Largest U.S. Solar Energy Event Starts This Week

All roads lead to Southern California this week, as thousands of people from around the world attend Solar Power International, the largest solar energy industry event in the Americas.

Presented by Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Solar Power International ‘08 begins just days after the U.S. Congress passed the most significant federal policy ever enacted to support the solar energy industry – an eight-year extension of the federal investment tax credit for solar energy, and the elimination of both the residential cap for residential systems and the utility exemption. This sweeping legislation marks a turning point for the solar energy market in the U.S., which has already grown steadily at 40 percent per year throughout the decade and stands poised for a new era of expansion. Now in its fifth year, Solar Power International takes place October 13 – 16, 2008, at the San Diego Convention Center. This year the conference and expo coincides with Solar Energy Week in San Diego, organized by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), drawing curious citizens from across the region to learn about solar power.

With a total attendance expected to approach 20,000 people, Solar Power International ‘08 is the largest solar energy event in U.S. history.

“Against a backdrop of extraordinary economic change, this year’s event is especially compelling because it sets the stage for extensive dialogue on a range of issues – navigating a worldwide financial system under stress, enhancing market growth, driving down costs and fueling technological innovation,” said Julia Hamm, executive director of SEPA and chair of Solar Power International. “The companies and organizations participating in Solar Power International ‘08 are offered the ideal forum for learning and networking to discover new partnerships and revenue opportunities that will lead to the expedited expansion of an industry that can be such an important part of the nation’s economic recovery.”

Keynote speakers addressing various global and national issues range from NASDAQ Executive Vice President John L. Jacobs and Shea Homes Active Lifestyle Communities President Rick Andreen, to politicians who have been pioneers in the energy industry – former U.S. Army General Wesley Clark and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.

“With a stabilized tax policy for solar energy for the next eight years, the U.S. is poised to be a leading market in a global industry,” said Rhone Resch, president of SEIA. “This will have a tangible impact on the U.S. economy, generating hundreds of thousands of new domestic jobs and unleashing billions in private investment when we need it most. And, as the next Administration takes up climate change legislation, solar power is uniquely positioned among next-generation energy sources to provide secure, affordable, renewable power for a clean energy future.”

“At Sharp Solar, we envision a world powered by clean solar energy at our homes, businesses, and other venues,” said Ron Kenedi, vice president, Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group (SESG), a subsidiary of Sharp Electronics Corp. “We believe this vision is within reach and achievable through our work with partners and customers. As a global company, we recognize that Solar Power International is an important event to engage with the global solar community.”

A highlight of the Solar Power International agenda is the annual CEO Panel, which brings together industry leaders from the United States and Europe to discuss worldwide market development and reductions in technology costs. The conference will also feature opening and closing keynote sessions and more than 60 breakout sessions. The 174,000-square-foot expo floor features 425 exhibitors from every corner of the solar energy industry. Together the conference program and expo floor encompass the complete range of solar energy technologies, including photovoltaics, concentrating photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, solar hot water and space heating and cooling. This year the organizers expect close to 20,000 attendees, including solar industry professionals, utility executives, investors, engineers and policymakers – with an international contingent representing at least 70 countries.

Although the focus of Solar Power International is business-to-business interaction, the event this year will reach out to consumers through a partnership with the nonprofit California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE). Solar Power International ‘08 coincides with San Diego’s annual Solar Energy Week, creating a comprehensive, week-long schedule addressing both professional and consumer solar interests. Activities for the public will include a “Public Night” opening of the Solar Power International expo floor on the evening of October 15, and the Tour of Solar Homes on October 18. San Diego Gas & Electric, the Utility Host Sponsor for Solar Power International, will be promoting Solar Energy Week activities to both its commercial and residential customers.

Conference leaders from the Solar Electric Power Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association would like to thank all sponsors of Solar Power International ‘08, including Terawatt sponsor Sharp Solar, Gigawatt sponsors Kyocera Solar and Yingli Solar, and Utility Host Sponsor San Diego Gas & Electric.

To find out more about the conference and expo and to catch frequent updates from the event, including video cast footage of the plenary sessions and interviews with industry experts, please visit

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