2018 Solar Industry Conferences and Events

Looking for opportunities to network or develop professionally? This overview of national and regional solar and energy storage conferences and events is here to help.

Industry conferences and events are an excellent way to keep current with technology and market trends, share ideas and best practices, attend trainings and workshops, maintain credentials, or increase market influence and exposure. But do you want to do a deep dive on specialized topics, gain a high-level perspective on national issues or focus on your regional market? Given the ever-increasing list of events, solar professionals need to plan in advance to make the best use of their time and money.

Here, I provide an overview of 21 conferences and events, in nine different states plus the District of Columbia and Mexico, of interest to solar professionals. The focus is on business-to-business events rather than on consumer-facing events. In addition to covering large national conferences with multiple technical tracks, I include specialty events that focus on topics such as finance, asset management, product reliability, continuing education, grid evolution and production modeling. I present the following profiles alphabetically, broadly categorized as either national or regional events. The companion table provides a chronological overview of the events.

National Events

DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition

Where: San Antonio, TX When: January 23–25

DistribuTECH is an annual electric power transmission and distribution event that covers technologies used to move electricity from the power plant all the way to the point of consumption. According to event organizer PennWell, DistribuTECH draws roughly 13,500 individuals, including professionals representing renewable energy industries and more than 325 utilities. The conference presents 15 technical tracks, covering topics such as distributed renewable generation, energy storage and microgrids, distribution automation, advanced metering and smart cities. The exhibitor list for the expo includes more than 500 companies with products and services related to electricity generation, plant automation and control, demand response, transmission and distribution system operation and reliability, cybersecurity, and renewables integration. Collocated events include a symposium hosted by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative and a SunShot-sponsored poster session featuring students from the Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) network. — distributech.com

Energy Storage North America

Where: Pasadena, CA When: November 6–8

Energy Storage North America (ESNA) is an annual conference and expo dedicated to grid-connected energy storage. According to event organizers Strategen Consulting and Messe Düsseldorf North America, the event draws more than 2,000 developers, end users, utility representatives and policy makers. The first day of the event includes site tours, workshops and the opening reception. More than 100 exhibitors will showcase storage technologies, systems and services in the expo hall over the next two days. Attendees can also check out keynote addresses, breakout sessions, an awards ceremony and reception, and a closing reception. Breakout sessions in previous years have covered energy storage case studies and lessons learned, market challenges and opportunities, grid transformation, and insights from pioneering utilities and independent power producers. The half-day preconference workshops cover topics such as best practices in procurement, introduction to technologies and economics, and energy storage modeling. — esnaexpo.com

Grid Edge Innovation Summit

Where: San Francisco, CA When: June 20–21

The Grid Edge Innovation Summit explores issues, opportunities and trends related to tomorrow’s distributed energy system. Its organizer, Greentech Media (GTM), uses the term grid edge to describe the many software, hardware and business innovations that enable the deployment of smart, interconnected infrastructure at or near the end-use customer. The conference agenda in previous years has included topics such as innovation in grid infrastructure, the evolving role of the electric utility, buildings as energy assets and financing grid-edge deployments. According to GTM, the conference draws over 1,000 attendees from hundreds of companies, including 3M, Apple, BMW, Duke Energy, Google, National Grid, Nest, NRG Energy, Oncor, PG&E, Siemens, Tesla, the US Department of Energy and Whole Foods. In previous years, GTM has broken the event into two separate tracks, one with a consumer focus and another with a corporate focus, with more than 100 speakers participating in the event. Highlights from the exhibit hall include the Grid Edge Awards ceremony. — greentechmedia.com/events

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