Ottawa, Canada and Chicago — With 80 exhibitors, the annual Solar Canada conference and exposition which took place from December 7-8, 2015 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center drew a crowd of more than 2200 registrants who previewed the latest solar energy technology, and made key investment and new project decisions. The theme of the two-day conference was “transformation,” where the reform of the electricity sector and the mainstreaming of solar technology were explored.

The Solar Canada conference program and learning pods looked closely at issues such as policy and market development, utility and regulatory reform and technical solutions for the operation of distribution and transmission networks with high penetrations of solar generation. As a result, this year’s show garnered rave reviews from exhibitors and visitors.

“Solar Canada 2015 made it clear that the solar industry is thriving,” said John Gorman, President & CEO of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA). “As electricity grids across the globe continue to transform in the 21st century, we expect to realize the full potential of innovation in solar energy technology, further cost reductions and increased investment in solar across North America and the world’s electricity systems.”

Conference and Learning Pods Promote Lively Discussions
With transformation as its lead theme this year, keynote speaker, Lisa Frantzis, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), told a packed audience that “business as usual is not sustainable for the 21st century” and to expect 2016 to be a year of big changes for the electricity sector in the United States. Ms. Frantzis drew lessons learned from New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, whose goals include engaging customers and animating markets. Utility reform is making more flexible, efficient and resilient grids, and similarities between the U.S. and Canada will drive power sector reform in Canada.

Other featured keynote speakers this year included Ontario MPP Bob Delaney, Michael Lyle, Vice President, Planning, Law and Aboriginal Relations of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and Trevor Birtch, Mayor of the City of Woodstock, Ontario, who spoke on his community’s commitment to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Solar Canada, organized by the Canadian Solar Industries Association and Hannover Fairs Canada, a Deutsche Messe subsidiary, also featured breakout sessions on projects, market developments, and the technical transformation of the grid to accommodate the world’s solar future. The show floor was animated by learning pod workshops, covering topics such as solar thermal, net zero energy homes, new electrical code requirements, and public engagement on renewables and the environment.

Commenting on the success of this year’s event, Larry Turner, CEO of Hannover Fairs, said, “Solar Canada exhibitors and visitors recognize that innovation in technology is making it easier for companies of all sizes to finance their solar projects. We expect to see the industry thrive in North America and will continue to work with CanSIA to create the best annual showcase for global solar energy leaders and technology providers to network and discuss their vision.”

Exhibitors Generate New Business Opportunities on the Show Floor
Craig Ballard, CEO of Canadian Energy, Canada’s stored and renewable energy expert, said, “During our last two years exhibiting at Solar Canada, Canadian Energy has been very successful securing new business leads, and we are confident that we generated a good return on our show investment. Solar Canada attracts visitors from across Canada, the United States and outside of North America. Because our exhibit draws so much traffic during the run of the show, we know Canadian Energy will secure valuable global networking and new business opportunities, including new collaborative projects from partner and supplier introductions. This year, Canadian Energy’s overriding showcase was our complete renewable energy systems with a special focus on turn-key off-grid solutions, which we highlighted with the introduction of PWRstation mobile and portable solar arrays.”

Bart Geleynse, Senior Business Development Manager of Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc. (RES), a leader in the development and construction of solar, wind, transmission, energy storage, and demand side management projects around the world, has exhibited at Solar Canada for the last four years. He said about this year’s show, “We know that during Solar Canada we will connect with a broad spectrum of stakeholders across our network, from our supply chain to potential partners and project owners. In particular, we found that those attending Solar Canada represent an increasingly pan-Canadian demographic with a keen interest in our versatile product and service offering. Because RES has been on the leading edge of energy storage in North America, CanSIA also asked us to speak to the value of energy storage and renewable energy generation during one of this year’s learning pods. This proved to be a very worthwhile endeavor and an opportunity we would look to take advantage of again at future conferences.”

Archie Haslauer, Founder of Kinetic Solar, the Ontario-based provider of Solar racking and mounting solutions, said about exhibiting at Solar Canada, “The show helps Kinetic Solar reach new business and distribution opportunities across the United States. Solar Canada is one of our leading trade show investments. Kinetic Solar generally secures 30- 40 new business contacts from Canada and the United States. As for international business, we just sent our first container of solar applications to Peru based on a new business connection we made at the show in previous years.”

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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