Day One of Intersolar North America’s opening ceremony felt anticlimactic, despite its star-studded lineup. Sure, Jerry Brown brought the crowd to its feet, as always. Sure, Kevin Parker (a solar advocate from New York) did a call-and-response, revival style, asking the audience to help him bring the solar revolution to the other coast. And Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of CalSEIA, announced that California had installed — in 18 months — the same amount of solar it had installed in the previous 18 years.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But we all know why the people were really there: to attend the standing-room-only (SRO) Intersolar Finance Symposium earlier in the day, brought to you the SunSpec Alliance, Mercatus, Centrosolar America and Solar Power World.
And I am not exaggerating — there wasn’t an open seat in the house. Everyone crammed into a conference room on the fourth floor of the Intercontinental San Francisco, and no one left for the next eight hours. Shayle Kann, Minh Le, Ram Akella, David Field — those names would have been more than enough to bring in the crowd. When you add the managing directors of Citigroup and Credit Suisse, a researcher at NREL and the chairman of Tigo Energy, and you had one of the most impressive lineups you’ll see anywhere to discuss solar financing. We could describe each panel individually to you, but we decided to give you a taste of what it was like to be in the room (full audio of the conference sessions are available at the SunSpec Alliance website):
Listen to Shayle Kann tell the audience what companies he believes will be purchased by utilities in 2014 — they are names you will recognize.
In perhaps the best line of the day, Kate Sherwood, Director, Commercial Partner Sales, SolarCity Corp., describes the internal term the company uses to describe how it feels when a commercial project doesn’t come through — and provides a great explanation of why the percentage of commercial-project conversions is at a whopping 1.7%.
David Field, president and CEO of OneRoof Energy, discusses who is investing in residential segment tax-equity market and how ridiculous it is that residential tax equity is so complicated to get. The solution? If you want something done right, you do it yourself.
Minh Le, Director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office, Department of Energy, U.S., on how many lives he and his office have saved with their work on improving efficiencies in the solar industry (OK, it’s an analogy to a famous Steve Jobs quotation, but we liked it anyway).