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.
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!
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.
Gotta love those Tesla Model S EVs. One of the attendees jumped in it and started playing with the oversized screen in it:
The Cadillac ELR with spokesmodel Daniya. Maybe Tesla doesn’t need a spokesmodel because it’s sexy enough on its own?
Here are a few of the other companies present:
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.
Jinko Solar had one of the most impressive displays. The next several photos are of its exhibition booth.
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.
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.
Here is a tilt-angle installation system from AeroCompact followed by a single axis tracking system by NexTracker.
The windmill, for good measure:
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.
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.