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With North America’s major business-to-business event for professionals in the solar industry almost upon us, Solar Power International 2012 (SPI ‘12) has unveiled an attractive line-up of speakers and topics for the four-day event, covering critical issues concerning the solar industry’s future success.
The event, which takes place during September 10-13, 2012, at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Centre, was organized by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). It is expected to welcome delegates from over 100 countries to its exhibits and conference programme.
SPI ’12 will kick off with a “state of the solar industry” update from Hamm and Resch, followed by a panel consisting of CEOs discussing how their companies manage uncertainty due to the changing nature of policy. Companies on the panel are: DBL Investors, Florida Power & Light, Hannah Solar, NRG Solar, SMA America and SunPower Corp. On the third day of the event, ex-US president Bill Clinton will deliver a keynote address on the challenges of globalization for the industry and the balancing of dependence on a variety of energy sources.
Other key industry leaders speaking at SPI ’12 include members from:
• Gary Gerber, president and chief executive officer, Sun Light & Power;
• Eran Mahrer, Vice President, Utility Strategy, Solar Electric Power Association; and
• Tom Starrs, vice president, Americas Market Development and Policy, SunPower.
“With solar power being the fastest growing energy source, industry executives will be looking to utility leaders speaking at our concurrent sessions for guidance as they tackle such issues as transmission planning and distributed solar’s impact on the grid,” said SEPA president and CEO Julia Hamm. “For example, a session on ‘The Evolution of Net Metering, Utility Revenues and Rate Design’ will explore solutions for bridging the gap between expanding net metering policies and utilities’ needs.”
“For the solar industry’s growth momentum to continue, we need policies and strategies to reduce obstacles and expand markets,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Expert panelists in our finance, grid integration and technology tracks examine successful strategies, including creative financing approaches as well as the federal regulations and trade policies that are shaping the industry’s future.”
This year’s conference programme consists of two general sessions as well as 64 concurrent sessions, workshops and Solar Idea Swaps. The programme will cover topics within six main categories — finance, grid integration, in the field, markets, policy and technology. Speakers from the solar industry along with thought-leaders in finance, utilities, and manufacturing, will share their expertise and insights with delegates.
Bankability factors: learn about the factors investors closely examine, including component reliability, production forecasts, project design and credit worthiness. The session will also examine techniques to optimize the complex mix of bankability factors.
Creative and cutting edge financing: gain insights into successful strategies in financing solar projects and their potential to support a range of solar project types — including ITC finance, securitization, new market tax credit (NMTC), bonding (public), vendor/EPC financing and PACE.
Distributed and utility-scale solar: compare and contrast the benefits of utility-scale and distributed solar and discuss how each impacts the grid differently.
Transmission planning: learn how appropriate transmission planning is essential to accommodating the future growth of the solar energy sector.
In the field
Improving fire safety for installers and users: fire safety is a critical issue to the installer workforce and end-user/owner as well as for the reputation of solar power. This session focuses on prevention methods, code updates and fire safety lessons learned.
Long-term operations, maintenance and warranties: clarity among manufacturer, developer and installer responsibilities can be addressed through solutions for O&M and warranties. Compare and contrast warranty tools for end-users under ownership, PPA, and lessee arrangements and review the responsibilities and liabilities for ongoing O&M..
PV BOS Innovations: learn about rapid advances in new PV BOS technologies and strategies for staging and installation of rooftop and ground mount systems can increase efficiency and reduce costs. Two sessions, one on rooftop systems and the other on ground mount systems, detail how the new technology and installation practices can deliver in greater profits and more satisfied customers.
Outbound from America to Latin America: identify the challenges and explore the opportunities for new solar export markets in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Gain insights into the solar industry in these countries and learn how to pursue these emerging prospects.
Solar in the military: take advantage of the growing opportunity for solar in the military market by gaining an awareness of the US Department of Defense’s renewable energy initiatives. The discussion will examine current DoD projects, both large and small.
Expanding markets without incentives: discover what policy changes are occurring in 2012 and beyond? What’s the true effect of changing incentives to the market place? Learn about innovative solutions that are being developed to address reduced incentives without government expenditures.
How trade policy will shape the industry: explore the implications of recent trade disputes between the US and China over global trade and PV companies. The discussion will address how policy changes may benefit, restrict or change the way all participants in the solar industry do business.