Intersolar opened with a bang. Hundreds of visitors crowded into the InterContinental Grand Ballroom to kick-off an exciting week at Intersolar North America 2015. The opening ceremony featured a top-notch lineup of speakers, including Tesla’s co-founder and CTO JB Straubel, Fraunhofer Institute director Eicke Weber, California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) executive director Bernadette Del Chiaro and New York State Senator Kevin S. Parker. In his greeting to attendees, Prof. Weber highlighted the tremendous success of the global solar market, which has installed 177 GW to date. Prof. Weber also noted the importance of PV and battery technology in combination to grow solar in the coming years.
Tesla’s JB Straubel was the opening ceremony keynote speaker. Straubel started his remarks by saying that we are at the precipice for a massive cost decline in battery technologies. He provided a brief history of battery technology throughout the last century, and highlighted how energy density advancements have been a huge turning point in the industry, creating a viable market for electric vehicles and solar-paired-with-storage solutions. JB concluded with an enthusiastic description of Tesla’s Gigafactory. He asserted that a decrease in storage materials costs is critical to moving to 100 percent renewables.
Next up, Bernadette Del Chiaro talked about the most important policy issues facing the solar industry in California. She championed many of the supporters that have made California the leading solar market in the U.S., such as Governor Jerry Brown and this year’s Intersolar AWARD Champion of Change winner former California Assemblyperson Nancy Skinner. Del Chiaro also rallied the audience around important policy issues facing California today — extension of the ITC and RPS, reducing soft costs and maintaining supportive net metering policies. She encouraged attendees to sign CALSEIA’s “Save the ITC” petition while at the exhibition and conference. New York State Senator Kevin S. Parker exclaimed that the game has changed in New York for solar — the speed of solar growth has increased 300 percent in the past year thanks to strong, effective policies. Echoing his comments from last year, Senator Parker said we are at war with fossil fuel generators who will eventually become solar industry partners.
— Solar Builder magazine