SPI 2014: The Ultimate Itinerary for Growing Your Customer Community


By Michael Bishop
PV Solar Report Contributor

SPI 2014 is next week in Las Vegas! These Exhibiters, Sessions, and Parties will help you get more from SPI and Grow Your Customer Community (GYCC).


Star These SPI Exhibiters on Your Map

Of the 579 exhibitors, here are 10 that call for stars on every PV Seller’s hall map.

OnGrid!     booth 4811
Legit analysis and presentation software for PV Sellers. We’d love to talk about selling solar, and how OnGrid and other resources out there can fast-track your resounding success. Please visit us!

NABCEP       booth 2331
The industry’s gold standard for PV Seller certification. Visit NABCEP to learn how the NABCEP stamp of excellence will help set you apart and GYCC.

SEIA and SEIA State Chapters    booths 4718 and 5321
Trade association that sets the record straight for policymakers and helps the industry stay robust. Visit SEIA to learn how SEIA membership (and commitment to the industry) will help you GYCC.

SEPA     booth 4915
Trade association that helps U.S. utilities transition to a solar-powered nation. Visit SEPA to learn how fostering a constructive relationship with your service-territory utilities will help you GYCC.

Solar Energy International     booth 2330
A cherished solar educational organization, at it since 1991. Visit SEI to learn how they can help you ace the NABCEP technical sales exam, with workshops and textbooks featuring OnGrid’s Andy Black.

Greentech Media     booth 3913
One of the industry’s most respected news and research organizations. And home of the excellent Energy Gang podcast. Visit Greentech to learn how staying aware of the bigger picture will help you better serve your customers and GYCC.

Renewable Energy World     booth 5316
Stellar solar news site and host of insightful bloggers (we never miss Solar Fred’s posts). Visit REW to learn how starting a customer-oriented blog or podcast series would help you earn trust and GYCC.

Admirals Bank     booth 3704
A leading national provider of the FHA Title 1 loan for residential solar. Visit Admirals Bank, make a loan option available to your customers, and GYCC.

Folsom Labs     booth 4406
Commercial PV System Design for tomorrow’s solar industry. Visit Folsom Labs to learn how their design tool (HelioScope) can save you time and hassle, and yes, GYCC.

But our list could go on (the latest hardware innovations will cover the floor like Halloween candy). Visit OnGrid’s booth for help with planning your exhibit hall trek.

Put These SPI Sessions On Your Calendar

We caught ourselves marking off almost every session as a must-attend. But we’ll keep this list to our top 5.

Mainstreaming Solar Energy    Tuesday 9-10
What innovations and collaborations are catapulting solar onto center stage? The star panel includes Paul Nahi (Enphase CEO), Shayle Kahn (GTM Research Senior VP), and Billy Parish (Mosaic President).

The Net Metering Debate    Tuesday 1-2
Does Net Metering really hurt rate payers, or is that just a self-serving antic of status quo guardians? CEC Commissioner David Hochschild and national lab experts will tell us the real story one way or another.

Stronger Business Model – Vertical Integration or Network?    Tuesday 2:30-3:30
Oxford-style debate with audience vote for winner! Executives from SolarCity, Deutsche Bank, CPF, SunEdison, and Direct Energy will don their gloves for a lively and important debate.

Wednesday Morning’s General Session    Wednesday 9-10
An “interactive ‘talk-show’ atmosphere” panel involving SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive and moderated by the razor-sharp Keith Martin? Sandwiched between speeches by U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and U.S. Senator Harry Reid? Yes!

Solar Startup 2.0: Accelerating Startups    Thursday 9-10
PV Sellers have unique insights on industry shortcomings and opportunities. How about creating a startup on the side to make your game-changing ideas reality? SfunCube CEO Emily Kirsch and other startup enablers will cover tools, networks, and investors that can help you make that happen. Cheaper and faster.

Full session schedule here. But don’t forget the exhibit hall! Session recordings will be available!

Put These SPI Parties On Your Calendar

SPI 2014 reaches far beyond the convention center. Let’s show Las Vegas how the solar industry gets down! Here are a few of the parties we hope to see you at.

The Block Party     Paris Las Vegas
The grand SPI bash. Everyone and their donkey will be here Tuesday night. Included in full conference registration, or tickets available here.

Tweetup     networking area
If you use Twitter to engage with the solar community and grow your brand equity, meet up with the industry’s twittersphere heavies on Wednesday at lunchtime. Because you can’t drink beer together on Twitter. RSVP here.

#SolarChat Unplugged     The Mirage
Passionate solar people hanging out in a nightclub designed by Cirque du Soleil with The Beatles in mind. Yup. Brought to us by a first-class ensemble including PVSolarReport. Wednesday night. RSVP here.

Heatspring meetup     educational posters area (booth 5100)
Engaging online educators are also engaging in-person conversationalists! Hang out with the Heatspring crew before Wednesday’s evening events. Optional RSVP here.


One last tip. Just remember. What happens in Vegas … stays on Twitter forever. 🙂


MichaelBishopMichael Bishop is here to help PV Sellers grow their customer communities and love their work. He’s been with OnGrid since 2006, where he’s led software development since 2007 and business development since 2012. Michael loves teaching solar economics to PV Sellers, and has taught workshops for CALSEIA, SolPowerPeople, and others. Michael is excited to continue contributing to the solar industry. Ideally under the OnGrid banner forever. He strongly supports a thriving network of community-based solar companies. His OnGrid office is based in the SfunCube, in Oakland CA.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed on this site by persons not affiliated with PV Solar Report reflect the judgment of the author and not necessarily that of PV Solar Report.