Since 2009 at SPI in Anaheim, I’ve hosted a solar “Tweet up” at Solar Power International. What’s a Tweet up? Quite simply, it’s a live gathering of solar people across the country who regularly share solar information on Twitter.

Twitter is all about engagement. If you mainly sit back and watch Tweets or just ReTweet (RT) others without comment, then you’re either very new to Twitter or you’re not using its full potential to connect with customers—and other solar companies. So, having a solar Tweet up is another way we engage. Virtual social networking becomes real social networking, and of course, this can be very valuable personally, as well as for the companies we represent.

I think that’s really why the Tweet up has grown so much since 2009. Back then, about 30 solar “Tweeps” met at the Anaheim Hilton Lounge, and we were finally speaking to each other face-to-face in full sentences that were not limited to Twitter’s 140 characters. We put down our cellphones and picked up glasses of beer, and although some of us were competitors, we exchanged solar marketing stories, as well as personal stories. We were not just Twitter addicts, but solar advocates, and we all shared a passion for spreading the word about solar.

By 2012 in Orlando, the solar industry had grown, and so had the Tweet up. The casual “let’s all meet at a bar at this time” gathering had grown to 100 people, and it was becoming a little overwhelming for the bar that we spontaneously converged on. Renewable Energy World and Raina Russo of Twitter’s “#SolarChat” were also co-hosts, so word about the gathering spread even faster. It was time to reserve a room for 2013, but that meant we needed a sponsor…or two.


Join us at Kitty O’Shea’s in Chicago.

And so I’m happy to report that microinverter company Enphase (@Enphase) and solar intstaller REC Solar (@RECSolar) stepped up to the plate in a big way for the SPI 2013 Tweet Up. Not only are they reserving a private room at Kitty O’Shea’s, but the event is also no longer BYOW (Bring Your Own Wallet). From 8pm to 10pm, there will be an open bar and appetizers courtesy of @Enphase and @RECSolar, so if you join us, please thank them with a Tweet—or better yet, in person.

There will also be other mini-events at the Tweetup, including a raffle that benefits the Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund for women in solar. If you don’t know about Heather (a.k.a. @PVAddict), she was at the first Tweetup and a great solar advocate, educator, and installer, but passed away unexpectedly. You can learn more about her here. Please consider buying a raffle ticket.

Why do we Tweet up? It’s not for the free food and booze. It’s to create deep solar industry connections so that we can all communicate more effectively and work together to grow this industry. Join us in Chicago. Details below.

What:        The Solar Power International 2013 Tweet Up

Where:      Kitty O’Shea’s in the Hilton Chicago Hotel

   720 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

When:       Wednesday, October 23, 2013 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)


Hashtag:  #SPICon Tweetup