Act will be reached, and I certainly can’t say if it’s the best way to reach these goals.  But the goals seem worth trying to reach, and so far things seem to be working well. Unlike Spain or Italy, the OPA and the province have shown they can react quickly to make changes as needed in a timely and reasonably transparent manner. The uncertainty over the future of the Act is preventing a few companies from moving here or investing too much in Ontario operations, but in general, we’re seeing a fast growing solar energy sector.

Personally, I’d want to see strong evidence that the act wasn’t working, or that the added cost to electricity was having a clear negative effect on the province before I could be convinced it should be repealed.  Even then, there would need to be an alternate plan for our energy future, with clear goals and a way to reach them. It’s my opinion, but I strongly believe that doing nothing and focusing on the short term price of electricity without considering the bigger picture will be a bad strategy in the long run.

Relevant reading:

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) World Energy Outlook 2010 Fact Sheet

OPA’s Q4 2010 Progress Report on Electricity Supply


Local Content Rules: Good or bad for the regional economy?

Two conflicting views of the impact of domestic content rules on the regional economy:

1. A study by a coalition of mostly foreign PV producers argues that Ontario’s 60% domestic content requirements will reduce job creation and private investment in the Province, as compared with only a Feed-in Tariff and no domestic content rules.  The study was led by Mitsubishi Electric Corp., a global supplier of PV modules and inverters, and supported by U.S.-based First Solar, Japan’s Sanyo Eletric Co., and Toronto-based Timminco, a silicon processor. According to the president of Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada Inc., the Dom Con requirements are “poison”.

*Does anyone know where I can find an original of the study?

2.  In sharp contrast, on Bloomberg last week – more news that Spain, which never imposed restrictions on where solar panels could come from, is suffering hugely from its overly generous FIT subsidies.  Not only are farmers losing hard-earned savings on lower than agreed upon feed-in rates, but few green jobs were created, let alone sustained – “The spending didn’t achieve the government’s aim of creating green jobs, because Spanish investors imported most of their panels from overseas when domestic manufacturers couldn’t meet short-term demand.”

Also adding urgency to the issue: Japan, backed by the EU and the US, has taken Ontario’s Dom Con rules to the WTO.

So, what’s better – the FIT and Dom Con Combo, or just the FIT?  Obviously it depends who you speak to – as a Globe & Mail article put it, “Behind much of the push for liberalized trade rules are multinational companies that are eager to keep costs down and locate their manufacturing facilities where it makes the most business sense.”

By itself, that’s not a strong enough platform on which to reject or accept DC rules though. Certainly, in most cases, manufacturing in Ontario does add a premium. But as Ontario is finding out – it is attracting a significant amount of investment and creating jobs (for example, see this and this).  The challenge will be keeping the capacity here once the FIT is removed, but by then there should be a strong base of innovative companies in the Province to move things forward, and what matters equally if not more – lots and lots of solar panels feeding clean electricity to the grid.

Morgan Solar is Hiring a Junior Design Engineer

Edit: We’ve now filled this position with a very strong Design Engineer.

We’re happy to announce we are now hiring a Junior Design Engineer, to start immediately, or as soon as possible depending on availability.

The job description is posted on the careers section of our website.  You can also download it here.

Report: Canada and U.S. Renewable Energy Spending Compared

An interesting report just released by Environmental Defence (a Canadian non-profit) and the United Steelworkers (one of the largest private sector unions in Canada) draws attention to Canada’s lag on renewable energy spending as compared to the U.S.

The report argues that job creation, economic recovery, and environmental health in Canada will trail behind other countries if the federal government does not throw its weight behind this new economic sector.  According to the report, in 2008, Canada ranked 31st out of 42 countries for clean energy sales relative to GDP, barely ahead of Tunisia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

Of course, the renewable energy sector does have seemingly unstoppable momentum at the moment, a number of sound green energy policies are popping up in the country (see British Colombia’s recently announced Clean Energy Act, or the federal  government’s Sustainable Development Technology Program), and progressive policies in some countries can’t help but bring up the industry globally.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act, passed on May 14, 2009, put the province on the world map as a lucrative, supportive renewable energy market, so it might have been easier to lose sight of the big picture.  But it’s worth taking a step back.  The Canadian Solar Industry Association has a lead on this.  Recognizing the lack of a coherent national strategy for solar energy, they’ve realigned their priorities to develop one.  We look forward to reading CANSia Solar Vision 2025 which, according to their Spring/ Summer 2010 newsletter, they will present at their December conference in Toronto.

Relatedly – Happy Canada Day everyone!

Happy Canada Day!