Aloha! Welcome to the 7th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion at the stunning Hilton Waikoloa Village! Combining the 45 th IEEE PVSC, the 34 th EU PVSEC and the 28 th PVSEC with over 1200 presentations expected at this year’s conference. Being a special world edition, there will be plenty of highlights to make sure this is a memorable event in the PV calendar.
Many of us have already explored the wonders on offer in the Hawaiian islands and will continue to do so after the conference has finished. Also many of us have seen what an amazing backdrop the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort provides with sea turtles swimming in the hotel lagoon, dolphins to get up close with and outstanding facilities for all the aquatic fun you can handle.

WCPEC7 kicked off on Sunday with an exciting Tutorials Program! Over 300 participants attended across 10 topics given by leading experts in each field. The subjects covered included Fundamentals of Photovoltaics, Advanced Characterization, Success of PV in the Big Picture, Physics and Technology of Silicon Solar Cells, Thin Film Solar Cells, Utility Scale PV Power Plants, III-V Multijunction Solar Cells, Performance and Reliability of Solar Cells, Perovskite Solar Cells, and Solar Cell Module Characterization. The tutorials continue to offer valuable way for both students and experienced PV specialists alike to expand and deepen their expertise.

In the morning sessions Ned Ekins-Daukes worked through the Fundamentals of Photovoltaics, a subject we all need to re-visit from time to time, allowing attendees to get a firm grounding in our discipline and for some to tighten up their knowledge. Martin Schubert and Thorsten Trupke also took attendees the most cutting edge methods for characterizing solar cells, while Sarah Kurtz explored the success of PV in recent years, looking at the overall picture of what has been a stunning transformation. Ron Sinton and Daniel Macdonald gave attendees the benefit of their outstanding expertise in the physics and technology of silicon solar cells, an area that continues to provide surprising results even with the impressive work done through the years, and finally Angus Rockett took attendees through the thin film PV terrain, covering CdTe, CIGS, as well as a-Si/nc-Si to give a well rounded view on this area.

After a break for lunch and a chance to explore a little (or swim with a turtle) it was on to the afternoon sessions. The rapidly evolving area of perovskite solar cells was the subject of the tutorial provided by Sam Stranks and David Moore, while Frank Dimroth took attendees through the provocatively titled exploration of the potential for low cost, high efficiency III-V based multi-junctions. Muhammad Alam took attendees through the important issue of performance and reliability of solar cells, while Gerald Siefer and Yoshihiro Hishikawa looked at the issues for solar cell and module characterization with attendees. Finally, but not least, the integration of large scale PV was the subject of the tutorial provided by Daniel Riley and Mahesh Morjaria to round out a diverse offering for those attending.

A big Mahalo to all of those running the tutorials and in particular the chair Stephanie Tomasulo for giving so much of her time to ensure the tutorials proved so worthwhile for all of the attendees.  
This was all taking place on Sunday, but for those intrepid enough to make their way across the big island to Hilo were able to take part in Solar Day at the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, proudly sponsored by the Ulupono initiative. This was a great opportunity for the public to meet those working in PV and ask questions they have on incorporating solar power with their homes. Well done to all who attended and helped answer the questions that came up!
As part of this great chance to spread the word about the future of PV there was the High School Photovoltaic Design competition. We had 14 teams, 12 able to present at Solar Day: 6 from local schools in Hilo and Kailua-Kona, 5 from Arizona, 2 from Maryland, and one from Virginia. This huge student involvement would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Dr. Michelle Jordan and Dr. Rob Walters. Awards were given to the following outstanding projects:

Best Team Project: "Constructing a Permanent PV Charging Table" and "Charging Station Trailer", Wailakea High School, HI
Best in Solar Agriculture: "Aquaponics", Kealakehe High School, HI
Best in Solar Measurement: "Lilac: Module Testing", Basis High School, AZ
Best in Solar Market Innovation: "City of Solar: a Community System Proposal", QESST Youth Scholars, AZ

Most Improved Invention: "Solar Berry 2", Hayfield Secondary School, VA
Well done to everyone who took part, helped out and was there to show the bright future for PV. Maybe some of our winners will be making the next big breakthroughs in PV in the years to come.
Finally, there was the Mixer event for Early Career Researchers and Students, an outstanding networking event for those starting their research careers and a great deal of fun.
So the opening weekend of the 7 h WCPEC is done! Be sure to check out the rest of the daily highlights throughout the week! 
Be sure to stop by the EDS membership booth and Members lounge, located in the exhibit hall, next to the poster lounge by the stairs, to learn about the EDS membership promotion deals available to WCPEC-7 attendees. 
EDS members enjoy a host of important benefits including free, unlimited online access to the IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics. So stop by to learn more. Don't miss this opportunity to become part of the EDS community!