The weekend read: Solar Trade Show Highlights 2018

The winter warmer: World Future Energy Summit

When & where? Held at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi between Jan. 15 – 18
Why visit? Solar’s expansion into the Middle East and North African (MENA) region has been a catalyst for a surge of technical and financial innovation over the past few years, making WFES an intriguing mixture of R&D breakthroughs, product announcements and encouraging business ventures – often between east and west.
What to expect: The Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) is a glistening show hall that is easy to navigate. The main conference rooms play host to a range of grand presentations, including the always-engaging opening ceremony and the superb Zayed Future Energy Prize – a worthy award show that recognizes the clean energy efforts of startups, NGOs and schools around the world.

In the exhibition halls, WFES proves its credentials as a valuable bridge between east and west. Large Chinese and other Asian firms are very visible, while regional players such as Masdar seize the opportunity to engage with European and North American visitors.

The Asian heavyweight: PV Expo

When & where? Held at Tokyo Big Sight in Japan between Feb. 28 – Mar. 2
Why visit? A few years ago the ‘why’ was easy: Japan was pushing China close as the world’s largest PV market during its post-Fukushima solar surge. In 2018, however, Japan will have slipped further down the top table to become only the world’s fourth-largest market. How the industry manages this transition will prove fascinating – the Japanese are nothing if not inventive and durable.

The opening ceremony of PV Expo in Tokyo is always a packed experience.

What to expect: A well-organized, business-first, no-frills trade fair, PV Expo retains its clout as a serious location in which to network and get things done. Although lacking the scale of SNEC, the profile of the Intersolars and the energy of REI, this is still the flagship show in a nation that has done so much to further solar’s cause.

The biggie: SNEC

When & where? Shanghai New International Expo Center in China, between May 28 – 30
Why visit? The real question should be why not? With China set to end 2017 having installed more than 50 GW of solar capacity, the market currently accounts for more than half of all global PV activity. Hence, SNEC – as the nation’s flagship show – is a must-visit for all engaged solar market players right across the value chain.
What to expect: No, you’re not at an airport, so put your passport away. The sheer scale of the SNEC grounds can appear overwhelming for first time visitors, but armed with a map and some sturdy shoes you will soon navigate your way easily through the many halls. Each one welcomes you with a cacophony of noise; solar’s big guns pull out the, well, big guns for SNEC – eager to attract the attention and business of the 220,000+ visitors each year. Expect 2018 to be even bigger.

The one with the parties: Intersolar Europe

When & Where? Munich Messe in Germany, between Jun. 20 – 22
Why visit? For the pv magazine booth party, naturally! When it comes to post-show networking, few exhibitions can match Intersolar Europe. As the continent has had to reassess its role in the global solar landscape, the flagship solar show has reinvented itself as a vibrant meeting point for the industry’s main markets – underpinned by one of the calendar’s more varied and involved conference programs.

pv magazine’s Intersolar Europe booth party is an undoubted highlight of the show!

What to expect: More than 40,000 visitors are likely to pour through the doors, crowding booths, attending product launches, posing intelligent questions at the side events, and seeking shade and a cool beer under the hot Munich summer sun. Intersolar Europe delivers an edifying balance of storage – in the form of the EES collocated show – smarthome innovation, future PV trends and traditional big-ticket business activity, including a full pv magazine video team and the regular appearance of the Solar Superheroes.

The Latam experience: Intersolar South America

When & where? Expo Center Norte Sao Paulo in Brazil, between Aug. 28 – 30
Why visit? To experience a first-hand understanding that Latin America’s solar growth is real, and not imagined. For years the region has revved on amber, but in the past 12 months the PV markets of Brazil, Chile, Mexico and others have been given the green light for growth. The resultant market acceleration has been encouraging.
What to expect: Last year’s gathering drew more than 220 exhibitors and 12,000 visitors from across 47 countries – modest but record numbers for the show. Expect far greater volumes this year, with visitors particularly keen on understanding the various governmental policies of the leading Latam nations. Political stability is rarely a given in Latin America, and remains a key component in shaping PV’s success, of lack thereof.

The one to watch: Renewable Energy India

When & Where? India Expo Centre, Greater Noida in India, between Sept. 18 – 20
Why visit? Quite simply, the Indian solar market has been the world’s most dynamic for the past two years now. Chasing the U.S. hard as the second-largest growth sector in 2017, next year presents an equal amount of opportunities and challenges for Indian solar – with Renewable Energy India perfectly timed and located to take stock of 2018’s journey.

