Hydro team headed by President and CEO Eivind Reiten rubbed shoulders with more than 20,000 visitors at the world’s largest solar conference held in Valencia, Spain, this week, where 715 companies from across the solar value chain were showcasing their latest products and technologies to harvest the power of the sun.
The 23rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition is the key solar event of the year, giving Hydro the opportunity to strengthen relations with existing partners, make new friendships and assess the progress made by the competition in this fast-growing industry.
“This is the most important arena for solar energy in the world and gives us a unique opportunity to get a snapshot of where this exciting industry is today, which again gives us vital clues about where it is heading tomorrow,” Reiten said.
In Hycore, Hydro and Belgium’s Umicore has teamed up in a joint venture that produces solar-grade silicon. The company also has part-ownership in Ascent Solar, a Colorado-based company that produces super-thin, flexible solar cell modules, and in NorSun, which recently opened a factory producing monocrystalline silicon wafers in Årdal, Norway.
In addition, Hydro made a NOK 50 million investment earlier this year in Convexa, a Norwegian venture fond that concentrates on technology companies within solar energy.
The five-day event from September 1 to 5 consists of a packed program of presentations and lectures from the industry’s top players in addition to the giant exhibition.
On Tuesday, the Hydro delegation was complemented by Reiten and Executive Vice President for Energy Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup, who were guided through the exhibition floor by Einar Glomnes, head of Hydro’s solar energy business, and Jan Schelling, solar expert representing Hydro in Ascent, between industry meetings and get-togethers.
“Although solar energy is a relatively new industry, its framework includes several of our key areas of competence and experience, ranging from metallurgy to the industrialization of new technology,” Reiten said, explaining Hydro’s commitment to solar energy as a firm target area for the company.
“Solar energy is the right way to go for Hydro, just as Hydro is the right way to go for our partners within the solar industry,” he added.