Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Rethinking solar solutions

Csilla Harsasi’s passion for sustainability helps shape the future


When Csilla Harsasi thinks about the future of the planet’s energy sources – whether derived from renewable resources or from fossil fuels – she sees a shared path.  

“It doesn’t have to be either ‘this’ or ‘that.’ Both industries should work together and support each other to build a better future,” says Csilla (Alternative Energy Technology ’18).

The renewable energy technologist with Great Canadian Solar is doing her part to overcome skepticism about green energy – wind power, geothermal, biofuels or solar energy – the latter being her area of speciality. The Edmonton company was founded by another NAIT alumnus, Clifton Lofthaug (Electrical Engineering Technology ’04), who has scooped up numerous grads of the polytechnic for their hands-on skills and knowledge of emerging technologies.

Csilla helped Great Canadian develop a portable solar system for remote work sites. Essentially ‘solar to go,’ she started working on the project as a NAIT student and parlayed those efforts into a career that’s already turning heads.

“Solar energy is part of the renewable revolution. There’s a lot of excitement around it, a lot of interest. I like the opportunity to build the industry, to shape it.”

A prototype array of 44 solar modules, which conveniently fold up for easy transport in a shipping container, is proving its value at Blatchford, a mixed-use infill community development near the city’s core. The array generates enough electricity to power two office trailers on site, replacing two diesel generators and saving $1,200 a month in fuel costs.

“You don’t need to know anything about solar to use one of these and you don’t need an expert to set it up. It’s pretty much an off-the-shelf product,” Csilla explains.

Shaping the future now

Arming customers with facts about it is a challenge she’s only too happy to embrace.

“Solar energy is part of the renewable revolution. There’s a lot of excitement around it, a lot of interest. I like the opportunity to build the industry, to shape it.”

Everything she’s done, including her decision to study at NAIT, stems from a passion for living and working more sustainably – and showing others what’s attainable.

“Whatever we’re consuming right now, whatever we’re doing now we can do in a more environmentally friendly way. I am very passionate about creating that future.”


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