Velvet ropes. Twinkling lights. Inspirational speeches. Celebrities everywhere you look.
Contractors from across the country packed the Juniper Ballroom at the Aria Resort & Casino to celebrate the excellence and explosive growth of the solar industry and the role contractors play in it.
“This was a wonderful event,” said Nancy Hiler of Built Well Solar. “It’s an honor to be part of this gala and to be part of this incredible industry.”
The event was co-hosted by Solar Power World and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, explained the importance of the event in showing the rest of the country what the united strength of the industry looks like.
“If we band together, I believe that we can continue this tremendous growth,” Resch says. “You, the top contractors in solar today, will enjoy many more years of success and leadership across the country.”
The program also included an inspiring keynote address from Robert Dally, renewable energy program manager for the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy. In it, Dally discussed his own inspirational solar odyssey, beginning with Arco Solar in 1979 and continuing today as he fights for the solar industry in Nevada.
“There is plenty of work ahead of us,” Dally told the assembled crowd of nearly 400. “Thankfully this industry has dedicated people like you who believe in this path, who will not fall to the wayside and who will continue to pave the road ahead with quality designs and innovative ideas on how to make PV projects faster, better and cheaper.”
But the speeches that brought tears to everyone’s eyes — and will serve as a future inspiration for all those who saw them — were those from the children of Brian D. Robertson in support of the Brian D. Robertson (BDR) Solar Schools Memorial Fund Award.
At the time of his death in a plane crash in 2011, Robertson was the CEO at Amonix, a company specializing in the design and manufacture of utility-scale solar power systems, headquartered in Seal Beach, Calif. Brian died in a plane crash on December 22, 2011.
“We are privileged to have the opportunity to honor my dad, who passed away in a plane crash in December 2011, by recognizing an amazing non-profit solar company,” said Melanie Robertson, one of Brian’s three children. “It was his inspiration that led me to design and build this really cool solar panel powered go–cart that I completed shortly after his death with the help of the engineers at Amonix. He left me me with so many great memories, and he was an inspiration to us all.”
“I was 4 when my dad passed away,” said Brian’s son Max. “Mostly what I remember was my dad boxing with me or taking me bowling. But I know he was an amazing man because his friends and colleagues started a really cool non-profit in his honor.”
The Robertson family then presented the BDR Award to San Francisco-based Everybody Solar.
The Solar Power World Top 400 Contractors Gala was sponsored by SEIA, SMA America, Enphase Energy, Solectria Renewables, Hanwha SolarOne, Ecolibrium Solar, Swinerton Solar, Simpleray, SIC USA, Phoenix Contact, S-5, CohnReznick, DPW Solar, Axitec, KACO, Jinko Solar, Ironridge, Advanced Energy, ABB. Unirac, JA Solar and SolarBridge Technologies, Allied Building Products and Baja Construction.