Monday, October 30, 2006

Solar Power 2006 Conference

I am one of the lucky 8000 people that witnessed the birth of solar energy market in the US. It occurred in San Jose, California at the Solar Power 2006 Conference in October.

Thanks you U.S. DOE for sending me! Note, I run what used to be called the Wisconsin Million Solar Roofs Initiative.

Information about the conference can be found here:
I particularly recommend the webcasts of the Keynote speakers
check out Vinod Khosla

The conference had about 1500 attendees in 2005 and over 7000 this year.

Something happened in those 12 months. It is called the rebirth of the solar market place in perhaps the best of all places in the world for it: silicon valley California. In Silicon Valley they know silicon, they know venture capital, they know how to create new businesses, they know engineering and perhaps most importantly they know how to draw together the best minds in the world to meet technical challenges.

And the man behind it all - happens to be the "Governator". Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He kicked started it all by creating a three billion dollar incentive program for solar electric systems.

I believe the Governator's investments in solar, green technologies in general and passage of California's carbon trading law, will be an economic boon to California. California now has a energy climate that the world will be forced to face in a few years. In those few years California's businesses will get a jump on most everyone else (like those of us here in Wisconsin).

Attendees of the Solar Power 2006 Conference tended to look like business people, including many bankers, and included large contingents from Germany, China and Japan. This is unlike the attendees of any other solar conference that I have attended over the last eight years: where the attendees tended to be older, more academic, and depressed that nothing was happening.

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