Vituoso’s Fast Growth Proof that there’s Great Renewable Energy Jobs in Alberta’s Future

By: Kai Fahrion (c) 2021

Our world is shifting to clean energy. While this shift has become a driving force in our everyday lives, it has not always been that way. Co-founding Virtuoso Energy in Alberta in 2015 with Gursh Bal has had its many challenges. At that time, Alberta was only known as an oil and gas province with little interest in diversifying its energy portfolio. Virtuoso Energy looked to change this stigma by bringing sustainable energy solutions to Canadians, starting with Alberta. Our big, hairy, ambitious goal is to provide solar solutions to 1 million homes by 2040. The first step to achieving our goal has been focused around education and industry awareness. We strive to communicate how solar solutions can significantly contribute to meeting our world’s emission targets at an affordable price point without sacrificing reliability and ease of energy access. This has been the backbone to growing our business and continuing to provide affordable solar solutions for the masses, rather than a select few individuals.

Kai Fahrion (middle) helping clean up his local community

With the renewable industry growing at a rapid pace, a major aspect we take into account is influencing industry and government leaders in our country. There needs to be a push for policy changes that allow for industry growth while also reducing barriers that make accessibility for solar energy difficult and expensive. Our team works with governments on regulations surrounding the approval and permitting for solar projects while providing industry expertise on the solar energy’s benefits for the country as a whole. The drivers of these changes are heavily influenced by job creation, GDP growth, and environmental impact reduction. A diversified economy will allow a more balanced and steady growth while hitting our emission targets for 2030. While policymakers play a large role in the energy transition and hitting emission reduction targets by 2030, the private industry has just as big of a role in pushing governments to speed up the process. Influencing change within Canada’s government is something all industry leaders need to focus on for Canada to become a world leader in the fight against climate change.

Today, I have the privilege of being the Co-CEO at Virtuoso Energy and bringing the vision of our company to life. As our company continues to grow and expand throughout Canada (and later into the United States), the biggest challenges we face are also the biggest drivers that allow us to grow. Some of these challenges include changes in government incentives, the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid growth within the company, and learning new skills throughout the process. Changes in government within our local province of Alberta have had its ups and downs on our industry. We’ve had political parties that have positively stimulated growth by bringing incentives to increase the adoptability and affordability of solar energy. We’ve also had these incentives taken away due to these changes in political power which created turmoil within the industry. 

Thankfully, solar is more affordable due to improving technology. More Canadians see the value of solar energy regardless of having government incentives or not. As a result, our company was able to weather the storm of these fluctuating government changes. COVID-19 has also had its impact on the company in good and bad ways. Instead of focusing on the negatives, our company saw the pandemic as an opportunity to pivot and strongly position ourselves within the industry. We adjusted our operational practices, utilizing technology to sell our services fully remotely. As everyone began working from home, our consumers became more aware of their energy profile and their household’s environmental impact. Extra money accumulated from being in lockdown has caused consumers to spend money on home energy efficiency improvement projects such as solar. This mindset shift contributed to our massive growth and has positioned us to becoming a leader in our industry. Virtuoso Energy has grown from 12 employees to now 50 people in a short timeframe of 12 months. As we continue to grow, we look to dial in our road map to hit our ambitious goals by making sure our solar solutions continue to be at the forefront of the affordable clean energy push. 

The future of solar energy solutions is bright. We all have our part to play in making sure our voices are heard during these critical times where every person is needed to push the needle. This can be achieved by doing small things in our day-to-day life like pushing our political leaders and major industries to embrace change and making them accountable for their carbon footprints. Consumer pressure will be the largest driver of change which will make solar solutions even more affordable through innovation and global demand. Virtuoso Energy as an organization will do our part by striving to be leaders in affordable access to clean energy and providing the solar solutions needed to hit emission reduction targets. Together, we can preserve our home planet while leading the charge for future generations.