SEIA and SEPA‘s event was a tremendous success if measured by attendance. The Expo was full, the displays were exciting and the crowd was expected to be around 15,000. Not too shabby!
The weather was a tribute to the event – San Diego’s sun was blaring down on us between events. Business was coming together everywhere I looked, from big companies taking their conversations to private rooms in adjacent hotels to side bar conversations in the conference rooms and terraces. The big guys were all there, and some new comers were pitching their wares, and of course there was the occasional entrepreneur scribbling an elevator pitch on loose pages to potential investors.
The conference topics and expo presenters ranged from policy discussions to financial concerns to technology, though to be fair – the unveiling of new market entrants and technology was pretty limited. The well attended events revolved around regulation and market expansion concerns, and quite a bit of attention was paid to the international crowd as German and Spanish companies eyed the US market in response to the tightening of the European Feed in Tariffs.
The European presence was promising – I caught up with the CTO of Germany’s largest integrator and installe. They felt the trip was a success as they were able to evaluate the market and seek potential future partners. They made it clear that despite having a tremendously complicated and fragmented regulatory system, epansion into the US was in their plans as it is sure to be towards the top market for solar PV in the world. The question was only how quickly it would take scale if companies can’t come up with a centralized pricing and marketing plan that addresses all the mini-markets with in the country.
I also had the chance to catch up with a couple venture capital investors that had made the trip hoping to talk to a few more founders and CTOs of new companies with strong promise. While they didn’t seem blown away, for early stage presenters the event was a great way to cross polinate. Julian Sweet, a friend and acting CEO of Accurate Solar unveiled their product and was able to reach out to installers and module makers to pitch their newmicro-inverter company with fancy monitoring software – they got a marvelous reception from potential users and clients.
Last, but certainly not leat… the parties. They were a blast – thanks goes out to the hosts and to the organizers. It was a tremendously well orchestrated event; connections were made, deals were signed and value was created. So, the next question becomes… where do you do it next year to make it at least this good? Phoenix? Vegas? Miami?
Logo for Solar Power International comes from their site: http://www.solarpowerconference.com/