Intersolar North America, the most-attended solar industry event in North America, drew a record crowd of more than 18,000 from over 80 countries to its ninth annual exhibition and conference in San Francisco last week. Attendance was boosted by the co-located ees North America, an exhibition and conference dedicated to the energy storage market. ees added significantly to the event's exhibitor base, with 41 percent growth over the previous year.
More than 550 companies exhibited at the Moscone Center, where attendees learned about the companies and innovations driving the record growth of the solar and energy storage industries. Spirits were high throughout the exhibition floor and in the conference program, which featured more than 260 speakers during 39 sessions and 22 workshops. Attendee optimism was supported in part by reports that the U.S. solar market will install 14.5 gigawatts of new PV capacity in 2016, and by the extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) through 2021.
"The overwhelmingly positive atmosphere at Intersolar and ees North America 2016 reflected the strong sense of collaboration and community that unites these growing industries," said Dr. Florian Wessendorf, Managing Director of Solar Promotion International GmbH. Daniel Strowitzki, CEO of FMMI International, also an organizer, added, "High-impact networking and burgeoning business relationships kept the halls abuzz throughout the week—a testament to the rising tide within the solar and storage sectors, and to the role of Intersolar and ees in facilitating lasting connections."
"Our Intersolar North America exhibit was a huge success, and a great complement to Beamreach Solar's unveiling at Intersolar Europe a couple weeks ago," said Mark Kerstens, CEO of exhibiting company Beamreach Solar. "We were warmly welcomed by a tremendous crowd of commercial and industrial customers interested in our lightweight, easy-to-install solar modules. Intersolar North America was a fantastic experience and well worth the investment."
ees North America Sees Major Growth
The rapid expansion in exhibitors at ees North America 2016—41 percent growth over 2015—underscored ballooning interest and synergy in energy storage paired with solar resources.
"Intersolar is a meaningful annual event for both the solar and storage industries," said Boris von Bormann, CEO of sonnen, Inc. "For sonnen, exhibiting and speaking at the show provides an ideal platform to showcase how our smart energy management products help residential and commercial customers take greater control of their energy future. Additionally we see the true value in bringing together key thought leaders, potential partners and customers in one place for face-to-face conversations and opportunities to develop mutually beneficial partnerships."
A whitepaper authored by GTM Research and sponsored by Intersolar and CALSEIA unveiled at ees forecasts the U.S. solar-plus-storage market will become a $5 billion industry annually by 2021. The research, "Smart Solar: Integration of Storage and Energy Management," is now available for free download: https://www.ees-northamerica.com/en/news-press/download-resources/white-paper.html
In another ees first, The Solar Foundation released its new research on the employment opportunities available in the solar-plus-energy storage market. The report shows that approximately 27,000 additional solar and storage-specific jobs will come online by 2021. The report is available for free download: http://www.intersolar.us/en/news-press/download-resources/solar-foundation-study.html
Special Events Give Back to Emerging Companies and Local Industry
The always-popular special events and exhibition pavilions at Intersolar and ees North America once again drew large crowds. Among the special attractions was the Powerhouse Pavilion, a collection of 13 solar software, finance and storage start-ups sponsored by Powerhouse, a California-based incubator dedicated to solar power. The organization also hosted the Powerhouse Circle, an invite-only speed-networking event where 25 entrepreneurs and startups were given the opportunity to connect with with 25 investors and executives.
"The first-ever Powerhouse Pavilion was able to provide prime Intersolar expo real estate to 13 of the country's most ingenious early-stage solar software and fintech startups. There was a constant buzz at Powerhouse Pavilion with people coming in to meet the entrepreneurs disrupting the energy industry," said Emily Kirsch, co-founder and CEO of Powerhouse. "Additionally, Powerhouse Circle generated unprecedented deal flow for investors, and entrepreneurs had unbelievable access to the nation's top solar angels and VC's. Intersolar North America was the perfect platform to showcase these exciting innovations and got us one sunrise closer to a solar powered world."