As the United States’ solar market looks to maintain its record-breaking growth, around 18,000 verified visitors from more than 80 countries filled the exhibition halls of the Moscone Center West and InterContinental Hotel for conference tracks during the eighth annual Intersolar North America, the most-attended solar industry event dedicated to the North American market. The first major solar industry event of the year grew visitor numbers, speaking to the strength of the U.S. market, which is on pace to add up to 8.5 GW of solar in 2015.
“Intersolar returns to California each year because it is the heart of the U.S. market, and as the year’s first major solar event to view solar innovations that will drive the industry forward,” said Markus Elsaesser, CEO of Solar Promotion GmbH, an Intersolar North America organizer. “As the industry continues to grow and mature, it is important for professionals across the solar value chain to actually see and experience industry developments.”
On the exhibition floor, visitors viewed the latest products from 521 exhibitors, including packed ees™ North America, a special exhibition that showcases the latest technologies in the energy storage value chain. The growth of the solar-paired-with-storage industry was confirmed by an 88 percent increase in exhibition space dedicated to storage companies, plus the more than 30 well-attended presentations hosted on the ees Stage.
“Intersolar is known as the leading venue that brings the latest in technological trends and insights to solar professionals. The show’s increased focus on energy storage reflects this commitment,” said Daniel Strowitzki, CEO of FMMI International, another organizer of Intersolar North America. “This year’s show floor and conference connected energy storage and solar exhibitors with decision makers in the U.S. and global solar market to grow the solar industry’s strong future here in North America.”
In continuing to support the U.S. market with valuable content, Intersolar and the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) debuted a new white paper at this year’s event titled “U.S. Solar-Plus-Storage Market: Drivers, Economics and Outlook.” The comprehensive research, indicating a combined market value of $3.1 billion by 2020, was provided by GTM Research and is now available free at Intersolar’s website.
Balance of systems, which has tremendous potential for reducing the overall cost of solar, also saw an increase in terms of exhibition space, and grew 12 percent this year. Additionally, the new California Pavilion—sponsored by CALSEIA—saw robust visitor traffic throughout the show, and interest from high-growth companies.
The 2015 conference also hosted several sessions featuring solar and energy storage startups. The most popular startup focused event was the Growth Company Circle, dubbed “speed dating for solar.” This new, innovative special event, sponsored by SunPower, was produced in partnership with SfunCube, the world’s only incubator and accelerator dedicated to solar. The Circle provided 30 entrepreneurs with an opportunity to connect with 30 investors and potential customers.
Additionally, panels on financing and the North American market were very popular and well attended. With uncertainty over the future of solar-friendly legislation, attendees were eager to learn about what to expect in the coming year. CALSEIA and Intersolar offered an entire session dedicated to the federal investment tax credit (ITC), which is due to expire at the end of 2016. In addition to providing updates on efforts within the industry and its advocates to extend the ITC, volunteers also collected signatures for CALSEIA’s “Save the ITC” petition. Information on Intersolar and CALSEIA’s campaign can be found online.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.