In September, I had the opportunity to attend RE+ – the largest renewable energy conference in North America. Mower is fortunate to have several fierce friends who operate in or adjacent to this industry, and a colleague and I attended the show on their behalf and to learn what’s new in this growing industry. Here are my top takeaways from the show:
The Industry is Booming
With more than 40,000 attendees and 1,350 exhibitors, the energy (pun intended) was palpable from the moment the expo hall doors of Las Vegas’s The Venetian opened. 2023 marked the largest RE+ event to date, and there’s no reason to expect a slow down any time soon.
The transition to a clean energy economy is expected to create millions of new jobs in the coming years. That was certainly true at RE+, where just about every exhibitor I spoke with was looking for qualified talent in addition to marketing their solutions at the show. There are so many opportunities for businesses and individuals to develop new products and services to support this energy transition. As the industry continues to mature, it will need the support of a workforce that is becoming smarter in renewable energy technologies.
I was encouraged by the young and eager workforce at RE+. An overwhelming sense of collaboration and knowledge sharing permeated the show: from the Grand Prix with student-designed model fuel cell powered cars to the educational sessions to installers and distributors who want to learn more about the products they sell and service.
Solar…and So Much More
The RE+ Conference used to be called Solar Power International, but it’s clear why the name change was necessary after spending just a few minutes walking on the show floor. Yes, there were lots of solar companies showcasing their panels, but I was struck by how many exhibitors were pushing solutions beyond solar panels, including hydrogen, wind energy, storage, electric vehicles, heat pumps, and more.
In fact, RE+ reported a nearly 70% increase in exhibitors this year over last. While this growth is a tremendous sign for the future of the renewable energy industry, it also shows that more players are entering this space at a breakneck pace. That creates both a challenge and an opportunity for clean energy marketers. Establishing your brand and what sets you apart from all the others is imperative as new competitors emerge on a seemingly daily basis.
A Team Effort
Conversations between colleagues, friends, partners and competitors at the show centered around how much the renewable energy industry has already achieved and how much room there still is for significant growth. Emerging from those conversations are a few key areas that are building the future of clean energy, including:
- Incentivized renewable energy projects through the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA),
- The rise of hydrogen as a clean fuel to generate electricity, power vehicles and produce heat, and
- Growing interest in electrification in both residential and commercial settings.
What strikes me about the above list is how it brings together so many entities – government leaders, developers, manufacturers, installers, distributors, homeowners, and more – to continue pushing this industry forward.
As 40,000 strong at RE+ 2023 can attest, the renewable energy industry is working together to build the future.