Preparations are now almost complete for the UK’s largest solar and clean energy exhibition Solar Energy UK | Clean Energy Live, held at the NEC in Birmingham from the 4 – 6 October.

Since 2010 and the creation of the FiT in the UK, Solar and clean energy installers have faced numerous periods of uncertainty. One thing is certain however, that dedicated companies in the sector have shown remarkable resilience and ability to innovate, creating new opportunities for driving profitability in their businesses.
Between COP21, Brexit and Hinkley’s approval, 2016 has been a heck of a year. It’s clear the clean energy industry needs a central place to meet to chart a path towards continued success driven by solar.
Solar Energy UK is that place.

The commercial rooftop market is showing signs of reaching its potential, while the recent flurry of activity in the PPA market has provided the industry with much confidence.

And if you speak with any developer with assets eligible for 1.2 ROCs, they’ll tell you that – at least for the next six months – they’re going to be anything but quiet.

The Energy Storage market is starting to shape up. Last month’s Enhanced Frequency Response tender results have got everyone in the storage community talking. At the residential scale distributors are now talking about collectively shipping hundreds of units each month, and there’s even some activity in the commercial battery storage market too. Sainsbury’s confirmed that it is currently trialling a battery storage system at one of its supermarkets ahead of a wider rollout, and the smart money is on other energy-savvy corporate customers following suit.

This activity is bleeding into other areas too, particularly for commercial end users looking to both decarbonise their operations and reduce their exposure to peak-time pricing and price volatility. On-site generation, the aforementioned PPA market, efficiency technologies and demand-side response are all of keen interest.

Early pre-registered visitor numbers for this year’s show appear to back this optimism up.

At the time of writing we’re tracking roughly 15% up on pre-registered visitors compared to last year, which was our biggest ever. We’re expecting more than 5,000 unique attendees to flock to the NEC in a fortnight’s time.

Building on from our successful Energy Storage Summit earlier this year, we’ve more than 35 exhibitors demonstrating their storage products and have added an energy storage theatre to the conference programme, designed specifically to provide installers with all the insight they need to break into the storage market.

We have built on last year’s success and have put together an event programme consisting of more than 110 industry-leading speakers. A must see will be our own Finlay Colville’s UK market update, during which he will run through precisely where the opportunities are for solar installers in 2017 and beyond.

On Wednesday 5 October our annual Solar Power Portal Awards event takes place. This year we welcome eight new categories incorporating our new Clean Energy Awards. Our host for the evening is stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr, who’ll help us recognise a year of industry success by handing out 14 gongs. Tickets are still available and selling fast, so why not join us for a drinks reception, three course meal and evening entertainment? If you’re interested, our remaining tickets can be purchased here

Our editorial team will be pounding the show floor bringing you all the exclusive news and developments as and when they happen through our traditional live blog and daily show blast, but this year also sees the introduction of Clean Energy Today, a daily newspaper delivered to the NEC every morning, recapping the show in an easily digestible format. Be sure to pick up a copy with your morning coffee. Advertising opportunities are still available, and those interested should contact Rachel McGhie.

Registration for Solar Energy UK | Clean Energy Live 2016 is – as ever – completely free of charge and takes no more than five minutes of your time. The online registration process can be found here.

Even if we do say so ourselves, this year’s show is shaping up to be every bit as unmissable as the ones that have preceded it, so why not join thousands of your peers and learn not just the current state of play in the industry, but also how to continue to do business in the months and years ahead.

We hope to see many of you in Birmingham in two weeks’ time!