Trina Solar Australia assistant director and highly respected pillar of the Australian solar industry, Govind Kant, has died after contracting the coronavirus in India.
Trina Solar Asia Pacific said on Monday evening that Kant, who was based in Sydney, had returned to India for personal reasons, where he had contracted the virus and died in a Delhi hospital on May 16. He was 47 years of age.
“Words may not suffice to express the heartfelt sorrow that the team at Trina Solar feels for the passing of our exceptional colleague and friend,” the statement said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Govind and his family, including his wife and two daughters.”
The news has been met with a steady stream of tributes from all corners of the Australian clean energy industry, describing Kant as a “champion” of solar, a consummate professional and a “wonderful human.”
A GoFundMe page has also been established, seeking to raise $200,000 to support his wife and two daughters. As of Thursday morning, more than $70,000 had been contributed.
“Govind Kant was the first mentor I ever had, after we met 15 years ago while I was finding my way in renewable energy,” wrote RACV Solar CEO Andy McCarthy on LinkedIn.
“No matter how many times I hassled him for advice, or how silly my question was, he was always happy to provide guidance and support.
“Govind was the epitome of … professional, intelligent, warm, and just an absolute gentleman to do business with,” McCarthy said.
“No one can deny the positive impact you have made to this industry and the instrumental strength you were for Trina Solar. A bar now set well high for all your manufacturing peers,” said John Chen, manager at Maurubeni Corporation, on Facebook.
“Govind, thanks for everything you did for the Australian Solar Industry – it is all the better for having a champion like you so dedicated and supportive,” said Todae Solar CEO Danin Kahn.
“He was truly committed to making a change in the world and always had time for people, he always demonstrated respect and was always supportive. He will be greatly missed,” wrote James Sturch, technical director at SolarEdge Technologies.
“Govind was a true champion of our industry, always had time for everyone, always humble and forever supportive for all around him. Much loved and respected,” said Mark Twidell, director of energy at Tesla Australia.
“This is a terrible loss!” Wrote Smart Energy Council president Steve Blume. “Govind Kant has been a stalwart of the solar industry.”
India has become one of the countries hardest hit by the global Covid-19 pandemic in recent months, with more than 24 million confirmed cases and 270,000 deaths.
Australia’s federal government came under enormous criticism for blocking the return from India of Australian citizens during the height of infections there, and its threat to fine and even jail those who attempted to get home.
Australia’s Smart Energy Council said in a statement on its Facebook page that Kant’s death was “a reminder of the devastation being wrought across India and across the world by Covid-19.
“Govind was a humble man, who made a significant contribution to the solar industry in Australia. He will be sorely missed by so many,” the statement said.
“Our hearts go out to his wife and two daughters and to his extended family, to his colleagues at Trina Solar and to his many, many friends throughout the industry.”