Solar Power International, the premier solar conference was held in Las Vegas this year and what an event.
The previous SPI events had always been good commercially focused events but this years event for Energy Canvas just showed how much the industry has grown over the past few years. What is clear is that there is a lot of different efforts going on to support further integration of solar energy.
Take away’s from the event:
- The industry is anxious to know the future: After EU PVSEC it is interesting to see very different perspectives and mentalities around renewables and commercial approaches, for the most part it seems the American’s are building rapidly thanks to the dramatic cost reductions achieved through scaled-up manufacturing in Asia. What makes this interesting is not that Spain, Italy and Germany did it wrong it is just that their market generating demand, initially built up by political will, led to Chinese manufacturing capacity and now with this capacity in place the price reductions being experienced are very impressive game changers, not for the installed capacity of the Europeans but for the American industry in 2014. SEPA and SEIA, the two main American Solar industrial associations, both showed a keen interest on extending tax credits based on upfront investment, ITC, which is actually an incentive to build capacity rather than build highly productive projects that rely on production tax credits, PTC, which is the approach on most wind projects in the US or that rely on carbon or green credits. Energy Canvas believes the industry has to move toward an open and transparent market with limited subsidy because we need to start considering the value proposition of a world energised by renewables rather than one with subsidised capacity.
- Not all markets are created equal: There are definite hot spots around the US and mostly these are driven by political will with Renewable Portfolio Standards, RPS’, rather than cherry picked sites and gold rush mentality. This is an exciting development, but it is also potentially a difficult development because just as easy as political support can develop it can collapse, seen recently in Europe which had certain nations walk away from commitments to renewable energy production credit agreements. Energy Canvas has some vindication at this event as well as EU PVSEC in that Distributed Generation, basically local generation close to the point of energy consumption, is a very big opportunity in the US as well as the UK and Europe.
- Smart renewables and storage are imminent: Nothing quite like working with people across 3 continents and coming to the same conclusion that the age of opportunistic, sometimes referred to as dumb, generation of renewable energy is coming to a close. The question is how does it change? The business systems, the technology development and the legal support are all there for phase one of this new approach, so with version 1.0 just about here now what will version 1.1 look like, let alone 2.0?
Energy Canvas is proud to be at the leading edge of these opportunities and will be rolling out a new offering very soon. What happened in Vegas definitely didn’t stay in Vegas, this needed to be shared with the world and with you.