Trade show veterans know that there are two ways to attract weary attendees (and no matter what they tell you, by the second day of a show like Intersolar North America 2012, all attendees are weary):
- Contests; and, most popularly,
Two contests in particular drew enormous crowds this year:
- Canadian Solar joined forces with Mountain Winery, located in Saratoga, Calif., for the venue’s Summer Concert Season 2012 and is holding a contest for two free tickets to one of the shows. Participants must fill out a short survey, for which they are rewarded with a free USB stick and a chance at tickets to the concert of their choice. I’m not from around here, but as I understand it this concert series is fantastic. If you haven’t already made it to their booth to enter, do so immediately — you won’t be sorry (ask for our good friend Jill Hansen. She’ll make sure to hook you up).
- The other contest that yesterday so flooded a booth with people that I literally couldn’t get out of the booth at the time of the drawing at 4 p.m. because there were so many people crowded in the booth and in the aisles. I was actually late for my next appointment as a result. The benefit of the publicity was Tigo Energy. This manufacturer of what they call a “solar optimizer” was giving away an iPad (I know, awesome, right?). Since I don’t consider myself eligible, I didn’t enter. But judging from the number of people in the booth at drawing time, many people did.
And then, well, there’s the food:
- Most booths have some sort of small snack item in them (whether they’re Hershey’s Miniatures, Werther’s Originals or some other kind of hard candy), but our friends at Schletter have the food item that trumps everything else: beer. They don’t start serving it until the afternoon, but shortly after they do, you start seeing people wandering around the show floor with a German beer in hand, steeling themselves for another lap around an enormous show floor. Believe me, once the beer taps open, Schletter draws a crowd.
A few other news and notes from around the show:
- Had a couple of interesting discussions with solar monitoring companies Array Power and Also Energy about whether or not we are collecting too much data on our solar systems. On the one hand, Wendy Arienzo from Array wondered whether the amount of information we’re collecting about solar array performance is so extensive that it becomes so overwhelming for the operator that it ceases to be useful. It’s an interesting question that I, for one, will be exploring further. Also Energy’s Robert Schaeffer, on the other hand, says that while the amount of information collected may not be necessary on a daily basis, you’d better be collecting it just in case you need it at some point in the future. This is not a debate, I suspect, that will be going away. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
- Always great to catch up with you, Tony — your insights are, as always, invaluable and spark great discussions and debates. I promise I’ll get down to D.C. soon so we can get together some place other than a trade show.
- You, too, Harmun (thought if I travel to D.C. to see you, that would be counterproductive, so maybe Cincinnati is the better place to meet).
- I love the ideas that Mark Cerasuolo of Outback Power discussed as it pertained to off-grid and on-grid hybrid solar systems. There’s something pretty interesting going on there, and I’ll be watching that progress with great interest.
- One of the things I enjoy most about these shows, in addition to seeing all my old friends, is making new ones. Boris, it was a pleasure meeting you, and I look forward to collaborating with you in the near future. Your goals and our goals are almost completely in sync.
- Thank you, Jennifer Panepinto, for your conversation, laughs and support (and the seafood risotto was outstanding).
- I also owe a special shoutout to my colleague Courtney Seel, whose ability to read an iPhone’s map better than I saved me from another embarrassing wander around this great city.
One more day to go — let’s make it a good one.