I love conference season, particularly, solar conference season. There’s something about all the sunny looking exhibits and eager new technologies that just makes me smile. Last year, at Intersolar, companies competed after expo hall hours in a “Battle of the Bands.” Somehow folks in the solar industry seem to make conferences more upbeat and fun than anyone would expect. I’ve always felt that solar brings out the most intrepid minds and positive personalities. People in this industry are bravely facing tax increases and funding cuts, but that doesn’t slow them down.
I was able to attend PV America at the San Jose Convention Center last month and was thrilled to immerse myself in new technologies and industry debates. There was, of course, an abundance of fresh faces and new competitors. Schletter (famous for being staffed with beer-wielding women at tradeshows) was not the only booth giving out beer at this conference; it was readily available at several booths, lending a more relaxed and congenial atmosphere to the conference.
Hot debates and tweet-ups were regularly convening around the booth where Renewable Energy World (REW) held their interviews. I was able to catch up with Meg Cichon, an energetic reporter who interviewed our client, Unirac, last year at Intersolar, and watch some of REW’s “Solar On The Street” interviews. Greentech Media and their crew of young analysts were milling the show floor for the newest information to include in their reports.
As you might expect from a solar conference, there are easy to find recycling bins and reusable bags as booth give-aways. I even managed to snag a free t-shirt (thanks Canadian Solar!). Far fewer brochures are at the solar conferences than you might see in other industry these days; in an effort to reduce waste generated at these shows, you can now download many brochures through QR code readers on your smart phone. Solar professionals truly believe in what they are doing, and you see that effort filter through seemingly minute details of these events.
After a refreshing visit to PV America, it looks like the solar conferences this year are off to a great start. I can’t wait to see what Intersolar and Solar Power International will have to offer this year!