Bryan Jacob represented SACE at Solar Power International (SPI) and North America Smart Energy Week together with 19,000 different energy professionals. Following are Bryan’s reflections from this annual convening.

Bryan Jacob | September 30, 2019 | Energy Justice, Energy Policy, Solar, Utilities

11 acre exhibit corridor at Solar Power International (SPI) Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 2019.

Every yr I stay up for attending the Solar Power International (SPI) convention, the largest energy occasion in North America. This yr’s convention was held in Salt Lake City, Utah the place 19,000, attendees, 700+ exhibitors, and 500+ audio system unfold throughout the clear energy spectrum soaked in the newest energy data and coverage, and mentioned alternatives for collaboration and enchancment in the renewable energy industry.

Roadmap to energy grids with extra renewable energy

At this years  convention, we obtained a bounce begin on Solar+ Decade (“solar plus”). Technically, Solar+ refers to the interval 2020-2030, however SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association, announced the launch of a strategic roadmap for fulfilling this formidable 10-year imaginative and prescient the place the U.S. will obtain 20% of electrical energy era in 2030 from solar energy. This represents a major stretch aim as a result of the US presently generates solely 2.4% from solar – barely much less in the Southeast (1.7% from 2018 and projected to be round 2.1% for 2019).

Many of the periods at SPI addressed points of the 4 pillars from this roadmap:

  • Aggressive Collaboration (for instance, with the wind industry),
  • Market Accelerators (like energy storage),
  • Market Levers and Policy Drivers (federal climate coverage, for instance), and
  • Managing Growth (together with a particular give attention to variety and fairness).
Bryan Jacob, SACE’s Solar Program Director and lead creator of the annual “Solar in the Southeast” report!
2019 SPI poster utilizing knowledge from Solar in the Southeast 2019 Annual Report. View full poster:

Opportunities for industry development

In addition to conferences and exploring the 11 acre exhibit corridor, I additionally had the likelihood to take part in varied, informative workshops and plenary periods. Here are a number of of my take-aways:

  • The solar industry has constantly over-delivered. Twenty years in the past, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) had projected the U.S. would get to 2 gigawatts (GW) by 2020. We’re already at 95 GW. This provides me confidence about the Solar+ Decade.
  • Solar will stop greater than 360 million metric tons of greenhouse fuel emissions (about 1/3 of the energy sector over the 2020-2030 decade. This represents about 20% of the U.S. dedication to the Paris Agreement.
  • Moreover, solar will contribute $50 billion yearly to the U.S. economic system as we obtain the 20% Solar+ Decade goal.
  • Distributed solar (e.g., rooftop), in addition to utility-scale solar, might be essential to satisfy this imaginative and prescient. And correct valuation of distributed solar might be vital. A current Environment America report about “The True Value of Solar” factors out what number of worth-of-solar research miss key advantages of solar energy – particularly societal advantages like emission reductions.
  • Diverse corporations are extra environment friendly and extra worthwhile (proof here). But the solar industry stays under the U.S. common for key variety points.
    • Gender Diversity – 26% Women in solar vs. 47% for the U.S. workforce total
    • Racial Diversity – 8% African Americans in solar vs. 12% for the U.S. workforce total
  • In addition to the profile of the workforce producing solar energy, we even have work to do to make sure equitable entry to the advantages of solar for these consuming. Several periods and a podcast (4:08:00) addressed matters of entry to solar for low-average revenue (LMI) households.
  • Paula Glover, President of American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE),  spoke on a subject of great curiosity to SACE, energy burden. She emphasised that 1 in 3 U.S. households have hassle paying energy payments and 1 in 5 should determine between medication, meals, hire or utilities – these challenges correlate to race, not geography.
  • There was good turnout for a session together with South Carolina Senator Tom Davis and North Carolina Representative John Szoka. These two Republican leaders joined a vigorous panel to debate “A Tale of Two Carolinas” – evaluating and contrasting the Competitive Energy Solutions for NC act and the S.C. Energy Freedom Act.
  • Hallway conversations in addition to an impromptu session hosted by SEIA’s Katherine Gensler mentioned implications of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) overhaul just lately proposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
  • There was restricted visitors throughout the poster reception, however mine included key outcomes and observations from the newest SACE Solar in the Southeast annual report. View the PDF version of the poster here.

Mark your calendars!

Solar Power International might be held in Anaheim once more subsequent yr: September 14-17, 2020. See you there and till then, continue to follow SACE’s coverage of solar in the Southeast.

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