Photovoltaic Conference and Exhibition Preview 2012

Significant photovoltaic (PV) conferences and events in 2012.
PV conferences and exhibitions remain in chronic oversupply.
When will the PV conference and exhibition shakeout result in consolidation or attrition?

In chronological order, here are the PV conferences I am interested in following or covering in 2012. As in past years, my focus remains technical conferences and business to business tradeshows, not regional marketing or sales events. However, I have found niche events more stimulating than the larger conferences and will consider those on an ad-lib basis. I will attend SNEC for the first time this year, and I hope to schedule some plant tours before the conference starts. The timing of EU PVSEC late in September is convenient for a pre or post conference trip to Oktoberfest in Munich (München) with the unwelcome side effect of higher airfares.

The San Francisco Bay Area has three events while Denver and Berlin sport two events each on the location alignment front.

For alternative Photovoltaic conference and event lists, please review’s PV Solar Exhibitions and Conferences, PHOTON International’s PV Event list,’s Event Calendar, or the pv magazine Event listings.


PHOTON’s Solar Terawatt-hours Conference Series USA 2012
February 1-2, 2012
San Francisco, California USA

PHOTON returns to the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF consolidating to two days with two separate conferences each along with the parallel Showroom format. An optional Evening Reception continues the networking into the evening of the first day.

PHOTON dropped the PV Start-up Conference in favor of the PV Inverter Conference on the second day.


Jefferies 2012 Global Clean Technology Conference
February 22-23, 2012
New York City, New York USA

In 2012, the Jefferies Group, Inc. (NYSE:JEF) invitation only, client event, the Global Clean Technology Conference “will highlight keynote speakers, panel discussions and presentations from over 100 leading public and private companies across the clean technology spectrum including industrial biotechnology / green chemicals, energy storage, smart grid, clean transportation, lighting & efficiency, solar, wind, water, geothermal and waste-to-energy.

I enjoyed the event last year even with the restrictive media policies and spoke with a few solar CEOs who are now ex-CEOs.


PVA west logo_CMYK
PV America 2012 West
March 19-21, 2012
San Jose, California USA

PV America West brings the regional Solar Power International event format pioneered in Philadelphia “to San Jose for three days of innovations, networking, education, insights and exhibits.” While this is a regional event, PV America West happens to be in my region, so I’ll have to check it out. I find it ironic I was unable to attend either PV America event in Philly.

The @PVAmerica event twitter handle and #PVAWest hash tag are quite acceptable!


PHOTON’s Solar Terawatt-hours Conference Series Europe 2012
March 26-28, 2012
Berlin, Germany

PHOTON’s Solar Terawatt-hours Conference Series 2012 Europe returns to Berlin in time for the political debate over proposed solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) reductions to reach a consensus. The conference lineup is the same with the Showroom and optional Evening Reception the first day but no Meeting Rooms offered.

As last year, the Berlin location should entice German politicians to speak and join the panel discussions. I imagine the Solar Silicon Conference will speculate and then decide how low spot and contract pricing will go in 2012.


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8. International Conference on Concentrating Photovoltaic Systems (CPV-8)
April 16-18, 2012
Toledo, Spain

CPV-8 jumps back over the pond to Spain after CPV-7 doubled down in Las Vegas. The first draft CPV-8 Conference Program “will be available in January.” I wrote a pair of posts on CPV-7 and can’t discuss it any further for obvious reasons. My broken toe was still healing, and I was trudging around the conference with the infernal boot.

The City of Toledo is on the World Heritage List, and my brother and I had a fun day trip to the town after the 25th EU PVSEC.



Greentech Media’s 2012 Solar Summit
May 1-2, 2012
Phoenix, Arizona USA

“For the fifth consecutive year, Greentech Media presents its successful Solar Summit. Bringing together leading solar companies, influential regulators and policymakers, forward-thinking utilities and bullish investors, the Solar Summit is a place where the industry comes to learn and do business.”

The 2012 Solar Summit event site should be up soon. In the meantime, please review the 2011 Solar Summit Post Event Coverage. Given the later timing, I wonder if Greentech Media Research will have some preliminary 1Q 2012 US market data on PV installations to share?


