All Energy is the last major conference on the Australian solar industry calendar. Thank goodness.
This two day conference, now in it’s third year has become a must do event in my humble opinion. Great crowds, good presentations and most importantly, a great conversations abounded. personally, I think this free to enter format is a winner; bringing loads of quality “boots” to what is now arguably the biggest PV trade show in the country.
The downside for me is the ten steps issue. I literally could not take ten steps without bumping into to someone I knew, someone I wanted to know, or something I wanted to learn about. It was infuriating because 2 days simply wasn’t enough time to fit it all in but hey, thats conferences.
Day one was about getting the vibe and checking out who was on show. Summing it up, there was a good vibe; enough new stuff to keep it interesting and stimulate some new angles on products and technology (micro inverters everywhere, PV Thermal products, some new storage technology and enough LED products to light up the opera house) and bewilderingly, yet more PV brands that we have never seen before ready to enter Australia.
The regular companies were there too, keeping brand strength up to speed but there are a lot of events – perhaps too many so some of the majors were noticeable in their absence. I think this event might just be too big to miss now and fr those I spoke to, the quality of visitors was really high, making the investment worthwhile.
For me though, it was all about the conversations. I met with a myriad of industry players, large and small old and new eager to talk endlessly about the prospects for our industry. Whilst the market is clearly in a temporary lull, optimism remains high driven by low PV prices and the prospect of emerging new opportunities.
On Wednesday night I met with a client whom I greatly admire. I heard stories of innovation, challenges and the seemingly endless barriers to Commercial PV; it seems that the network companies in particular have plenty of energy left to creatively find ways to slow the uptake of PV, but no-one I spoke to was giving up. Our dinner conversation over Melbourne’s infamous China town dumplings inevitably left us both eager to dig deeper and so, despite my better judgement, we found our selves in Hells Kitchen. A hole in the wall bar, upstairs down a shady alley turned out to be the home of some boutique whiskey and the chance to solve the worlds PV problems.
Day 2 and despite the fog of a log night, I made a breakfast meeting with a world class emerging PV manufacturers with some strong views on quality, reliability and how our market really needed to address the “tsunami of shit” that we are being swamped with. Crass (I’m sorry) but honestly, how much unknown, poorly made, no name PV do we really want in our country? We are going to have a hell of a price to pay as products continue to fail and give our industry a bad name; and it has just started. My new personal mission is going to be working out how to lift reliability standards in this country and force through some new controls on responsibility for ongoing reliability.I’m over it.
I spent the day flitting between meetings, more “ten step” conversations and trying to take it all in. the end of my day was a debrief with some great REC brokers; discussing the issues around the RET and learning more about new products. A quick dinner and I dashed off to catch up with my daughter for a drink and we found ourselves in another back alley bar listening to 4 young guys belting out an astounding Jimi Hendrix-like set before they lost their mojo and morphed into some sort of out of tune Aerosmith-like disaster.
All up, just a bit like our PV market; burgeoning with potential moments of brilliance but not quite there yet.
This article first appeared at Solar Business Services. Reproduced with permission.