Solar Power International: Taking the Pulse of the Solar Industry

The solar industry has gone through one of the most eventful – and frightening – years in recent history. The last 12 months have brought financial chaos, falling demand for solar products, rising inventory and rounds of consolidation. Yet today, because of continued political support for solar, the industry is moving into 2010 with strong momentum.

That’s not to say the next 12 months will be easy. Electricity and heating fuel prices have fallen substantially, and many consumers are still holding off big purchases like solar PV or solar thermal. At the same time, the price of solar technologies like PV have fallen 35% since this time last year. That could make for a dramatic rise in solar adoption as home and business owners see prices bottoming out.

In 2008, the U.S. industry put 1,265 MW of solar PV and solar thermal capacity online, even with all the financial troubles that companies and customers faced. However, the recession has certainly had an impact on the industry in 2009. Most analysts predict the U.S. will install less capacity this year than last year.

In order to encourage the continued adoption of solar and other renewable energy technologies, the U.S government has rolled out new support mechanisms through the stimulus package. Without the creation of this program, the industry might have suffered far worse in 2009. It will also help create strong growth into 2010, which most people believe will be another record-breaking year as utilities get serious about solar PV and Concentrating Solar Power. Meanwhile, companies continue to break efficiency records and roll out new products that make solar more cost-competitive.

Amidst all of this technological excitement and market uncertainty, is going to Solar Power International in Anaheim, California next week to capture the mood of investors, manufacturers, integrators, politicians and consumers. We’ll be producing our yearly Internet Video Broadcast, which will feature interviews, keynotes and roundtable discussions on all things solar.

The SPI event is getting massive: There will be over 25,000 attendees, 900 exhibitors and 65 sessions on new technologies, policy developments and the financial markets. This is the perfect place to get the pulse of what’s happening in the solar industry.

Keep your eye on the website next week as we roll out interviews with leading analysts and professionals on the road ahead for the solar industry.

For more information on the Solar Power International conference and expo, check out the video below with Julia Hamm, executive director of SEPA and chair of the SPI event.

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