World Renewable Energy Forum 2012
May 13-17, 2012
Denver, Colorado USA

“EmPowering the World with Renewable Energy” is the theme combining the 41st American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Conference with the bi-annual World Renewable Energy Forum (WREF). WREF aims to provide “a unique opportunity for renewable energy enthusiasts from around the world to share experiences.”

#WREF2012 or #WREF12 is the natural conference twitter hash tag for the conference.


38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC 38)
June 3-8, 2012
Austin, Texas USA

PVSC 38 heads south to “The Live Music Capital of the World® – Austin, Texas”, for the premier US photovoltaic technical conference. The technical program continues to cover ten (10) core Areas with a parallel Exhibition. Abstracts are due by February 6, 2012.


Einfaches CMYKIntersolar Europe 2012
June 13-15, 2012 (Conference June 11-14, 2012)
Munich (München), Germany

Intersolar Europe’s engagement at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre extends to a fifth year. Celebrating its 21st year anniversary, Intersolar expects over 80000 visitors from more than 150 countries to attend the “World’s Largest Exhibition for the Solar Industry” “Connecting Solar Business” sprawled across sixteen halls or 180000 square meters of exhibition space. Here is the conference program outline, and Abstracts are accepted until February 8, 2012 (February 3, 2012 listed on the conference page).

Has the growth of Intersolar Europe plateaued?


Einfaches CMYK Intersolar North America 2012 / SEMICON West 2012
July 10-12, 2012 (Conference July 9-12, 2012)
San Francisco, California, USA

Intersolar North America (NA) is a distant second to SPI for exposure to the US solar market and may be challenged to fill the exhibition compared to 2011. The Intersolar NA conference program has been a highlight.

Intersolar NA will face new competition from PV America 2012 West for the hearts and minds of Bay Area solar companies and enthusiasts.


Solar Power International 2012 (SPI 2012)
September 10-13, 2012
Orlando, Florida USA

About one month earlier than usual, Solar Power International migrates to the Sunshine State in the southeastern US from Dallas, Texas. SPI has extended its lead as the number one United States Solar Expo and Conference. If you can only visit or budget a single US solar tradeshow, SPI 2012 is far and away the one to visit, exhibit, or learn more about solar and the US market.

SPI 2011 Conference session recordings are available free online for full conference attendees.

After the 2011 twitter hash tag revolt, I trust the SPI folks will get back to basics with either #SPI12 or #SPI2012? Let’s keep it real!


27th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference & Exhibition
September 24-28, 2012 (Exhibition September 25-28, 2012)
Frankfurt, Germany

The 27th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) slips south to Frankfurt from Hamburg with muted enthusiasm. EU PVSEC has a history of visiting different countries and cities throughout Europe. Italy or maybe France would have been the appropriate host country in 2012. I understand the exhibition size has made finding suitable venues difficult. Perhaps if the exhibition right sizes in 2012, this will no longer be a constraint?

Here is an “Overview of the EU PVSEC Event Site”, and it does look rather compact compared to Hamburg or Valencia. With major hotels next door, will companies opt for a cozy suite or meeting room over a full blown stand (booth) at the exhibition?

Americans can delight in getting to celebrate the US Labor Day holiday!


25th NREL Industry Growth Forum
October 23-25, 2012
Denver, Colorado USA

Organized by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the original renewable energy business plan competition resides in Denver. Here are the Program and Agenda from the 24th NREL Industry Growth Forum.


PVSEC-22 22nd International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference (PVSEC-22)
November 5-9, 2012
Hangzhou, China

The PVSEC-22 website is not live yet. Here is the event listing at Hangzhou is located about 179 kilometers southwest of Shanghai, China.

PVSEC-21 has information from last year’s event.


Solarpraxislogo 13th Forum Solarpraxis
November 22-23, 2012
Berlin, Germany

Aligning with the US Thanksgiving Day holiday for the first time in a few years, the 13th Forum Solarpraxis will “focus on the political environment, market developments, new international markets, financing and quality.” After Germany lost its lead PV market position to Italy in 2011, the big question for 2013 will be how relevant Germany is to the global PV market. German Feed-in Tariff uncertainty is still moving solar stocks in early 2012.

Everyone I’ve talked with is taking a very targeted approach to PV conference and expo selection and participation in 2012. Will this be the year of exhibition contraction?

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