Recap of Bright Week at Intersolar North America 2014

This week, the Renewables 100 Policy Institute team participated in the Intersolar North America Conference and Expo, which brought more than 30,000 people together for the largest solar industry event in the country.

Gov Brown - Intersolar 2014 - 2MOU
Governor Brown Angelina Galiteva, Diane Moss, Dr Harry Lehmann
Intersolar 2014 - PV60
PV60 – History Becoming the Future
"Green and Solar Cities Mayor Panel"
“Green and Solar Cities Mayor Panel”

Founding Director Diane Moss remarked, “Prof. Dr. Eicke Weber and the Intersolar organizational team create an extraordinary international showcase, learning environment, and networking opportunity for those working or interested in the solar energy field. It was an honor to be part of this outstanding event.”

Governor Brown and Minister Untersteller Begin Groundbreaking Climate and Energy Collaboration. Additionally, the Institute engaged in numerous side meetings, the highlight of which was a round table that we facilitated with Governor Jerry Brown, top level California energy agency representatives and visiting thought leaders on Germany’s energy transition. At the meeting, Governor Brown and Minister Untersteller agreed that their two frontrunner states ought to collaborate on setting and achieving parallel energy and climate targets, e.g. for greenhouse gas reduction, building efficiency, renewable energy, and zero emissions transportation. Governor Brown recommended those present at the meeting become the Working Group on this groundbreaking international initiative.

Angelina Galiteva said, “Governor Brown and Minister Untersteller are to be applauded for their ongoing vision and commitment to environmental and economic stewardship. Subnational cooperation between forward thinking states like California and Baden-Wuerttemberg can play a critical role in building an international coalition of the willing, which is so urgently needed to implement meaningful clean energy targets and accelerate greenhouse gas reductions.”

Conference and Expo Features Solar 60th Birthday
The Welcome and Opening Reception incorporated our PV60 – History Becoming the Future theme, which celebrates practical solar’s 60th birthday year. Thanks to a generous sponsorship by DSM, the reception featured a display chronicling the remarkable origins  six decades ago of the first solar modules capable of harnessing enough sun to produce useful amounts of electricity. The display moved to the Expo hall for the remainder of the event, where also on view were artifacts from the dawn of the modern solar era, including original Bell solar cells from the 1950s and solar modules from the first solar satellite programs in the late 1950s and 1960s. Solar historian and author John Perlin was on site selling his acclaimed book Let It Shine: the 6000 Year Story of Solar Technology.

Founders Featured in Three Panels
On day two of the conference, our Founding Board Chair Angelina Galiteva, who also serves as Governor on the Board of the California Independent System Operator, moderated a panel titled Balancing Systems: Grid Integration. On the panel were: Mahesh Morjaria Ph.D., Vice President of Product Management, at First Solar U.S., who spoke on best practices for grid Integration of utility-scale PV plants. Ravi Dodballapur, Manager of Application Engineering at SMA America shared ideas on overcoming the challenges of distributed PV grid integration. Speaking on intelligent technology systems for solar PV was Keith E. Davis, Director of Solar Services, at Affinity Automation. Wrapping up the panel was Phil Undercuffler, Director of Strategic Platforms at OutBack Power Technologies, who spoke about innovative how Next Grid Solar technology’s role in adapt to changing utility models.

The following day, Diane Moss participated on a panel called “Green Cities – Paths Toward Sustainable Energy Systems“. She presented ideas about how cities all over the world can set and achieve 100% renewable energy targets, sharing stories of those who are already doing so both in industrialized and developing regions, along with some basic steps and best practices for cities who may be just starting out.

intersolar - Green Cities - Paths Toward Sustainable Energy Systems
“Green Cities – Paths Toward Sustainable Energy Systems”

Moderating the panel was Angie Fyfe, Renewable Energy Program Director at ICLEI U.S.. The first speaker was the Honorable Franz Untersteller MdL, Member of the State Parliament  and Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector for the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, who shared how his state has taken the energy transition into their own hands to become a front runner in the nation on renewable energy adoption and energy efficiency. Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to the Californian Governor Jerry Brown and Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research gave the state perspective on local sustainability, sharing a brief history of the Governor’s multi-decade track record on environmental leadership and an overview of the state policies currently in place to help communities pursue clean energy initiatives. Dr. Harry Lehmann, General Director, Environmental Planning and Sustainability Strategies at the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) presented an overview of his agency’s research into how Germany could become carbon neutral by 2050. Included in his remarks were summaries of UBA’s study on how the country could achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2050, along with what is required to reduce carbon emissions drastically to 1 tonne per capita. Dr. Bernd Dallmann, Chief Executive Officer of the Cluster Green City Freiburg  and FWTM, Germany spoke about Freiburg’s rich history of clean energy stewardship that began with saying “no” to a nuclear power plant back in the 1970s. Since then, the city has evolved into a national and international leader in clean technology innovation – for example, it is home to the renowned Fraunhofer Institute and to many examples of sustainable architecture like the Vauban housing development, which contains 100 units built to Passive House ultra-low energy consumption standards. Closing the panel were husband and wife Mary and Andy Hsia-Coron, activists from the California City of San Juan Bautista, who shared their vision for transitioning away from fossil fuels in their community to an all renewable energy system.

Angelina Galiteva closed the conference with a panel “Green and Solar Cities Mayor Panel” featuring four Mayors from cities leading the way on green initiatives: Terry O’Day, Mayor Pro Tempore from the City of Santa Monica, Mayor R. Rex Parris from the City of Lancaster, Mayor Nancy Shepherd from the City of Palo Alto, and Mayor Miguel Pulido from the City of Santa Ana.