By, Paulette Middleton, ASES Board Co-Chair October 18, 2016
The ASES SOLAR 2016 Conference, held in conjunction with the Intersolar North America Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco July 10-14, proved to be a premier networking and knowledge-sharing event for renewable energy professionals and advocates.
Plenary sessions, forums, and moderated technical sessions–focused on renewable energy progress and challenges facing the country and the world— encouraged deep dialogue among presenters and participants. In addition to providing opportunities to engage with technical, financial and policy leaders each day, evening networking events afforded our participants to connect with colleagues and make new contacts. Attendees left the conference with fresh ideas for advancing the movement to a 100% renewable energy world, and with a deeper sense of ASES as their solar energy community.
Long-time ASES member Richard Perez says of his experience at SOLAR 2016, “The technical sessions I attended – mainly solar resource, high penetration PV and integration policy — were all well attended and top notch. I was glad to see that ASES is still the place where quality innovative work is presented based on the merits of an open abstract submission process. ASES was certainly a synergistic complement to business-like InterSolar, where presentations – interesting as well – where by invitation-only.”
The Chair of the National Organizing Committee, Dave Renné, was inspired by the three plenary sessions focusing on global and regional programs to achieve 100% renewables, and on the special insights offered by representatives of the native American, underserved, and religious communities. He also expressed his admiration at the quality and sophistication of the technical work that is being accomplished that will support our drive to 100% renewables. He looks forward to seeing, in the next couple of months, the publication of the Conference proceedings containing 27 technical papers presented at the Conference.
The Plenary speakers at SOLAR 2016 covered many aspects of achieving 100% renewable energy worldwide. The speakers included:
- Professor Eicke Weber, Director, Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy, Freiburg, Germany— German examples of renewable energy projects and what is needed worldwide to reach 100% renewables.
- Michael Eckhart, Global Head of Environmental Finance, Citibank Capital Markets, Inc.— The role of financing and innovations that are making a real difference in accelerating progress to 100%.
- Diane Moss, Renewables 100 Policy Institute—Policy tools and actions that are working worldwide and in the U.S.
- John Smirnow, Secretary-General, Global Solar Council—Report on the solar industry and growth worldwide.
- Debbie Rafael, Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment—Focus on San Francisco’s renewable cities efforts.
- Jodie Van Horn, Director, Strategic Relations at Sierra Club, Readyfor100 campaign— Grassroots renewable progress primarily at the cities level in the U.S.
- Betsy Agar, Research Manager at, and founding member of Renewable Cities, a Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue program, Vancouver, BC—How cities are leading the way to 100% renewable energy with a global focus.
- Angelina Galiteva, California Independent System Operator Corporation Member—The important role of electric grid operators in advancing renewable energy integration.
- Mark Davis, CEO of WDC Solar, Washington, DC—Creating jobs in the installation sector in the U.S., especially In minority sectors.
- Chris Deschene, US Department of Energy – Achieving 100% renewables on native lands
- Rev. Sally Bingham, Episcopal priest and Canon for the Environment in the Diocese of California – Bringing solar to churches and protecting the Earth.
Sessions and forums featured cutting-edge research as well as discussions on the integration of solar and other renewables, and solar-friendly policies and financing. Selected sessions at SOLAR 2016 provided AIA Continuing Education System (CES) Learning Units.
The lively Emerging Professionals Reception, hosted by ASES and EnergeiaWorks, featured short success stories from young ASES leaders and a special commentary on advancing solar in other industries from IndyCar driver and ASES supporter Stefan Wilson. The Awards Gala and Banquet included inspirational comments by Abbott Award winner Dave Renné, ASES Executive Director Carly Rixham, and keynote speaker Don Osborn. As Don reflected, “For 40 years ASES has been there for me — helping my professional growth while providing the fellowship needed to carry on!”
ASES, in collaboration with ISES and NorCal Solar, also hosted a booth at the InterSolar Exhibition, attracting several thousand visitors.
SOLAR 2016 sponsors included Tamarack Solar Products, S’well Water Bottles, EnergeiaWorks, World Scientific, and Solar Wave Energy. Conference partner TripZero offered free carbon offsets to offset emissions from travel to the conference. ASES extends its gratitude to these outstanding businesses.
Program details are at www.solar2016.org.