In its 10th year, the Solar Power International conference in Los Angeles, on Oct. 14-15, is on course to be the largest commercial solar event in the world.

The conference, sponsored by the Solar Electric Power Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association, has grown every year since it started, and this year, sponsors expect more than 27,000 visitors and almost 1,100 vendor booths, said Monique Hanis, a spokesperson for the event.

With 15 percent more booths and 7 to 10 percent more visitors, Hanis said, event organizers are pleased.

“We’ve actually been having issues finding hotel rooms for everyone,” Hanis said.

There’s no wonder the event is expected to be a blowout this year—the solar industry has experienced monumental growth.

Hundreds of thousands of kilowatts of solar panels went up in public and residential spaces this year.

“This is the show that encompasses every element of solar technology,” Hanis said.

Vendors from the public and residential sectors will be exhibiting new technologies in solar thermal, photovoltaic, and other methods of solar energy collection and distribution at the event.

The event will be free and open to the public Wednesday, Oct. 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

People from the public will be able to learn about the new technologies, talk with vendors and find out about installing solar at their homes and businesses. They will also be able to learn about how to get a job in the solar industry, Hanis said.

“Solar is a growing industry, and there’s been a lot of job growth already,” Hanis said. “Job growth in solar this year was 7 percent higher than we estimated it would be.”

One big sector for this year’s conference, Hanis said, is the utility-scale work. She said utility companies have broken ground on hundreds of major solar projects this year with many more in the pipeline for approval. She noted some of the huge public lands solar projects approved this year.

“We’ve had 74,000 public land leases for gas and oil extraction,” Hanis said. “But this is the first year the government has granted public land leases for solar development. That’s huge.” She said the western states richest in solar resources have a lot of public lands.

Hanis hopes the growth of the event will highlight the industry’s growth.

Source: Solar Feeds.

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