This turned into a longer post, so I’ve cut it in two. The second part will come out tomorrow.
The organizers did an excellent job of putting together the conference, and the quality of the speakers was outstanding. In particular, Travis Bradford of the Prometheus Institute, Hal LaFlash from PG&E and Dr. Fred Morse from Abengoa were excellent. Some interesting take aways from the conference:
- Grid parity – It’s coming sooner than people thought, with realistic dates ranging from 2011 to 2015. This is because:
- The price of electricity is rising faster than expected, with the price of electricity predicted to double in the next five years.
- And the price of solar power installations is falling faster and faster.
- Renewable Investment Tax Credit (ITC) – The ITC is really important, and it would be a major failure of leadership in the US Congress to see it die. See my previous post on the importance of the ITC. The consequences of a failure to renew this tax credit will mean hundreds of thousands of lost jobs in the US, electricity costing more in the long run, higher CO2 emissions and basically, solar in Europe and Asia pulling further ahead of a lagging US industry. It will mean the difference between a booming industry and a flat one.
- Tracking – Utilities love tracking PV applications. Tracking means more total power output for a system, but more importantly, it means more power output during the later afternoon and evening when peak demand hits. See slide:
Also, here are a couple of really good blog posts about the conference from Edgar A. Gunther, another blogger that was there. The first features a couple of slide shows of exhibitors, and the second features extensive coverage of the Dow Corning and REC Silicon presentations including some slides and video.
More to come tomorrow.
Edit: References to the failure of the ITC were premature.