David Vonesch/Vice-Chair

Chair SPARK, the Alberta Renewable Energy Co-operative

David is driving energy change in Alberta. In 2015, Calgary’s AVENUE magazine chose him as one of its TOP 40 UNDER 40, recognizing him as “a champion of renewable energy.”

David is a partner in SkyFire Energy, an industry leader that has designed and built more than 600 grid-tied, solar electric systems across eight provinces and territories.

He grew up near Olds, Alberta, on a mixed farm and in his youth worked in northern Alberta planting trees.

 

“The environment was always pretty close to what I was doing,” he says.

He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta and briefly toyed with doing a master’s in renewable energy in Europe but instead moved to Calgary.

There he found a network of green businesses, including SkyFire Energy, which he joined in 2007, when solar was still difficult to install in Alberta. Micro-generators who wanted to tie in to the grid had to register with the Petroleum Registry of Alberta and then apply to the Alberta Utilities Commission.

 

“It’s become a lot easier and cheaper over the years,” he says. Equipment costs have dropped dramatically. The manufacturing process has improved. Worldwide, there’s more manufacturing capacity. And it’s free and quick to connect to the electrical system.

He sees renewables and co-ops as obvious partners. Co-ops give Albertans ownership, and renewables invite us to play a big part in greening energy.

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