At the Renewable Energy Expo and World Conference in Austin, Texas yesterday, solar energy received accolades from the editors and readers of the Renewable Energy World network of publications. The Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards are intended to recognize projects, people, and companies for “advancing the market for renewable energy in North America”.
Of the seven awards given out yesterday, six went to the solar industry. From Renewable Energy World:
Project of the Year – eSolar’s 5-MW Sierra SunTower
Utility-scale Renewables – Enbridge and First Solar’s 20-MW Sarnia Solar Project
Distributed and On-Site Renewables – Solyndra and Solar Power Inc’s 602-kW Rooftop CIGS PV Project for Costco
Building Integrated Renewables – Conserval Engineering’s 25-kW PV and 75-kW Thermal SolarWall Hybrid System at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University
Innovation in Renewable Energy – Enphase Energy’s Micro-inverter System
Leadership in Renewable Energy – For policy, Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association; and for technology Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, Founder and CTO of Suniva
Reader’s Choice Award – First Wind’s 203-MW Milford Wind Corridor
It’s great to see solar leadership honored in this way. Renewable energy technologies like geothermal and wind aren’t as sexy as solar is right now partly because they’ve had more legislative-and financial-backing over the years than solar; really, the solar energy industry is only now taking off in earnest. And while it’s growing so rapidly, innovations come quickly and development seems nearly exponential (unless you look at efficiency gains, but even there, progress is being made). Within this mad rush of growth, there truly are standouts, but the RE editors’ choices must have been tough: one awards ceremony certainly can’t distinguish them all.