Within the exhibitor universe, there was a 41 percent increase in energy storage-related companies in the EES North America portion of the show, or about 20 percent of the exhibitor universe. Last year, there were 521 exhibitors.
Overall, the show attracted some 18,000 attendees from over 80 countries, a flat count compared with last year, filling the three stories of exhibition hall space at the Moscone Center. Highly visual attractions like SmartFlower’s launch of its 20-foot-high petal-shaped tracker, and a flying maintenance drone equipped with infrared and thermal sensors helped draw the crowd.
One notable high point in the show was the standing-room-only keynote address by Ali Zaidi, the White House Office of Management and Budget’s associate director for natural resources, energy and science. Zaidi urged policy makers to take the long view when setting solar and renewables positions.
Energy storage continued to be the fastest-growing segment of the show, buoyed by the renewal of the federal ITC credits. More component manufacturers from more countries were present, and features like display electric vehicles helped promote the trend. EES, which covers the value chain from batteries to final solutions, co-hosted the show. EES also holds shows in Munich and Mumbai, while InterSolar covers most regions on the planet.
Within the growing session program, some 39 panel presentations were made by 260 speakers, and 22 workshops offered continued learning credits for solar installation professionals. Speaker numbers were up 60 from last year.
Among collaborating organizations involved in the workshops were the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), the North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals (NABCEP) and the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries (NAATBatt). Within the workshop lineup, CALSEIA again hosted its day-long Contractor Day for solar installers and marketers.
In addition to the practical presentations, CALSEIA executive director Bernadette Del Chiaro explained the latest developments in state rate structuring and net metering, including the trend-setting California situation. Her organization takes a lead U.S. lobby role on both state and national levels to foster solar industry growth.