Today’s blog is about Solar Power International 2015 (SPI), which took place in Anaheim, California on September 14th-17th, 2015. SPI is North America’s largest solar tradeshow and conference with hundreds of educational sessions and exhibitors. This was Goldin Solar’s second year in attendance, and we found it to be a hugely valuable experience. http://www.solarpowerinternational.com/
Education is a critical component in the solar industry for many reasons. Frist, the solar industry is relatively young and its rate of growth is rapid. Meaning, to keep up with the ever expanding solar industry more people are constantly joining the solar work force. SPI is an excellent opportunity for people new to the industry to get a comprehensive snapshot of where the industry currently is. Additionally, there is constant introduction of new technology, products, policy, and other dynamics occurring within the solar industry. And for that reason, even seasoned veterans in the solar industry have a great deal to gain by attending this event to stay current on everything that is happening.
SPI 2015 kicked off with an event new to this conference: a 5K run around the Anaheim convention center. The 5K was fun and a great icebreaker to talk to other industry professionals. Of course, the added element of heavy rain throughout the entire 5K was a factor that brought out only the most dedicated of runners.
It’s always fun to mingle with other solar professionals from around the country and the world and learn other perspectives on materials, policy, and the industry at large. Some of the major highlights of this year’s SPI include a heavy emphasis and on energy storage. We got a take a sneak-peak at some of the upcoming battery solutions by the major players. These products are not currently available, but they are certainly gaining hype. Enphase (known for their micro inverters will have their own battery based solution) seen in the picture here:
SolarEdge (www.solaredge.us), which is Goldin Solar’s preferred inverter solution has made the Tesla Powerwall their choice for energy storage. This works out well for us, since it’s the Tesla Powerwall that all of our customers are asking us about. So when will it be available? Your guess is as good as ours. But if you’re really eager you can reserve it here: Tesla Powerwall. All that being said, one very important thing to note is that SolarEdge systems are made to inherently be compliant with the Tesla Powerwall, so what is being done by many of our customers is getting SolarEdge systems installed with the idea of adding the Tesla Powerwall when its available as an upgrade.
SolarEdge also introduced two exiting game changing products. The first is an inverter up to 7.5 kW that weighs 25 lbs. The second product is an inverter with a capacity up to 33 kW (which is about double the capacity of the largest inverter prior).
Other neato products in the way of energy storage include this system by Sonnen-Batterie, which contains an Outback inverter and Sony lithium-ion batteries. It’s cool because it has a strip of lights on the enclosure which indicate the charge level of the battery system. Is it worth the premium? We plead the fifth. Sonnen-Batterie
Highlights in the way of solar panel manufacturers include our two favorites: SolarWorld and Lumos. SolarWorld impressed us with an exhibit of 40 years of evolving solar panels. Additionally, they were showcasing a new product which was a hybrid solar electric (PV) panel and a solar hot water heater. While we’ve seen these types of products in the past, SolarWorld does it simply and elegantly, and we’re looking forward to installing this product for our customers in the future.
Lumos solar is a favorite of ours in the way of architectural panels. It’s frameless and stunning, and makes a perfect solution for overhead applications such awnings, walkways and carports – stay tuned for Goldin Solar’s upcoming Lumos installation.
Other interesting vendors include a slew of racking solutions with the railfree solution growing in popularity, and other items for a lack of a better term, we’ll call miscellaneous: solar panel hoists to easily bring panels onto the roof, solar panel washers (which aren’t really necessary in Florida).
One of our favorite education sessions was a presentation by the parties involved in the 2.4 MW solar installation on the roof of the Anaheim convention center (convention center operators, Anaheim power utility, racking manufacturer and EPC contractor), which included a tour of the rooftop array.
The key note speaker, Joe Biden gave an inspiring talk to a captive audience of solar professionals.
To conclude, it was an exciting event, and we can’t wait until SPI 2016, which is set to take place in Las Vegas!