Bluebird skies over University of Colorado-Denver and Tivoli student union, a progressive campus with numerous examples of water and energy conservation. © Spring Hericks, ASES The Sun Shines in Denver By Mark Chalom I n October 2017, two important, exciting events— the American Solar Energy Society’s annual conference and the Department of the Energy’s Solar Decathlon—were held at the same time in Denver, Colorado. 10 SOLAR TODAY | WINTER 2017/2018 The American Solar Energy Society’s 46th Annual National Conference The ASES conference is an event long-regarded for delivering cutting-edge research and valuable trends and analysis to the solar and renewable energy community. This year’s theme was Building a 100% Renewable Energy Community. It was fascinating listening to technical papers with an interdisciplinary and multi-directional approach. The DOE’s Solar Decathlon is a competition amongst colleges from around the country and two European schools. The goal is to explore the latest technologies to design and build a sustainable, net-zero energy home that generates its own power to take care of all energy needs, including an electric car. Both events demonstrated that a carbon-neutral society is achievable and can support a comfortable lifestyle. New Mexico, my home state, was well represented with 11 registered, including 4 presidents of the New Mexico Solar Energy Association (NMSEA, http:/ / nmsolar.org). I drove to Denver with Gary Vaughn, one of NMSEA’s former presidents. On the way we passed large fi elds of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and multiple large three-bladed wind generators—all generating electricity and adding to the renewable energy (RE) portfolio. We talked about this now becoming a norm, replacing smokestacks and scarred lands.