The OFF-GRID Expo + Conference 2022 is the most important industry meeting of the international off-grid sector, and closes with a positive outcome and innovative, practical initiatives. More than 60 exhibitors from 12 countries presented their products during the two days of the exhibition and conference. Approx. 900 participants from 27 countries explored solutions, innovations and services for an off- grid power supply.
The fourth year of the OFF-GRID Expo + Conference (OEC) congress trade fair was held in Augsburg on December 1 to 2 and was again a great success with the well-attended specialist conference and numerous opportunities for networking. In keeping with tradition, the event kicked off on November 30 with the TechDay, which provided service sessions offering users in-depth insights into innovative products. Similar to last year, the OEC was held in a hybrid event format. The hybrid event format originally started with the Covid pandemic, and has proved to be excellent for the OEC, providing participants with an effective forum for discussions and networking, both on site and via an online platform.
The English-language OFF-GRID Conference is the highlight every year, and in 2022 the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) was again a conceptual partner for the conference. "One of the key takeaways from the conference was that companies and institutes involved in renewable energy are increasingly networking with each other across industries: whether e- mobility, agriculture, telecommunications or other sectors," said Jens Jaeger, the ARE Director of Policy and Business Development. "The conference demonstrated that the water-energy-nutrition nexus in particular, which aims to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was of immense benefit." Other highlights included notably the two sessions on women as entrepreneurs driving change and financing options in various forms, e.g. microfinance. Additional topics included innovative cooling applications, decentralized renewable energies and e-mobility, and energy storage solutions.
Exhibitors and visitors were unanimous in agreeing that networking is one of the most essential components of the OEC. "With the OFF-GRID Expo + Conference, we have created a platform where the key players in this highly specific industry can exchange ideas. It has shown the crucial importance of physical and human exchanges among participants. We are delighted that we were able to overcome the pandemic using a highly effective digital bridge, but are particularly pleased that, unlike last year, the majority of participants again attended in person and, for two days, turned Augsburg into the center for a self-sufficient power supply," says a thrilled Lorenz A. Rau, Managing Director of Messe Augsburg.
Bob Hopman, Sales Manager Germany of Victron Energy said: "It’s noticeable at the OEC that the market is experiencing strong growth; we had a bigger crowd at our stand than ever before, so demand is increasing. It is equally important for us to network with visitors, people attending the conference and other exhibitors - for us, this is one of the most important elements at the OEC. The professional standard of all the participants means that we can immediately engage in practical discussions. Another great strength of the OEC is, of course, its international focus.”
Michael Schmidt, Deputy Head of Office of UNIDO ITPO Germany, also clearly emphasizes the networking opportunities: "You won't find this at any other trade fair. Ultimately, at the OEC the exhibitors are just as much participants, because here everyone interacts with each other, exchanges ideas, and shares and presents their projects and innovations. Even those who are new to the sector integrate very quickly, as do the delegations we have organized. The OEC facilitates dialog between all the relevant stakeholders driving the process; this is vital for project development. This is the unique selling point of the OEC: because this is the forum for all those who are working on projects, and that’s why we’re here.”
The exhibition is held alongside the conference, and is an interactive social program with matchmaking and the Education Mile with several colleges and universities, as well as the Off- Grid Challenge, where students showcased their work in pitches and were awarded prizes.
The date for the next OFF-GRID Expo + Conference has already been set: the OEC will again take place in Augsburg from December 7 to 8, 2023.
The OFF-GRID Expo + Conference is the largest international conference and exhibition in Europe that focuses on the off-grid power supply sector, and is aimed at those interested in self-sufficient power and water supply and standalone solutions. The high-caliber, English- language trade congress with a trade fair focuses on all the themes relating to off-grid solar, wind and hydropower systems and a self-sufficient power supply, which are particularly important in rural areas and in aid to developing regions. The unique mix of trade fair, conference and networking offers the off-grid community a framework to initiate business transactions and knowledge transfer. The official conference partner of the event is the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE). Other partners include Phaesun, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO ITPO Germany) and the Afrika Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft (Africa Association of German Business).