Can anyone really get lost anymore, especially if that person owns an iPhone with GPS capability?
Yes. Yes, they can. Sadly, I’m living proof.
I’m in San Francisco attending Intersolar North America 2012, a three-story show filled with passionate advocates for the solar market. I spent nearly seven hours yesterday meeting with many of them, hearing their stories and working on what issues in the solar market are the most important issues facing the industry today.
And then……well, then I went to dinner with my friend Marc Thomas from Dyesol at Mel’s Drive-In (I recommend the Goat Cheese and Turkey Slider, with a side of onion rings and a Oreo milkshake to top it off — pure heaven). After Marc and I parted ways, I headed back to my hotel, only I got turned around. I ended up turning a 34-minute walk into an hour-long trek back, during which my phone died, thus rendering the GPS feature on my phone useless).
Still and all, my unerring sense of direction did not, I’m glad to say, let me down. It took me twice as long as it should have, but I did end up in my hotel room safe and sound. I know all of you were worried about my well-being, but thankfully you’ll see me on the show floor again tomorrow.
(As an aside, what’s with the hearty residents of San Francisco? It’s 50 degrees out here — a bit colder than Cleveland, which registered a balmy 85 degrees today — but as I wandered the streets in search of my hotel, I saw people bundled up like Nanook of the North. Come on, people — in Cleveland, 50 degrees would be considered shorts weather.)
Now, on to what I’m observing, hearing and experiencing inside the famous Moscone Center, the heart of the solar market, at least for the next three days:
- I’m surprised and delighted to see so many old friends gracing the hallowed halls and entering the solar industry. Some, like DuPont, have been in the industry for decades behind the scenes and will be making their presence known in much larger ways going forward. Others, like BASF, are starting to make serious pushes into the U.S. solar industry. In previous lives, I worked with these companies’ specialty chemical divisions. I found them to be exceptionally professional and committed to excellence. I have no doubt they will continue that tradition here and raise everyone’s standards. Look out for them — they’re companies on the rise.
- This show has been particular good for us so far. We’re in the process of landing at least one — and probably two — new columnists who will add immense value to our magazine and website. The ink isn’t dry on the agreements yet, so I can’t tell you who they are. But they are strong voices in the solar industry, and I think you’ll be as excited to read them as I am to be bringing them to you. Stay tuned.
- In talking with Bill Elwell, vice president of product sales for SPG Solar, I discovered the fascinating story of an installation company that has branched out and created products to help other installers develop successful businesses. It’s a great story, and one all of you would do well to hear. Oh, and they also unveiled their new single-axis tracker. They’re a company on the move.
- Peter Lindstrom told me about the new low-voltage switch that his company, ABB, is showing at the show. Not being an engineer, I can’t replicate his excellent presentation here — but stay tuned. We’ll have that for your shortly.
- Hello, Paul. Hello, Sunny (the man with the best name in the solar space). Great seeing you today, and I look forward to seeing you again for real tomorrow.
- You, too, Susa (and thanks for the pronunciation help. Thanks to you, I won the bet — I owe you).
- I had a great conversation with Greg Bausch about the importance of using quality materials in constructing solar panels (something brought up by Conrad Burke as well). It’s becoming an issue of greater importance to the industry, and it’s something we’ll be keeping our eyes on. As we find out more, we’ll let you know.
It’s been an incredibly busy time for the Solar Power World crew, and it’s just beginning. We look forward to bringing you the latest news from this great city — and I’ll do my best not to get lost this time.