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North America Smart Energy Week 2019: Where Renewable Energy Means Business

published: 2019-10-02 0:00

North America Smart Energy Week 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

North America Smart Energy Week 2019 officially kickstarted on September 23, along with its star event Solar Power International (SPI). This year's event will showcase the new technology and services in solar energy, energy storage, smart energy, and microgrid solutions, while exploring applications for other renewable energy sources, such as wind energy, geothermal energy, hydrogen and more.

Utah has been chosen as the location for SPI 2019, mainly because the local development of the solar industry has come under the spotlight. Utah has been among the top 10 states with a strong PV market developing since 2016. There are 6045 solar energy jobs and 142 PV companies (21 manufacturers, 69 installers/ developers, 52 other PV companies) in Utah, which includes IKEA. The Swedish furniture company is also the state's largest commercial solar system provider. It is estimated that the total investment in the photovoltaic installations amounts to US$2.63 billion, ranking 9th in the country. The total installed capacity stands at 1,650.74 MW, which can supply electricity to 319,641 households. The installed capacity is expected to be 1,079 MW (ranking 15th in the US) in the next five years.

SPI is known for facilitating the communication and exchange of knowledge, ideas, innovations between the buyers, sellers and other professionals in the solar industry in North America. The suppliers can showcase their latest products and services in the industry, while the attendants can share the latest insights on the market in the industry. In addition to facilitating the idea exchange among the professionals in the photovoltaics industry, North America Smart Energy Week also included Energy Storage International – the biggest storage event in North America. As the energy industry and technology progress, events such as the Smart Energy Marketplace+Microgrid, Hydrogen+Fuel Cells International, and The Technical Symposium are also included to help the attendants learn and grow.

Major Module Suppliers in North America

There was a huge attendance among solar module manufacturers at the event. In addition to major players’ plans for global integration, the topic of "Made in the USA" is also one of the focuses of this exhibition. Due to the China-US trade disputes, many module manufacturers have already made arrangements to localize their capacity as early as 2018. The solar energy industry in the United States is heavily dominated by module manufacturers. Under the restrictions of Section 201, the first 2.5 GW of imported solar cells is duty-free, which is very attractive for overseas manufacturers. According to EnergyTrend, the localized capacity is estimated to exceed 6GW. If the share of thin film products from First Solar is deducted, the solar cells that can be imported tariff-free cannot meet the demand adequately. Therefore the US is a fairly profitable market in terms of PV modules.

As the negotiations concerning China-US trade disputes continue to progress, the manufacturers with an integrated supply chain optimize and diversify their sales territories on a global scale. The US solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) will expire in 2021, which is two to three years away. It is estimated that the US market will still enjoy stable growth.

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