Published on October 22nd, 2014 | by Daryl Elliott


Solar Power International Expo 2014 — Las Vegas Opens

October 22nd, 2014 by  

Solar Power International 2014, better known as SPI, opened yesterday in Las Vegas in the spacious, downtown Convention Center. There are over 600 exhibitors and thousands of attendees. SPI is run by SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) and SEPA (Solar Electric Power Association). The event is run for the benefit of solar power in the United States.

All of the big solar companies from around the world are represented and many small companies are here, and there is even a special section for startups. There are several two-story exhibits with two floors of inner offices for meetings. The nearly mural-sized, utility-scale projects that these companies have under their belts are impressive. The overwhelming emotion that I have wandering through this show is that this it is a steam roller with a momentum that will not be stopped.

The main floor is enormous. At the back of the main floor, there is a second slightly lower room that itself is bigger than many conventions. During the heart of the exhibit day, the din is high making interviews a bit difficult. My photographer friend, JD Mumma, and I did do some interviews today that will be published subsequent to this opening article.

These first four photos are an attempt to give a sense of scale, but they only show a fraction of the exhibition floor.

SPI 2014 1 Big View 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 1 Big View 5

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 1 Big View 7

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 1 Big View 8

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

There were solar vendors of every stripe. We had straight PV manufacturers, rack and attachment makers, installers, CPV, thermal solar, solar hot water, software efficiency people, project design consultants, utility-scale solar project companies, applied systems such as carports, sun trackers, a solar lift company to get the panels onto rooftops, storage companies, technical educators, electrical companies, and so many more. There were even a couple of EVs and a windmill for good measure!

SPI 2014 GameChange Racking CarPort 5edit

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

This Start-Up Alley was small. Most firms were established, which I took as a good sign of a mature marketplace. A couple of the startups didn’t show up; made me wonder if they had technology that wasn’t completed on schedule. Maybe next time.

SPI 2014 1 Start Up Alley 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

Gotta love those Tesla Model S EVs. One of the attendees jumped in it and started playing with the oversized screen in it:

SPI 2014 EV Tesla 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

The Cadillac ELR with spokesmodel Daniya. Maybe Tesla doesn’t need a spokesmodel because it’s sexy enough on its own?

SPI 2014 EV Cadillac ELR 1crop

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

Here are a few of the other companies present:

SPI 2014 SunGrow 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 BYD 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 RBI Solar 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

Below is the SunModo group. They stayed after hours and were still cheery at the end of the day. Brandon (2nd from right) and a group provide racking and mounting systems for any situation on any surface. Nice group from Washington state.

SPI 2014 SunModo Team 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

Jinko Solar had one of the most impressive displays. The next several photos are of its exhibition booth.

SPI 2014 Jinko 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 Jinko 6

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 Jinko 2

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

Renusol has different solar systems. The one displayed here is in Cologne, Germany. The rows go east to west and provide the benefit of constant solar for longer periods of time instead of peaking at mid-day. An interview of Wayne Lee will be published subsequent to this article.

SPI 2014 Renusol 2edit

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

Mechanically lifting solar panels is important for worker safety. Houston-based GEDA Solarlift’s Charles Clutter was interviewed. Look for that in CleanTechnica’s next article on SPI.

SPI 2014 GEDA SolarLift 1 Charles Erica

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

Here is a tilt-angle installation system from AeroCompact followed by a single axis tracking system by NexTracker.

SPI 2014 AeroCompact 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 NexTracker 2

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

The windmill, for good measure:

SPI 2014 Helical Foundations 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

Here are a few more photos to close it out for today. SolarWorld had an extreme bicyclist jumping around on his bicycle on their solar panels to show durability.

SPI 2014 1 Solar World 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 3 Light PV encased

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 Bright Westech 1

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

SPI 2014 1 Big View 9

Photo Credit: JD Mumma

This is quite an exhibition… and being from Las Vegas, I’ve seen many shows. Living here makes attending SPI much easier and it comes with certain advantages. For instance, I’ve notified my local green friends that there will be many companies with steeply discounted surplus solar panels at the end of the expo that they won’t want to bring home with them. I expect that they will be stopping by on closing day with cash.

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About the Author

I have followed and supported solar, wind, geothermal since the 1970s. After discovering its strong environmental benefits, became vegan in the late 70s. Go green.

  • Brent Hatcher

    I love steamrollers.

  • Paul C

    Thanks for the update. I was hoping to find someone report on the show

    • You’re welcome, Paul. I am about to head back over there for more reporting today.

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