While 2011 looks to be a year of success and growth in the global solar industry, there are still challenges to be overcome before it breaks through into the mainstream.

Despite a challenging few years, the solar energy industry looks to be taking great strides towards establishing itself as a significant component of the globe’s energy mix.

In the US, venture capital backing of the solar sector is returning to pre-recession levels, with the first quarter of 2011 seeing investment soaring to nearly triple that of the previous period, according to recent research. And with this investment crucial to the continued innovation in the sector, the elusive goal of global grid parity could yet be achievable in the near future.

Installations in 2011 are on the rise in regions as geographically diverse as Italy and Australia, with investment supporting ever-larger solar energy projects. Yet despite some promising developments, continued growth will rely on the participation of energy industry incumbents, many of whom are still testing the waters.

With costs coming down at a steady rate, technologies from photovoltaics to concentrated solar power look set to become an established component of global energy generation far earlier than expected. However, significant hurdles still remain, with continued improvements vital in energy storage and grid connections if the world’s solar potential is to be adequately harnessed. Uncertainty surrounding policy and regulatory environments is also hindering wider development as investors remain wary of inconsistent and fluctuating market environments. Amidst a backdrop of continued uncertainty, the need for building networks and establishing partnerships will be vital to the sector’s future success.

With a selection of the solar energy industry’s most active and influential investors, company leaders, industry experts, entrepreneurs and technology pioneers coming together at NewNet’s Solar Energy Business Forum 2011, the event presents the ideal arena for addressing the key issues facing the sector. The event will be held in London on 21 June, and will be the pre-eminent meeting place for networking with the solar industry’s most active and influential investors, company leaders, industry experts, entrepreneurs and technology pioneers.

Speakers include representatives from leading industry players such as First Solar, Enfinity and Trina Solar, with more confirming every day.

The Forum will address key areas concerning the investment and project financing of the solar energy sector, as well as unveiling next-generation technologies and impacting regulation. Anyone who plans to invest or do business in the solar energy sector in 2011 should attend this event.

New Energy World Network (NewNet) is an organisation dedicated to the development of the environmental, clean technology and renewable energy sectors. Our mission is to inform and connect the global green investor, innovator and deal-maker community in order to facilitate new investment and business transactions across the entire scope of the industry. In addition to hosting major conferences and exclusive forums, we provide online information services, printed journals and research reports. We are passionate about our role and our contribution to the global ‘green’ economy – we are not a generalist conference company looking to jump on the green bandwagon.