After returning from San Francisco, I’ve had a chance to think about the Photon PV Technology show. This show was hosted at the Moscone Center, which also hosts the rapidly expanding Intersolar show each summer. Other than location and industry, these two shows have little in common.
With only 6 active aisles, the Photon show was easy for most visitors to cover in only half of a day. Since many exhibitors chose not to bring equipment, there wasn’t really a lot to see either. The silver lining to all of this to a visitor – you could spend a good amount of time at almost any booth you wanted without feeling rushed or distracted by a crowd of people. It was a good atmosphere to discuss technology.
I like to see other versions of the products I work with, so it was a let down to only see one booth with tabbing ribbon at the bottom of a display, and no solar sputtering targets (there was 1 target there, but it was aluminum – used to show equipment utilization.)
The price to just attend the show was almost nothing ($29) although that doesn’t cover the exciting part the technical conference. It’s common to charge extra for admission to the tech sessions at shows, but over $600 per day for 3 days (if my memory serves me correctly) is a huge burden on an engineer that needs to justify that cost to his boss. In my opinion the conference attendance was crippled by this cost.
Will this show survive? After discussing this question with others at the show, the idea of combining the Photon USA and APEX shows began to sound very logical. The point was made during discussion, that APEX is starting to have a small solar focus and the Photon attendance seems to fill that need. Another good argument for the combination is that some of the OEM engineers and material suppliers go to APEX anyway, this is a good way to eliminate one costly trip.