San Jose, California [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The California-centric solar market will be in full effect at this year’s major solar industry conference. Solar industry leaders announced this week that Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and one of the chief architects of the California Solar Initiative (CSI), will be the opening keynote speaker at Solar Power 2006, the largest business-to-business solar conference and expo in the United States.Presented by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Solar Power 2006 will focus on new and innovative developments in the solar energy industry. “California has created a decade-long initiative that will drive the US solar industry to invest in technological innovation and scale up manufacturing,” said Rhone Resch, president of SEIA. “Solar Power 2006 will be the gathering place for industry to do business and move further towards our goal: to develop solar power as a mainstream and significant component of the energy supply in California and throughout the US.” Headlining those new developments will be the California Solar Initiative. The program, created in January by the CPUC under President Peevey, aims to install 3,000 megawatts of solar power on California homes, businesses, farms, schools and public facilities over 11 years. Peevey played an important role in helping to pass the California Solar Initiative, widely considered the most prominent piece of solar legislation in U.S. history and is expected to fuel the solar industry in California and the wider U.S. for a decade to come. “Solar Power 2006 will provide a first-hand look at California’s long-term plan for solar energy leadership,” said President Peevey. “The California Solar Initiative is a truly momentous program that will create a thriving solar industry here in our state. I look forward to discussing this plan and the importance of solar power at what I’m sure will be the most successful business-to-business event yet for solar energy in the United States.” Organizers also announced that the conference, taking place at the Convention Center in San Jose, Calif., from October 16-19th, and will be hosted by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). “PG&E is redoubling its commitment to leadership in solar energy as both a customer choice and a way to help expand renewable energy in California,” said Thomas B. King, president and CEO of PG&E. “We are excited to once again host the nation’s largest business-to-business solar conference. PG&E and its customers have the largest distributed solar energy program in the country with more than 10,000 solar units, totaling more than 70 MW.” Since 2001, PG&E has paid more than $100 million in financial incentives to customers installing solar photovoltaic systems. This year, PG&E will also double the size of its shareholder-funded Solar Schools Program, providing solar electric systems and educational material and teacher training in another 30 schools in underserved communities. Conference organizers expect more than 2,000 attendees representing the solar industry, customers, and policymakers from around the US and the world. The conference will feature concurrent sessions in three tracks, focusing on new pro-solar policies, market developments, and technology advancements. The expo will feature 125 companies including module, inverter, and component manufacturers, distributors, installers, investors, architects, and others involved in solar markets.