Preview: Intersolar America 2012
Intersolar North America, the sibling of Intersolar Europe, is set to launch Monday July 9 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The annual event, which runs through July 12, is an opportunity for industry players to get together and examine the state of the industry and for companies to show off their latest wares, is one of the U.S.’s largest solar conferences and could draw up to 30,000 visitors this year.
This year Intersolar is expected to host nearly 950 exhibitors up roughly 150 from 2011. In addition roughly 200 people will deliver presentations or speak as part of panels at the conference. Likely hot topics will be Chinese PV manufacturers and the Commerce Department’s preliminary rulings against them. But will also include new methods for financing projects, state and federal policy and incentive changes, and oversupply in the PV industry.
For instance, California’s Public Utilities Commission recently ruled that utilities have to change how much net-metering they must add into their portfolio. They clarified a standardized methodology for utilities in the state. “I look at it as being a very interesting topic, especially when you can hear both the utility’s perspective the industry’s perspective and have an opportunity to ask questions,” said Les Nelson, a recent interim executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). The method for calculating net-metering revolves around how much net-metered customers cost other customers, he said. “There’s a lot of competing opinions about that. So i think this particular session will be very interesting from that perspective,” he said.
“I think it’s always good to have a solar event in the [area], I’m pretty sure its still the largest market for solar in the country,” said Nelson. “There are other shows that move around. But this one has camped out in San Francisco. It looks like its going to continue to be the case. Having a venue for a show like that in the state where business is being done, I think is very important,” he said.
Attendees of the conference also have access to SEMICON West, an annual semiconductor industry conference held concurrently at the center. Having SEMICON just next door adds extra benefits for the solar industry since one of their main components are semiconductors. This year also marks the first time the International Energy Agency is holding the International Conference on Solar Heating & Cooling for Buildings and Industry, which also is being held at the center.
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