How To Profit from California?s Solar Power Boom

In his 2012 State of the State speech on Jan. 18, California Governor Jerry Brown said the Golden State is on track to meet »and substantially exceed« a requirement he signed into law last year for utilities to supply 33 percent of their retail electric sales with renewable resources by 2020.

Solar energy is poised to play a central role. While about 2 GW of solar energy photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) projects are currently on line in California, more than 3 GW of large-scale solar projects are under construction and around 10 GW have requested permission to connect to the California Independent System Operator’s wholesale transmission grid.

It’s clear that solar companies worldwide have heard the news about California’s solar gold rush. But just like in the days of the original gold rush, there will be winners and losers. PHOTON – the world’s leading solar publisher – is hosting its 7th Solar Electric Utility Conference in San Francisco on Feb. 2 to explore the future of California’s solar market and opportunities for participating in it.

The conference brings together utilities that plan to rely heavily on solar to meet California’s 33-percent Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with the regulators tasked by Gov. Brown to implement the program, as well as companies contracted to supply multiple terawatt-hours of solar power, the grid operator in charge of integrating that power into the transmission network and the financiers backing billions of dollars of projects.

The program features high-level speakers from:

BrightSource Energy Inc. – Udi Helman, director
California Energy Commission – Carla Peterman, commissioner
California Independent System Operator – Jim Blatchford
California Public Utilities Commission – Joe Como, director
CleanPath Ventures – Matt Cheney, CEO
Citigroup – Mike Eckhart, managing director
First Solar – Brian Kunz, VP
GE Energy – Brandon Owens, manager, strategic analysis
Lazard Capital Markets – Sanjay Shrestha, managing director
Pacific Gas & Electric – Aaron Johnson, director
Sacramento Municipal Utility District – Sherri Eklof
San Diego Gas & Electric – Jim Avery, SVP
SMA America Inc. – Jürgen Krehnke, president
Solar Electric Power Association – Julia Hamm, CEO
Solar Energy Industries Association – Sara Birmingham, director
SunPower Corp. – Julie Blunden, EVP
Quanta Power Generation – Chris Laursen, CEO

To view the current program, register or find directions to the event, please go to:


PHOTON’s 7th Solar Electric Utility Conference is part of PHOTON’s Solar Terawatt-hours Conference Series USA. This year’s 2-day US conference series, which includes four events (on thin films, PV safety, inverters and utility-scale solar) takes place on Feb. 1-2, 2012, at the University of California, San Francisco’s Mission Bay Conference Center (