This past week, members of the ci design industrial and advanced facilities team headed to Anaheim, California to attend the 2015 Solar Power International Conference & Expo. Hosted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), the annual conference is regarded as the “most powerful solar event in the US.”
As a player in the photovoltaics manufacturing industry, our firm took this opportunity to keep abreast of the industry’s newest technologies and meet with key members of the solar community.
What were our top three take-aways from our experience at this year’s conference?
1) The White House is committed to solar. At this year’s conference, Vice President Joe Biden spoke to attendees about the state of clean energy in the US, reinforcing The White House’s recent $120 million pledge for solar power and other clean energy sources. This initiative will work closely with the Department of Energy, and consist of a series of efforts to develop solar power technology for distribution to businesses and homes areas across the nation.
2) Drones are taking over. The use of drone technology is now a real asset to many in the solar industry as a cost competitive alternative to existing operations, such as facility monitoring, security and inspections. As architects and planners, this technology appealed to us for use on future large-scale projects to aid our team in the collecting of aerial photography, surveying site conditions and monitoring the construction progress.
3) The solar industry is stronger than ever. This year’s general session taught us that 2015 is on track to be solar’s biggest year yet. With installations expected to reach 8 gigawatts (GW) this year, the industry will show a growth of 27% over 2014. And, with more than 600 exhibitors on this year’s expo floor and hundreds more in attendance, from manufacturers to engineers to clean energy advocates, the future certainly looks bright.
As planners and designers of PV material manufacturing facilities, at home and abroad, we are excited to see such growth in the solar industry. See you at next year's Solar Power International conference!