Solar Power International & Smart Energy Week
Solar Power International (SPI) and Smart Energy Week, one of the largest gatherings for renewable energy professionals, held its 15th annual conference this year in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference brings together large and small players shaping the renewable energy landscape.
This year the events backdrop was the vast rocky mountains, at the western edge of the mountain range. The Salt Palace Convention Center opened its doors to 19,000 visitors, over 700 exhibitors, and over 500 speakers across the entire spectrum of renewable energy from solar, wind, geothermal, and energy storage.
These events took place amidst growing public outcry for environmental protections around the world. Protesters both young and old took to the streets around the world and voice their discontent. But inside within the halls of the convention center, it was business as usual for the professionals working to transition our energy grids to more sustainable technologies.
Here were some of the highlights from the conference this year:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone the electric cars are coming! But this year, exhibitors at SPI looked to capitalize on these growing trends by offering EV chargers in various shapes and sizes. These technologies are still new and mostly administered by the electric car manufacturers themselves, like the Tesla charging stations for example.
But as the technology gets more advanced and the economics start to make more sense. We will certainly start seeing more and more diversified charging stations pop up around the country. Likely replacing their petrol counterparts. Several exhibitors this year looked to offer solutions for this EV transition. And they looked very exciting!
Brooklyn based solar installer, Brooklyn Solar Works, brought out their solar canopies to the show this year in Utah. These towering structures raise solar arrays several feet above the surface they are mounted on. One of the more unique design considerations in the solar energy space.
These designs offer one key solution to homeowners in crowded cities and spaces. They ensure you don’t compromise living space. These solar canopies provide empty space below the arrays and can used for living space, shading, or maybe even parking your electric car.
Home Energy Storage
Energy storage companies have held a strong presence at SPI for several years now. Bu
t energy storage and energy demand solutions at scale remains very complex challenge. This year exhibitors like LG and Sonnen showed that these solutions can be super sleek and offer really advanced features.
Sonnen brought out their smooth looking batteries for residential and commercial energy storage systems. Providing on demand electricity when the sun goes down, while offering a station to manage all your energy production. All in a form factor that fits in any interior environment.
While technology juggernaut LG is looking to offer its own solutions for the smart homes of tomorrow with batteries, energy control, and monitoring systems for the home.
And last but not least shout out to the great town of Salt Lake City. A prime destination for renewable energy. Touting both geographical and strategic advantages for solar and renewable energies at large. Many of the local firms were on full display and even brought out technology and engineering companies that did not participate in years prior.
I’ll admit, Salt Lake City caught me by surprise. It was a lovely place. Just don’t expect much action out there after 8pm.