SPI 2021 cancelled as organisers encourage donations to help New Orleans

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SPI was due to take place in New Orleans for the first time. Image: Solar Power Events via Twitter.

Solar trade show Solar Power International (SPI) has been cancelled due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida on New Orleans, where the event was scheduled to take place later this month.

With New Orleans and Louisiana both declared federal disaster areas and parts of the state still without electricity, organiser Solar Power Events said it would no longer proceed with the event.

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, due to host SPI this year, said in an update on Friday that it had sustained water intrusion and light roof damage. As of 2 September, the centre was supporting agencies responding to the impact of the hurricane.

“Our thoughts go out to those on the Gulf Coast who are recovering in the aftermath. We are thankful for the continued and tireless efforts of the first responders on the ground,” Solar Power Events said in a statement.

“We hoped to be able to host SPI, ESI, and Smart Energy Week this year and provide you with a meeting place to collaborate on the big issues facing the clean energy industry.”

As the devastation from Hurricane Ida exacerbates New Orleans’ challenges with poverty, food security and environmental justice, Solar Power Events has encouraged donations to local organisations to help the Gulf Coast recover and rebuild.

In addition, a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a Louisiana food bank has already secured support from solar companies including Shoals, Nextracker, PVEL, Trina, Sungrow, LONGi, Suncast and Tigercomm.

The event cancellation follows last year’s SPI taking place virtually after plans to hold an outdoor version of the trade show in Las Vegas were shelved due to impacts from COVID-19.

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