California, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Solar Power International 2009, North America’s largest business-to-business solar energy event broke attendance records for the sixth year in a row last week. This year’s vent drew more than 24,000 industry professionals, an increase from 17,500 in the previous year. Attendees came from 99 different countries and and represented all segments of the solar and related industries, including electric utilities, construction and investment banking.
The exhibit floor more than doubled in size from the previous year, featuring 929 companies from every part of the solar value chain. The annual Public Night event, open free to the general public, attracted an additional 2,700 people from the Southern California region.
“The 2009 event was our most diverse yet, with 27 percent attending from outside the U.S. As the U.S. solar market matures, it is our top priority to remain vital and accessible to industry veterans and newcomers alike. We are excited to continue our partnership with SEIA through the Solar Energy Trade Show LLC, producing not just Solar Power International but a series of business-to-business events for our growing customer base,” said Julia Hamm, executive director of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).
Growing attendance prompted the co-presenters of the conference, SEPA and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), to create a new entity, Solar Energy Trade Show LLC, which will produce future events such as Solar Power International 2010 (Oct. 12-14, 2010, in Los Angeles) and PV America 2010 (April 8-10, 2010, in Washington, D.C.).
“The size and scope of Solar Power International reflects solar energy’s potential as an engine of economic growth,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Now, as attendees head back to their offices and project sites, they need to focus the energy they felt at SPI onto their local and federal leaders, and demand policies which allow solar to compete fairly, let consumers to choose, and expand the U.S. solar market. We’re headed back to Washington ready to lead the fight to foster a policy environment that will create more jobs and more opportunities for consumers to go solar. We need everyone in the solar industry to come together and put our message into practice.”
RenewableEnergyWorld.com caught up with Industry leaders who predict growth in 2010 for a number of reasons including demand in emerging markets, the cost of solar electric power generation falling, the increased presence of the utility sector in the solar space, and the continuing technological innovations the industry is seeing.