The world's leaders in the solar energy industry will be gathering in less than a month in the city of Eilat at the southern tip of Israel to discuss a broad set of policies to support the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources. According to conference organizers, "Eilat is well out of the range of the rockets currently being fired into Israel" and none of the illustrious speakers have cancelled. It's a good thing, because the speakers will be tackling some of the biggest obstacles to large-scale implementation of renewables like solar and wind.
The city of Eilat is set to be the world's first fully solar-powered city. So far, 3000 acres have been set aside for a solar array that will provide virtually 100% of the city's energy needs. But as keynote speaker Arnold Goldman, founder of BrightSource Energy, makes clear, "shifting away from traditional power sources such as coal and oil will be a difficult, yet very necessary, process." His lecture will address “Barriers to Solar as the Predominant Source of Energy” setting the serious tone of the conference
, whose aim is to set the goals of an international renewable energy policy.
Israel has been at the forefront of solar energy research and development, particularly focused on cost-effective technologies and new ways of converting power. The government has tripled its alternative energy budgets and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure, recently announced plans to produce 20 percent of Israel's electricity via renewable energy resources by 2020. Israeli start-ups like Pythagoras, SolarEdge
and Solel, funded in large part by Silicon Valley money, have been making inroads that may overcome barriers to widespread adoption in the near future.
Other speakers include:
Ken Zweibel of George Washington U on his "Grand Solar Plan"
Gilbert Cohen, CEO of ELIASOL on “The First Thermal Power Plant of the 21st Century"
Aldo Steinfeld of the Solar Technology Lab in Zurich
Gary Conley CEO SolFocus in the USA
Ansif Ansari CEO of eSolar (which recently raised $130 million