This year Solar Canada — the country’s largest solar-energy conference — was held in western Canada for the very first time. The host organizations, the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) and Hannover Fairs (Canada) Inc., were attracted to the area as it’s quickly becoming the country’s fastest-growing market for new renewable energy — with Calgary emerging as a leader in clean technology. Nearly 1,800 solar energy professionals, stakeholders, and advocates went to Calgary, June 20-21, for Solar Canada 2018, which focused on what’s driving growth in the solar-energy industry, including insight into the policy frameworks of Canada’s provinces.
“Calgary was selected due to the market’s interest in solar energy,” Jessica Ward, show director of energy events at Hannover Fairs, tells PCMA. “The province of Alberta has opened their doors to enabling and empowering companies and residents to go solar.”
For instance, through the province’s $36-million Residential and Commercial Solar Program, homeowners can receive up to 30 percent off solar panel installation costs, for a maximum rebate of $10,000, and businesses and nonprofit organizations are eligible for up to 25 percent off system costs, with a maximum rebate of $500,000.
Solar Canada 2018 featured 90 exhibitors, a PV installation competition, and education on the show floor. It was such a success that the event will return to Calgary in 2019, May 8-9. “Calgary’s hospitality has been overwhelming,” says Ward. “The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) has an incredible campus and organized a BBQ for our conference delegates. We sought out as many local tie-ins as possible.” In addition to SAIT, Solar Canada utilized the clean energy resources at the University of Calgary, like its solar racing car. “It was a fun way to highlight one of Calgary’s local success stories. They are an award-winning team that competes in the World Solar Challenge.”
In addition to Solar Canada, the Canadian Wind Energy Association Conference (CanWEA) will be in Calgary at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park, Oct. 8-10, 2019. The organization represents the country’s wind-energy industry, promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind-powered energy solutions. The nonprofit’s annual conference in Calgary is expected to attract more than 1,200 wind-energy professionals — from manufacturers to consultants to service providers — for three days of networking and education. CanWEA 2019 will feature more than 130 exhibitors and 50 expert speakers from within the industry.
“Overall, everything was great,” Ward says of her experience hosting an event in Calgary. “Meetings & Conventions Calgary is such a great resource and local champion. We look forward to returning to Calgary in October for the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s Annual Conference and Exhibition.”