Forget Armani suits, Versace scarves and Prada purses. The latest fashion to hit Milan issolar

Europe's largest solar conference, the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, has brought sun worshipers to the city for the 22nd annual event, which continues through Friday.

The event, sponsored by the European Commission (EU) and others, is one of the largest solar gatherings in the world.

WIP-Renewable Energies, the Munich-based project developer that runs the event each year, hasn't yet released registration numbers. But it expects visitors from more than 75 countries to attend the 1,000 presentations that make up the scientific conference and the 450 booths in the industry exhibit halls.

Solar-industry attendees are coming to find out about the latest research - and to scope out possible partners and competitors.

This year, Greentech Media expects the big issues to include:

The shortage of solar-grade silicon, or polysilicon, and technologies that use it more efficiently


Regulations that could drastically change the balance of solar power in Europe and in the United States

Upcoming competition from lower-cost manufacturers in China.
How solar prices might change in the next few years

The trend of solar acquisitions, which some call "consolidation" and others call "integration."

Attempts to make solar power easier (and cheaper) to install.