The fierce competition within the solar and energy storage industries drove conversations among the executives, policymakers and project financers in attendance at the sixth annual Intersolar and ees Summit USA East. The event attracted leaders in clean energy, including New York State Sen. Kevin S. Parker; Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York, Office of the Governor of New York; and David Sandbank, director of NY-Sun at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
These three pioneers of the New York energy community discussed what is next for solar and energy storage in the United States during the Summit’s plenary session. Intersolar Managing Director Dr. Florian Wessendorf opened the Summit by addressing solar and storage’s growth, despite market hurdles caused by shifts in federal policy. Richard Kauffman then began the rousing session by expressing his appreciation for Sen. Kevin S. Parker and his efforts to bring the Intersolar brand to New York. “I think that I have big ideas, but this was really a big idea. He deserves all the credit for drawing the bright light on solar to New York state,” said the state’s “energy czar” and 2017 Intersolar Champion of Change AWARD winner.
Kauffman proceeded to present a figure that was echoed in many presentations throughout the conference, stating that solar has grown over 1000 percent in New York over the past six years. Kauffman asserted that the proliferation of storage would be crucial in meeting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s aggressive goal of reaching 50 percent renewables by 2030 – expressing that “all of these actions are not individual things, they are designed to work together to build the grid of the future, not just to rebuild the grid of the past.”
During his presentation Sen. Parker reflected on the symbiotic relationship between New York’s environmental and social advocacy efforts. “The green collar economy is crucial not only because it helps to protect our environment, but just as important is its potential to produce living wage jobs with benefits in communities of color across New York State.” He went on to express his appreciation for Intersolar’s role in growing New York’s clean energy market, “I am proud to partner with Intersolar and facilitate a meaningful conversation about real solutions and effective ways to ensure we are bringing about a solar energy future”, said the Brooklyn lawmaker.
Following these statements, David Sandbank discussed the continued growth of the solar industry despite federal headwinds. His presentation focused on technology advancements beyond net metering that will require planning, partnership and price signals to support the state’s clean energy vision. “New York’s commitment and investment in renewable sources and clean energy technologies will help achieve the State’s ambitious renewables goal,” Sandbank said.
The afternoon’s conference program was split into two tracks to discuss specific topics within the solar and energy storage industries separately. Each track offered three sessions, featuring industry executives, technology providers, utilities, market analysts, venture capitalists, and financers, and discussed the current state of the market. This year’s solar track covered traditional solar topics and beyond. In one panel, industry experts demystified the business case for blockchain as it pertains energy applications and identified opportunities to optimizing self-consumption using feed-in management technology.
During the energy storage track Brett Simon, storage analyst at GTM Research, discussed the relative insulation of the energy storage market from Section 201 tariffs, and predicted growth reaching $3.8 billion in annual value in 2023 after a year of notable M&A activity. Simon discussed the domination of lithium-ion technology, noting that scale ups in manufacturing, technological innovations, advancements in consumer electronics and EV advancements have driven down costs dramatically. These improved economics have allowed energy storage to compete with utility-scale natural gas peak plants, allowing utilities to explore cleaner long-term resourcing planning activities heading into 2018.
Intersolar and ees Summit USA East organizers would like to thank of the all speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, media partners and attendees who participated in this year’s event.
For further information on this year’s event: www.intersolar-summit.com/USA