The U.S.’s largest solar show, Solar Power International (SPI) got underway today (on Sept. 10) in Orlando, Fla. The show is an opportunity for solar manufacturers, equipment suppliers, power companies, commissioners, investors and other players interested in solar to get together and discuss and move forward the solar discussion. It’s also an opportunity for these players to learn more about what directions the industry is headed in and what the latest products are. Oh, yeah, and former President Bill Clinton will speaking at the event.
The show is expecting more than 21,000 attendees. While it focusses on the American markets, it’s attracting participants from over 100 countries. Roughly a quarter of the more than 1,100 exhibitors are from outside the U.S. As such it’s a great place to introduce new products and services. Which companies are doing in spades. For instance, SunPower Corp. today introduced the first 25-year combined product and power warranty. The company said the comprehensive warranty is 15 to 20 years longer than conventional solar warranties.
Another U.S. solar giant, SolarWorld Industries Americas, is introducing its new, higher density, 270-watt mono-crystalline, 60 cell solar module. The company said it boosted the power density from 250-watt-peak in less than 12 months.
Solar equipment manufacturers, like Enphase Energy Inc. are also introducing new products at SPI. While some PV manufacturers like Westinghouse and SunPower have introduced AC PV modules or more integrated systems, Enphase is likely the first microinverter company to introduce a more comprehensive commercial system designed to speed and reduce installation costs. The system includes its M215 microinverters, cabling, training, monitoring, a scanning gun and app to sync the array design for quality control, and the Limitless program which offers cash rewards for using Enphase’s systems.
It’s the second time the conference is being held outside California. Last year it was held in Dallas. Event organizers said they hope for similar results to last year’s show, which helped increase solar acceptance and adoption in Texas, said Pat Nichols, interim executive director for Solar Energy Trade Shows, LLC. Since holding the event in Dallas, both Austin and San Antonio have significantly ramped up the amount of solar they want in both of their local grids.
Among other things, SPI will have a solar tour of the PV installation on the Orlando County Convention Center, where the event is being held. The organizers will host tours for the public, and also for targeted policymakers and commissioners, according to Florida Solar Energy Industries Association Executive Director Bruce Kershner. Other new features of SPI include the first ever Solar Power Open Golf Tournament, the Innovation Zone and Solar Central. The emphasis of these new features is more networking, show organizers said.