In 2015, oil was approaching $30 per barrel and the economy as well as my career in the mining industry was in jeopardy (at least in the short term). Seeing that the boom-bust cycle of fossil fuels was gradually going to shift towards more bust than boom, I decided it was time to pivot. At the same time, my friend, now business partner, felt the same pressure in his career as an industrial electrician.
It was an opportune moment for me (and my friend); being in my mid 20's, I knew I could easily recover if my career change didn't pan out. The decision to leave mining for renewable energy was not because I despise heavy industry, or don't see the value that mining provides - quite the contrary. Mining has been around nearly as long as people, and will continue to be around for centuries to come. My decision to leave was about seizing an opportunity to be a part of a new industry at the ground level and contribute to building it up to where I know it needs to be.
I have always been passionate about sustainability and renewable energy. That passion paired with my background as a graduate of engineering from the University of Alberta, and my partner’s electrical experience, made starting a solar energy company a no-brainer. With no prior business experience, we dove in head first and haven't thought about looking back since.
Three years later, we at Kuby Renewable Energy have 15 employees, most of whom had been laid off or adversely affected by the oil bust. To date we have installed over 2,300 kW of solar panels (Alberta currently has approximately 18,000 kW total) and 100+ solar PV projects. We are forecasting another year of capacity, revenue and employee growth surpassing the industry average. Our business is focused on residential and commercial solar power installations and energy storage solutions. We work across western and northern Canada providing custom solar power solutions to reduce society's need for emission-intensive fuels.
Taking that first step into a new career can be daunting, but also possibly the best decision you will ever make.