Recommendations for the Best of Solar Power International 2009
Solar international 2009 offers manyexcellent concurrent sessions and seminars as well as plenaries openingeach day of the convention. Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s opening addressWednesday (8:00 am) is a must. Below are some recommendationsfor sorting through the many sessions on technology, workforce, finance,markets, etc.
Note: Ichoose seminars based on both the content and the speaker(s). I also believe that public policy and finance give rise to more installationsthan advances in technology. Mypicks for speakers and concurrent seminars:
TuesdayMorning – General Session (8:00)
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solisopens the convention. Former Congresswoman from California’s 32nddistrict; author of the “Green Jobs Act” is now leading the chargefor a green-collar workforce. Secretary Solis will be followedby Ed Begley Jr’s keynote address. Mr. Begley has beenpraised by the California League of Conservation Voters, the NaturalResources Defense Council, and the Coalition for Clean Air for his environmentalwork.
US Energy Policy and Politics,described as an “…up-to-date status of efforts in the Obama Administrationand Congress to stimulate and energize the US solar energy industry.”
The future of the solar industry is closelytied to Washington policy and politics. Speakers include Jim Presswood(NRDC), John Lushetsky (DOE), John Stanton (SEIA), Kate Johnson (SierraClub), Katie Cullen (SC Partners LLC), and Keith Martin (Chadbourne& Parke LLP). Keith Martin has consistently provided the industrywith insight and clarity into changing solar law and policy.
Don’t miss this presentation bypeople working at the forefront of environmental and energy issues. You won’t get this kind of insight on CNN.
2:00 – 3:00PM
Overview of Global and U.S. SolarMarkets by Paula Mintz of Navigant Consulting Inc.
Ms. Mintz may be the best solar energyand market analyst in the industry. Do not miss this seminar session.
3:30 – 5:00PM
The DOE 30% cash grant and loan guaranteeshave changed the landscape for utility-scale solar finance. Theleaders of this seminar are engaged in building, financing, and writingthe legal documents that will make vast solar power plants a reality. Tax equity finance is also covered. Think Big: Utility-scale Solar Financingis a strong contender for your 3:30 pm time slot. Speakersinclude Kevin Walsh ( GE Energy Financial Services, Inc.), Martin Klepper(Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP), Michael Whalen (SolarReserve),and Nikolas Novograd (NextLight Renewable Power, LLC).
8:00 – 8:30 AM
Green Gold Rush: A Vision for EnergyIndependence, Jobs, and National Wealthby Robert Kennedy Jr. Kennedy’s accomplishments are fartoo numerous to list here. One of TIME magazine’s “Heroesfor the Planet” for his work with Riverkeeper, in 2009 he was namedone of Rolling Stone’s “100 Agents of Change.” He is alsoan advisor to BrightSource, a solar thermal venture with several projectsplanned for Southern California Deserts.
Don’t miss this opportunity.
8:30 – 10:00AM
Plenary sessions followed by CEO Roundtablediscussions. 2009 will be remembered as the year that large scaleutility-connected solar achieved key approvals from agencies like theBureau of Land Management and the California Public Utilities Commission. “Developing the Utility Market for Solar Electricity”should be fascinating.
The panel includes representatives fromtwo utilities and three solar developers: Don Brandt, (Arizona PublicService), Reyad Fezzani, (BP Solar), John Woolard, BrightSource), KevinLaw, (Long Island Power Authority) and Carlos Domench, (SunEdison).The moderator is Michael Schmela of Photon International, a solarindustry journal.
2:00 – 3:00PM
This time slot features three essentialseminar sessions. You will only be able to attend one, or split you time between two (fortunatelythe slide presentations and perhaps videos will be available for purchaseafter the convention.)
Tax Equity Financingis the cornerstone of current funding behind power purchase agreements(PPAs), and play a key role in both commercial and utility projects. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) has affected the financemodel used in 2005- 2008. How will new deals be structured?
The panel includes developers andinvestors: Audrey Louison (Hunton & WIlliams LLP), John Eber (JPMorganCapital Corporation), Skip Grow (Lazard)
Terry Friddle (Pathfinder CapitalAdvisors LLC).
System Financing: Optimizing FinancingMethods and PV Economics will focus on optimization of the financialaspects of a solar project. Scalability has been an ongoingproblem for solar developers. This panel should have the the answers: Andy Black (OnGrid Solar) , Burkhard Von Spreckelsen (Vaillant SolarSystems Inc.), Ed Feo (Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP), andPatrick McCoy (Dept. of General Services, State of CA).
Solar’s Bright Future: The EnergyPicture in 2020 and Beyond Over the past two years, I’ve had the good fortune to hear speakersfrom SunPower address diverse issues and solar energy topics. When someone from a vertically intergrated solar juggernaut speaks,you may be well advised to listen. Speaker Thomas Starrs inthe Managing Director of SunPower’s utility division.
Feed-in Tariffs (FIT)may be the holy grail of US solar energy policy – much desired butelusive. This session is slated to address the likelihood of stateand/or federal FiTs and comparisons to current incentive programs. The panels is impressive with representatives from the solar mediaand two leading solar developers: Adel El Gammal (EPIA), John Geesman(GreenEnergyWar.com), Julie Blunden (SunPower), Rick Gilliam (SunEdison),and Stephen Lacey (RenewableEnergyWorld.com).
3:30PM – 5:00PM
FinancingCommercial-scale Solar Projects is at the heart of the solar industry. The panel will discuss financing trends tax equity, debt, and methodsto manage risk. It will be interesting to learn how solar developersare using the 30% cash grant.
Matt Cheney was at the helm as MMA RenewableVentures negotiated and financed 14.2 MW at Nellis AFB and created ajoint venture with Sun Tech. The panel also includes John Anderson(John Hancock Financial Services), Jonathan Yellen (Deutsche Bank),Lance Markowitz (Union Bank, N.A.), and Mark Dennes (BNP Paribas Fortis).
If you were thinking if beating thetraffic on Thursday afternoon, change your plans and attend this seminar.
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