Exhibitor numbers at Intersolar North America drop 24%

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Intersolar North America finished in San Francisco on 11 July, having attracted over 17,000 attendees, but a fall in exhibitors to 576 represented a fall of 24% compared to last year.

Visitor attendance figures saw a modest drop of around 1,000 compared to 2012 data, while the number of companies exhibiting in 2012 was 757, a further drop since 2011, when 839 exhibitors attended the show.

The number of companies exhibiting, represents a total fall since 2011 of about 31%. This is not in itself considered to be cause for alarm since many of the changes that have taken place in the industry over the last couple of years in the US have for the most part seen the market consolidate, rather than shrink.

Less successful firms have exited the industry while larger firms have grown, with some merging and taking a larger individual market share – overall the US solar market grew 76% in 2012. Consolidation of manufacturing space, for example, is expected to improve economies of scale for many PV firms.

The presence of balance of system components grew from the previous staging of the show by 25% while a newly launched section on energy storage attracted over 40 companies. E-mobility technologies were also showcased in their own special section for the first time. 

More than 50 panel discussions with over 200 experts took place at the show – in our Editor’s Blog Felicity Carus reported in-depth from the show last week, talking with many of the key industry players who were present. As expected much of the discussion focused on the trade dispute with China.

The keynote address, given by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., urged attendees to continue the collaboration necessary to grow the US solar industry.

The event also included the handing out of accolades in the Intersolar North America AWARD programme in the two categories of PV Production Technologies and Solar Projects in North America.

Winners in the Solar Projects in North America category included: solar thermal company Free Hot Water, who equipped a 50-unit student apartment complex with a centralized solar thermal and PV installation powered heating and cooling system; non-profit research organization MRI Global, who won an award for their management of Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC) in Aurora, Colorado; and PV module-maker and service and solution provider Trina Solar won an AWARD for their Park Villas multi-family affordable solar housing project capable of generating 775MWh each year for 144 housing units.

Winners in the PV Production AWARD category were pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck/EMD Chemicals for developing the Merck Selective Emitter (MSE), which improves efficiency on mono- and multi-crystalline Si wafers as well as LED and laser metrology company LayTec in-line, who won for their LayTec X Link Measurement System, enabling fast and accurate evaluation of post-lamination EVA cross-linking.

Intersolar North America was established in 2008. The show is held each year at the Moscone Center, San Francisco and together with Intersolar China, Intersolar India and Intersolar South America, the Intersolar shows attract over 100,000 visitors worldwide per year.

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