Steven Xuereb of PI Berlin and George Touloupas of CEA discuss the solar issues of the day at REI.

What to expect: having grown to more than 30,000 visitors in 2017, organizer Rajneesh Khattar of UBM anticipates further growth for 2018. “The 12th REI will play a much larger and catalytic role in opening up the Indian solar market to international stakeholders, and assist them to continue placing their trust in India’s solar ambitions and its immense potential,” he told pv magazine. Next year, REI will reflect and report on India’s policy and regulatory landscape, helping to further the cause of the ‘Make in India’ campaign to position the nation as a solar technology hub, Khattar added.

“While the expo will grow in size and profile, we are delighted to introduce energy storage and electric vehicles as new pavilions next year,” Khattar revealed. “These upcoming sectors are the logical extensions of renewable energy on which the future of India relies in order to realize its 175 GW renewable goal by 2022.” The UBM director also conformed an increased focus on quality, best O&M practices and next generation technologies for 2018.

The American dream: Solar Power International

When & where? Anaheim Convention Center, in California USA, between Sept. 24 – 27
Why visit? Continuing to hop between Las Vegas and California, Solar Power International (SPI) likes to keep attendees and exhibitors on its toes. Record numbers were recorded in 2017 – more than 20,000 visitors – bolstered by the colocation of the Energy Storage International (ESI) show, so if you want to meet with North America’s key solar and storage experts, businesses and stakeholders, this is the show in which to do it.

Solar Power International moves from Vegas to California in 2018.

What to expect: Talk of Donald Trump has dominated clean energy discourse in the U.S. for over a year. It is tempting to say that something similar will shape 2018 – but such has been the unpredictability of Trump’s reign that nobody knows just how the political landscape will look by September. Suffice to say, SPI’s role as a leading knowledge exchange platform will remain firmly intact, with the Technical Symposium once again proving a draw.

The upstream mainstay: EUPVSEC

When & where? SQUARE, in Brussels, Belgium, between Sept. 24 – 28
Why visit? To keep ahead of – and shape – the technological innovation curve; to congratulate and discover new advances in efficiency and cost reduction; to better understand the upstream challenges shaping solar’s evolution, and to network with equipment suppliers, chat with scientists and discuss PV system performance and integration.
What to expect: EUPVSEC remains one of the more scientific and hands-on trade shows in the solar calendar. The conference has a series of workshops and interactive presentations and discussions that invite and expect queries from the audiences, while out on the exhibition floor 2018’s show is yet another opportunity for Europe’s R&D labs and machinery experts to remind the global solar industry of the continent’s strengths.

Don’t forget!

Throughout the year pv magazine will be bringing its successful Quality Roundtable and Future PV Roundtable formats to a number of leading solar trade shows, right across the globe. For more information on the format, the schedule, and how to get involved, visit: www.pv-magazine.com/quality-roundtables

The site for fresh ideas: All Energy Australia

When & where? Melbourne Convention Centre, Australia, between Oct. 3 – 4
Why visit? Held towards the end of the year as the trade show calendar begins to wind down, All Energy Australia presents a good opportunity to take stock of the technical and market trends of the year, and to get a first glimpse of forthcoming products and services that many leading solar firms present at the show.
What to expect: Like Australia’s solar market itself, All Energy Australia has a lot of space to stretch into, and a fair wind of expectation and cash behind it. Asia’s heavyweights have begun to establish a foothold in the region, seizing an opportunity to present their solutions to an English-speaking market without having to travel too far from home. Expect more socially responsible awards and recognitions in the form of the Women in Renewables Luncheon, the Solar Design and Installation Awards, and the Speed Date a Tech Guy session.

… and those to keep an eye on

Moroccan roll: Photovoltaica, held in Marrakech on February 13, is co-organized by the Moroccan Ministry of Energy and will host more than 350 solar exhibitors.

Good morning, Vietnam: The Solar Show Vietnam, held in Hanoi on April 10, will showcase the opportunities of what is expected to become a very interesting market over the next few years.

Go to Bogota: ANDREC, held in Colombia’s capital (2018 date TBC) is a small but interesting show covering the Colombian solar market – a market that is poised for a breakthrough in 2018.

Dutch courage: Vakbeurs Energie, held in Den Bosch, the Netherlands between October 9 – 11, shines a sustainable focus on the Dutch solar market, which looks likely to become one of Europe’s largest.