One of my favorite things to do at trade shows is to walk around the exhibit floor to look for the newest technologies and players. Intersolar, one of the largest solar energy trade shows in the country that materialized in downtown San Francisco this week, is a good venue to do just that and this week I was able to peer into the future of solar technology across the show floor.
At the same time, the solar industry has been beset by an oversupply of solar panels in recent years and collapsing prices for over two years now, and dozens of solar module manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy or been sold cheaply in recent months. Dozens more have tried to hang on by cutting back their production significantly.
All of this has meant that many companies seem to have cut their trade show budgets, and the event was a decidedly smaller and quieter event than last year. In addition, I didn’t see a few technologies as prominently this year, particularly concentrating photovoltaic technology, which uses mirrors and lens to concentrate sun light onto tiny solar cells.
Here is a photo slide of some of the interesting products I did see at the show:
Images from the slideshow
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QBotix shows off its second-generation robot for tilting the solar panel to track the sun's movement.
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Solar-Log has developed monitoring software and displays that work with solar power management electronics from a variety of manufacturers.
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PanelClaw's gear exemplifies the super-sized mounting equipment for large solar power plants.
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New to the conference: a cluster of energy storage companies carve out their own spot.
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Sonnen-Batterie shows off a cabinet of lithium-ion batteries and electronics for battery management and communication with home appliances.
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Green Charge Networks marries lithium-ion batteries and equipment from outside suppliers with its own battery controlling software.
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Stem develops is own software and inverter to work with the lithium-ion energy storage system it sells.
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LeadSolar is a newcomer to the microinverter field. It launched its first product earlier this year.
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Shuttleworth offers conveyor machines to automate solar panel assembly.
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Qsolar has engineered a solar panel production process that forgoes several usual steps.
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Sunora, part of NRG Energy, is rolling out a solar canopy design.
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Recom understands that sex sells, even if we are just talking about solar panels.