Many thanks to WE Energies and the awesome folks in their Renewable Energy department for sending us out to the solar power conference this year! This was an excellent opportunity for me to immerse myself in the world of solar and try to learn as much as possible.
Ever since my 7th grade science research report on solar energy was published circa 1981, I've long had a fascination with harnessing the sun's power. It was great to have the chance to attend THE industry trade show on solar. Everything that is happening with solar technology is incredibly inspiring.
It was definitely a treat to hear Ted Turner speak, but the many panel sessions were also excellent. I attended a session with California builders who are making solar a standard feature in many of their developments-how cool is that! Solar hot water is something that I wasn't very familiar with prior to attending the conference-I attended a session on this technology and I now have some familiarity with how this solar thermal works and is being applied in residential and commercial applications. I was inspired by what Macy's, Johnson & Johnson, eBay and Google are doing with solar power in their companies. Their stories about the greening of their companies were great.
Over the course of the week, I met many interesting folks here in the Long Beach, CA. I was amazed by the number of representatives from investment firms who were in town learning about the industry and looking for winning companies - I think this is a sign that this industry is healthy and a force. I met a policy maker from England, Miguel, who was at the conference to learn about the industry in the states and to promote feed-in-tariff policy to help further stimulate and promote the industry. I met a few Badgers who are working in the solar industry as well-one guy who works for an installation/integration firm in Washington state and one recent UW-Madison graduate who is working for BP-Solar in SoCal. All-in-all, I found this to be an extremely positive and friendly group of people who take a great deal of pride in what they are doing for this important industry.
Solar has the potential to help with so many of the challenges facing our world today and going forward. It is something that can greatly benefit the energy needs of the 1st world, 2nd world, 3rd world and future world-best of all, it is a CLEAN energy technology. Ted Turner's quote, "We should stop dropping bombs and starting giving out solar panels," is a sound bite that will resonate with me for quite some time. I look forward to sharing my experience from the conference with the students and teachers at University School.
In one of the sessions I attended a presenter showed the photograph included in this post...to me, this sums up the value and importance of solar for our planet. Do you know what this photo is all about??