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PV briefing – California to face historic challenges

At the 11th PV Briefing & Networking Forum USA, part of the Intersolar North America event, delegates discussed the future of renewable energy in the US market, highlighting the importance of California in growing the technology.

"Here in California, we have a collective goal. 33% renewable energies by 2020, it's a realistic goal. Let's take control of and shape the future of our nation together,” said California governor Edmund G. Brown Jr in a keynote speech to the around 18,000 national and international guests at the opening ceremony.

California is among the pioneers of western national economies when it comes to environmental protection and the implementation of new and renewable energies, Governor Brown said. Alongside the goal of covering up to 33% of California's energy demand with renewables, Brown also revealed clear goals with regard to electro-mobility. According to the governor, one million electric automobiles are intended to be in use by 2025.

The potential of the US American market, and the special role played by the state of California, was also emphasized by Daniela Schreiber, executive vice president of HRCC USA Corp. Schreiber described the historic development of the US market, from one dominated by small systems in the early years – with around 262 MW installed capacity in 2007 – to one mainly focused on large scale systems in 2012, with a market volume of 3,260 MW at the last count. However, Schreiber also emphasised that the private rooftop and commercial systems sectors continue to develop sustainably.

In a state-wide comparison of the history of the solar market, California is definitely in the lead, followed by Arizona and New Jersey. The three largest project developers, measured by operational capacity, are First Solar, SunPower and SunEdison. Besides them, there are a number of other developers active on the market. However, their systems are currently all either in the planning or construction phase.

There was also a presentation from Bret Young, director of sales at Samil Power US Ltd, about the challenges and changes in the solar inverter industry. Young compared the conditions for manufacturers in Europe and Asia, and highlighted the cost structures and sustainability of the companies featured.

Intersolar North America took place from 8-11 July in San Francisco. In total, 757 exhibitors and 17,823 trade visitors participated in 2012. The conference featured 30 sessions with 220 speakers and catered to about 1,500 conference attendees.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling