SOLAR 2024 Recap: Key Highlights & Call to Action Op-Ed Explainer

Ella Nielsen, ASES Programs Director

Thank you to everyone who participated in the American Solar Energy Society’s 53rd National Solar Conference on May 20-23! We are overflowing with gratitude.

Given that it’s a presidential election year, SOLAR 2024 emphasized community and network-building opportunities focusing on advocacy and education needed to expand upon best practices and new ideas for implementing a quicker energy transition.

Leaders converged from government, industry, trade, academia & the community to exchange valuable ideas. The impact of climate change is upon us, and each one of us makes a difference. Scroll to the bottom to read our Urgent Call to Action!

Insights & Learnings from SOLAR 2024

Solar Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill: Led by a few of our ASES state chapters, Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Society, Philadelphia Solar Energy Society, and New York Solar Energy Society, we hosted a pre-conference excursion to Capitol Hill that provided hands-on experience in solar advocacy. Participants discovered how their advocacy efforts could shape a brighter future for our one shared planet.

DC Local Solar Tour: Participants joined us for a tour around Washington, DC, to check out various solar sites in the area. We went to two residential homes and commercial building. The attendees got a taste of what a National Solar Tour in Washington, DC, is like. Learn more about the National Solar Tour at

Welcoming Reception & Plenary Panel: On Monday evening we kicked off SOLAR 2024 with a lively discussion all about energy economics with Rana Adib, Executive Director of REN21, Tom Weirich, Lead – Marketing & Stakeholder Relations North America EDP Renewables North America LLC, Yueming (Lucy) Qiu, Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, and Colin Silver, Senior Vice President of Content & Strategy Solar Energy Industries Association – focusing on the economic benefits, job creation, and equitable financial impacts of the renewable energy transformation along with data-driven insights from local to global perspectives on accelerating progress.

We opened Tuesday morning with a Keynote Session all about Shared Responsibilities: Driving Clean Energy Policy Transformation at Federal, State, and Local Level with Jigar Shah, Director of the Loans Program at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. This plenary session dived into the collaborative efforts required to advance clean energy policy across various government levels. Speakers analyzed the roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local authorities in shaping policy frameworks, fostering innovation, and overcoming regulatory hurdles to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy solutions.

Later that day, we hosted our National Solar Tour Luncheon, various technical sessions, a lively poster session, and then ended the night with our Annual Awards Banquet! We honored individuals making significant contributions to society and within the field of solar and renewable energy each year. Attendees joined us for dinner and drinks as we presented our annual ASES Awards and Fellows recognitions. Congratulations again to our 2024 Fellow Inductees and Award Winners!

ASES Fellow 2024 Inductees

  • Vikram Sami
  • Liz Merry
  • Robert Peña
  • Troy Peters
  • William Guiney
  • Jeff Lyng

2024 Award Winners:

Wednesday was chock-full of engaging technical session presentations that focused on connecting innovative technology and renewable energy policy, animated discussions, constant community building and networking, and more! We hosted our ASES Divisions Luncheon, a NABCEP workshop, Women in Solar Energy (WISE) Interactive Forum, Spirit and Sustainability Forum, and Industry Roundtable, and we had another great poster session!

To end the day, we had our Annual Climate Ride/Walk and social hour. On foot and by pedal, we enjoyed scenic rail trails, exploring the natural beauty surrounding our nation’s capital. Participants joined us for a 3.5-mile walk/ride or a 17-mile ride around the city of Washington, DC. After the ride/walk, we gathered at Founding Farmers for a snack, shared stories, and continued the fun!

We ended the conference with an incredible keynote session, a couple of engaging policy panel discussions, and closing remarks. This included, A Sustainable Circular Economy: A Call to Action, Policy Panel Discussion: Breaking Down the Systemic Roadblocks: Improving Permitting and Siting, Educating the Public and Accelerating Implementation for a More Just and Equitable Future, Policy Panel Discussion: Workforce Transformation: Re-Training and Empowering a Diverse Workforce. We then held our Chapter Forum for all of our chapters to come together to discuss state policies, how to continue to reach the young generation, and overall best practices to continue our vision of a world equitably and sustainably transformed to 100% renewable energy.

Thank you again to everyone who joined us in person or virtually! Your presence and participation helped make our 53rd Annual National Solar Conference a success, and we truly appreciate your time and support. Stay tuned about next year’s conference, SOLAR 2025, soon!

Urgent Call to Action

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