This Friday and Saturday, the 2010 installment of one of the largest and most successful student-run conferences in New England will pose the question: How have our energy needs and systems evolved, and how will they continue to evolve in the 21st century? The Tufts Energy Conference began in 2006 as two small discussion panels--and just four years later, has some big-name backing and expects over 400 attendees.
In Anaheim this week, the country's largest business-to-business solar conference has kept more than 25,000 attendees busy with more than 900 exhibitors. One can feel a little lost trying to navigate among the different sections: solar panel and inverter manufacturers, state solar associations, solar training groups, and of course solar installers fill up nearly 204,000 square feet of exhibit hall.
These are unstable times and the recent performance of solar stocks seems to have everyone suddenly concerned about the future of the industry that mere weeks ago seemed to be on a spectacular rise. So I wish everyone with these doubts could have wandered the halls of San Diego's convention center last week: over 400 exhibitors and 23,000 visitors jammed the halls for three days. Seriously, standing room only. Considering that the attendance at SPI 2007 was just shy of 10,000, this is proof of the much-vaunted boom in the solar marketplace.