Sean Moore had worked in a Ford plant for 12 years when the auto industry crashed in 2008.

Out of the blue, the manufacturing engineer found himself among the thousands of workers in Windsor, Ont., who were suddenly wrenched from what they thought were secure, life-long jobs.

“It was devastating,” says Mr. Moore, 39.

But not for long.

“You only get to go around once,” he says. “You might as well challenge yourself.”

Three years of hard work later, Mr. Moore is president of Unconquered Sun, a company with 25 employees – expanding to 50 by July – that assembles and installs solar photovoltaic systems, which use the sun’s energy to generate electricity.

The company operates out of a former auto-parts factory.

Mr. Moore’s story and business location are both typical of a major shift in Ontario’s economy.

With car makers and other traditional manufacturing on the decline, renewable-energy companies – with strong provincial support – are taking up some of the slack. The government aims to have 50,000 people working in the sector by the end of next year.

Solar is among the most promising sources of those jobs.

The industry combines small, locally owned, businesses such as Mr. Moore’s and large, international corporations. Those aiming to develop solar power installations are attracted by premium prices paid for electricity generated from renewable sources. A regulation that, as of Jan. 1, requires solar projects to include at least 60 per cent Ontario content fuels the manufacturing boom.

source: ctv