Long Beach, California [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] CSI. CSP. PV. RPS. These may be meaningless acronyms to the average American but for the 10,000-plus attendees expected this week at Solar Power 2007 in Long Beach, California, they represent the biggest surge of solar into the mainstream marketplace in U.S. history.
2007 has seen the implementation of the California Solar Initiative (CSI); the installation of Google’s 1.5 MW photovoltaic (PV) system as well as solar systems atop major retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, BJs and a host of others; a resurgence in concentrating solar power (CSP) with the successful unveiling of Nevada’s 64-MW power plant in April; and the inclusion of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and solar tax credit extension in the U.S. House of Representatives’ legislation this summer.
In the month of September alone, New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities approved a transition of its solar program from an up-front rebate system to a REC-only market and California sent solar bill AB 1470 to Governor Schwarzenneger’s desk, which if signed into law would create a $250 million ten-year program to provide consumer rebates for solar water heating systems in the state.
According to Julia Judd, Executive Director of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), attendance has swelled more than 600 percent since the Solar Power conference inception in 2004—reflecting the solar power industry’s rapid acceleration and the general public’s emerging interest in renewable energy.
“The 2007 speakers and session content speak to how the market has evolved and how the growth of the industry is providing significant opportunities for companies with a wide range of services, products and interests,” said Judd, who is also Chair of Solar Power 2007.
The Solar Power Conference and Expo is considered North America’s largest yearly gathering of solar industry professionals, policymakers, electric utility representatives, investors and homebuilders. The event begins today and runs through Thursday at the Long Beach Convention Center, which is one of the first green convention centers, drawing power from a solar PV installation mounted on the roof.
Both SEPA and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which co-host the annual event, expect the conference to draw more than 10,000 people.
Solar Power 2007 will feature more than 200 exhibitors and 125 expert speakers including plenary speakers such as well known businessman, actor and environmentalist Larry Hagman (“Dallas”), and media mogul and founder of DT Solar, Ted Turner.
In addition to the keynote speeches, Solar Power 2007 will present a hard-hitting CEO Panel of solar manufacturing leaders and an expanded list of sessions tailored for the finance, investor, and homebuilder communities. Additional panels and workshops will provide forums to a wide variety of other audiences, featuring topics such as new silicon production and its impact on the industry, the East Coast investment surge and the discussion of product pricing.
“Solar energy is positioned to be the next high-tech growth industry in the United States,” said Rhone Resch, President of SEIA. “As more states implement progressive solar policy and long-term consumer demand becomes increasingly firm, the US solar industry is seeing record levels of investment, expansion, and growth.”
As in previous years, the conference will feature a free Public Night on Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., during which the general public can tour the expo floor and attend a series of educational workshops.
RenewableEnergyAccess.com will be providing special event coverage of the conference in its Solar Power blog. Be sure to check out the blog throughout the week for interviews, commentary and company developments.
If you’re not able to make the public night you can watch the keynote addresses, commentary from the show floor, and interviews with speakers and important industry players via the Solar Power 2007 webcast, sponsored by Fat Spaniel Technologies.