Off-Grid and Grid-Tie Education from InterSolar North America 2014

by Sequoya Cross on August 26, 2014

San Francisco Intersolar conference 2014  was amazing! The Backwoods team strengthened their off-grid and grid-tie education at the Intersolar conference this year.

Solar Industry Exhibition and Conference - Solar Panel Efficiency - Backwoods Solar

Attendees meet up on the rooftop at the Intersolar welcome reception.

Intersolar is held each July in San Francisco, California and is the most well attended solar industry exhibition and conference in North America. Over the course of three days, more than 17,000 visitors from 74 countries visited 530 exhibitors, and saw the latest innovations in the photovoltaic, energy storage, balance of systems, mounting and tracking systems, as well as, solar heating and cooling market sectors. With events spanning four continents, Intersolar is the world’s leading exhibition series for the solar industry and its partners. A total of 530 exhibitors and more than 17,000 trade visitors participated in Intersolar North America in 2014. The conference featured 40 sessions and 25 workshops with more than 200 speakers. It unites people and companies from around the world with the aim of increasing the share of solar power in our energy supply.

David, Sequoya, Erika and Krista from the Backwoods Crew adventured to the city of San Francisco, California to attend this important annual solar energy industry event. Intersolar kicked off with a keynote presentation by California Govenor Edmund G. Brown Jr. who characterized the solar industry as the next Gold Rush, speaking to the economic benefits the industry can deliver as it matures. His speech reflected the positive mood we witnessed on the show floor and at the Intersolar North America conference, which was due, in part, to the strength of the U.S. solar industry (and the excitement of the World Cup games). This mood is reflected everywhere especially in the press. In 2014, the United States is expected to add between 5.2 and 6.3 gigawatts to its total installed capacity, according to NPD SolarBuzz.

Intersolar North America expanded its focus this year, on energy storage, project development and financing and downstream market developments. This included more conference sessions on the topic, as well as new offerings to exhibition attendees designed with Intersolars’ robust roster of partners. Sequoya Cross was on the planning committee for the conference and proudly moderated a session on Off-Grid technologies in Emerging Markets 

As Backwoods Solar is a battery based system supplier, we found the conference sessions informative and were excited to see new development and innovation in battery storage technologies. Several of which we plan on testing in the coming months. One of the most excited battery technologies are Silicon Salt water batteries. These have all of the benefits of sealed lead acid batteries in terms of maintenance, but are also non-toxic, allow for fast charge and discharge rates, can be depleted to almost 0%, and operate at almost full capacity at sub-zero temperatures. We are currently testing several brands in Canada now!

Last year, InterSolar had a successful energy storage exhibition resulting in an increase in the number of energy storage companies this year. This allowed us to see some really cool stuff. Reflecting on the important link between solar and energy storage technologies, Intersolar forged a new partnership with the National Alliance for Advanced Technology Batteries (NAATBatt) to better address key concerns of solar developers. In addition to consulting on the development of energy storage conference panels, NAATBatt also hosted a storage workshop that addressed the industry’s challenges and opportunities.

This was also the first year that Intersolar was hosted alongside ASES’s (American Solar Energy Society) annual conference. ASES has lead the charge in providing highly technical sessions that focus on all aspects of solar energy, not just PV. This melding of both conferences allowed for some high level, hands on training opportunities for the attendees.

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