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Globe & Mail: The ‘boring engineer’ who’s a major solar power

July 8, 2014 — 

The Globe & Mail recently featured a story on UM alumnus Shawn Qu, who started Canadian Solar in 2001, which has since become “one of the world’s largest and most successful solar energy firms,” with annual revenue close to $3-billion.

Qu, who completed his master’s degree in physics at the University of Manitoba, never dreamed of creating a multi-billion dollar company, the story explains, and doesn’t think of himself as any kind of tech wunderkind. “University of Manitoba gave him that scholarship, an offer he still sees as extraordinarily welcoming, especially at a time when western countries didn’t understand the quality of education in China. “I was very grateful. Canada was a very open and fair society compared to many other countries,” the story reads.


“I am a boring engineer,” he says. “I work 16 hours a day and I don’t really spend money.”

“At that time, my vision was probably a small company working on renewables, which [I thought would be] good for human beings and would allow me to feed my family. I am a programmatic engineer. I do it step by step.”

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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