The Solar Electric Power Association is inviting utilities from every point on the solar power learning curve to come to San Diego, California, April 27-29 for the Utility Solar Conference (USC).
The annual meeting brings together power providers interested in improving, expanding or developing a viable long-term solar strategy. Because registration is restricted to employees of utilities only, attendees will have the opportunity to share their experiences and exchange ideas in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.
Solar from the utility perspective
The agenda offers something for everyone from business managers to engineers to customer service representatives, exploring such key areas as:
- Solar programs and business models
- Strategic planning and procurement
- Technology and integration
- State of the market and trends
The opening general session on Tuesday morning is a regulatory roundtable on The Impact of Solar on Evolving Electricity Markets. Discover how the rise of affordable renewable energy is disrupting the ‘business as usual’ approach to regulating electricity. Utility regulators will discuss what is driving recent policy initiatives in their respective states, and offer insight on the most significant challenges and opportunities facing the electric utility industry.
After getting the big picture from the opening roundtable, prepare to focus on the issues that are most important to your job. Sessions are offered in concurrent tracks designed to examine three topics in detail:
- Connecting with customers examines the consumer’s role in the growth of distributed generation, and how utilities can get out in front of changing expectations.
- Utility business models explores solar market trends, rate design and different strategies for developing and owning generation projects.
- Solar and the grid tackles interconnection questions and looks at how changes in micro-grid, storage and inverter technology might affect utility business.
The USC officially kicks off with a networking reception on Monday evening, but those who arrive early can sign up for an inside look at innovative projects.
Join the 2015 USC Solar Tour, April 27, to explore the “living laboratory” that is the Borrego Springs micro-grid. San Diego Gas & Electric operates this demonstration project that shows how a small community interacts with distributed generation. The second half of the tour focuses on the concentrating photovoltaic technology of the 6.3-megawatt Desert Green plant.
Participants who are interested in what solar can do for their communities may want to learn about SEPA’s partnership with GRID Alternatives. The flagship program installs solar power for low-income families across the United States and offers volunteers and job trainees hands-on solar installation experience. This is an excellent opportunity to experience a solar install up close while providing an incredible service to the community.
After the conference is over, stick around one more day to expand your knowledge about the challenges of putting renewables onto the electric grid. SEPA is offering a new one-day Solar Integration Workshop where utility professionals can explore transmission issues with technology vendors and researchers together to explore the effective integration of solar power into the electric grid. Expect a lively, interactive discussion that draws upon results of solar integration technology demonstrations, pilots and commercial deployments.
A little more incentive
It is fitting that the state that has made so many strides in solar deployment and technology should host SEPA’s Utility Solar Conference. Attendees can expect to meet and network with utility professionals whose extensive experience in dealing with solar issues makes them experts in their own right.
And then there is the beautiful city of San Diego, worthy of spending a few extra days on exploration of nearby attractions. The conference will take place at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, with a stunning 18-hole golf course that inspired SEPA to plan its first-ever golf tourney. Even if you can’t spare time before or after the conference, you can still soak up the California sun on the links—as long as you reserve your spot soon.
Source: Western’s Green Power News, 3/16/15