The second-largest solar trade show in North America is undergoing major changes. After eleven years of taking place in San Francisco’s South of Market district every July (with this writer attending the last nine of those), Intersolar North America has both a new location and a new owner. The same is true for the co-located EES and Power2Drive shows.
This is was not entirely unforeseen. While Intersolar North America still boasted 14,000 visitors and 432 exhibitors in 2018, it was obvious that attendance had been declining for the past few years, and the move follows organizer Solar Promotion International cancelling the Intersolar USA East show.
While there is likely not one reason, it is possible that the growth of Solar Power International and the location both played roles. While the San Francisco Bay Area has perhaps the greatest concentration of solar businesses and intellectual capital in the Western Hemisphere, the city itself is an expensive destination, with a low quality of affordable hotels as well as epidemic and highly visible levels of homelessness. Neither of these is likely to be attractive to solar professionals from other, more functional and affordable U.S. cities.
And it is perhaps not an accident that next year new owner Diversified Communications, which runs a number of other shows in various industries, will be moving Intersolar USA and the EES North America events to the San Diego Convention Center. Additionally these shows will now take place in February, when the weather is lovely in San Diego, and this will be especially welcome for visitors from the East Coast and Northern Europe.
As for Solar Promotion, it plans to do what it has done best, which is to focus on shows where new markets are developing. The company has not only founded a number of global solar shows in emerging markets, but launched the EES show years before energy storage was being deployed in any significant volume. “We have decided to focus resources on our new The smarter E concept and to grow our presence in the promising markets in Central and South America,” revealed Dr. Florian Wessendorf, the managing director of Solar Promotion International.