Dr. Shawn Qu is the CEO of one of the largest and most successful solar energy firms in the world, Canadian Solar. Under Qu’s leadership the award-winning company has grown into a multi-billion-dollar business, operating across six continents and running major solar factories in China, Canada, Brazil and South East Asian countries.
The self-styled “boring engineer” — who regularly works 16 hour days — was one of the first batch of students the Chinese Government permitted to leave the country to study abroad. He moved to Canada in 1987, completing a masters degree at The University of Manitoba and a PhD in Materials Sciences at the University of Toronto.
Qu founded Canadian Solar in 2001 after stints with renewable energy specialists Ontario Power Generation and French solar company Photowatt — initially working on large cell and panel contracts with household names such as Volkswagen, before changing direction and immersing the company in the solar farm industry.
The company has now delivered over 33 gigawatts of premium quality modules to over 150 countries in the past 18 years.
“My dream was to see solar panels on every household … to create a clean world for the next generation, for our children.”
Dr Qu is a respected industry leader, having spoken at the Wall Street Journal Economic Forum and the IFC Climate Change Conference. His leadership even earned the firm the Environment Finance’s prestigious ‘Project Bond of the Year’ award for its innovative ‘dual-tenor green project bond’ issuance in Japan.