Solar Power International Draws Record Numbers, Reflecting Industry Momentum

mastheadDespite the the poor economy, Solar Power International, the planet’s largest solar industry conference, expects record attendance of about 25,000 this year, according to Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). That new record reflect solar power’s growing importance in this country, as the United States wakes up to the importance of renewable energy.

The conference, co-sponsored by SEIA and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), officially starts today at the Anaheim California Covention Center, running through this Thursday.

The Future Looks…Bright.

Solar accounts for 13% of all new utility announcements and filings this year, up 6% from 2008, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Resch of SEIA, said solar is now a “mainstream” power source, alongside fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

Indeed, 2009 has been in many ways a banner year for solar. A spate of development announcements, from Oregon to Inner Mongolia, highlights future growth potential. Stimulus funds and a generally pro-renewable energy stance from the current White House have also buoyed the industry through tough times. While a market glut in photovoltaic panels has pushed down prices, lower prices have also meant increased interest in roof-top solar panel installations from individuals and businesses.

Just as important, the industry has enjoyed more and better press, as the above factors, combined with interest in “green jobs,” and the expansion of “green” and “sustainable” news coverage in general has meant more news stories about solar power — as shown in data from Google News. The increased coverage has pushed solar power into the consciousness of consumers who might normally have never consider it.

Over the next three days, Triple Pundit will be reporting from Anaheim on this important renewable energy, the current state of the industry, emerging trends, and its overall future.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.