5 Reasons the Cleantech Industry is Stronger Than Ever

This is a guest post from Vic Shao.

As a cleantech CEO who has received $12M in funding from the US Department of Energy, I feel compelled to assure the American public that your money has not been wasted. Thecleantech industry has not crashed, as the recent 60 Minutes piece asserted, but rather isstronger than ever. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

1. More Americans use clean energy than ever before.

The infamous crash of Solyndra was actually sign of a positive trend for solar consumers:a dramatic decrease in the cost per kWh. The majority of US solar jobs are concentrated infinancing and installation, not manufacturing. Cheaper panels has led to a boom in the US solarindustry, making 2013 a record year for solar installations. Wind energy now powers over 15million American homes. During the first six months of 2013, America bought twice as manyplug-in electric vehicles as in the first half of 2012.

2. Cleantech is still a solid investment.

Despite the burst of the Silicon Valley cleantech investment bubble following Solyndra, investorshave been returning to the industry, lured by the rapid growth of companies like Solar City. TheUS Department of Energy (DOE) loan program has a whopping 97% success rate with much-publicized failures such as Solyndra and Abound Solar making up just three percent of the portfolio.

3. Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are falling.

Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 13% in the past five years to its lowest level in nearly 20 years.Though part of the savings was due to an increase in natural gas, renewable energy and new energy-saving technologies also played a role. This year, 2014, is predicted to be one of the cleanest yearssince the early 1990s.

4. The grid is changing.

The U.S. electricty utility industry faces a critical juncture as new technology and decliningprices allow a more distributed system of energy storage, renewable energy installations andpower efficiency strategies. Over $4 billion has been invested in the so-called “smart grid.” Newtechnologies like Opower for residential and Green Charge Networks’ GreenStationTMs havebegun to help businesses save money on their utility bills.

5. Cleantech jobs are growing.

There are now more solar workers than ranchers in Texas. In California, solar workersoutnumber actors. The solar industry in total employs 119,000 workers with the wind industrybringing in another 80,000. Though jobs in cleantech as a whole are difficult to size due todiffering definitions, we know that green jobs have seen explosive growth over the past fewyears, despite the recession. Also, with the recent legislative initiatives, there will be a ton moreinnovations, businesses, and jobs created out of the emerging energy storage sector in theyears to come, fulfilling a very real and necessary gap in California (especially with the recentde-commissioning of San Onofre Generating Station — SONGS).

From the rise in clean energy adoption to the replacement of our aging grid infrastructure withnew technology, it’s clear that the cleantech industry isn’t going anywhere.

Vic is Chief Executive Officer of Green Charge Networks, an energy storage startup based inSilicon Valley. Since 2009, Vic and his team have been collaborating with the U.S. Departmentof Energy and Fortune 500 companies on a ROI-driven energy storage GreenStationTM for theprivate sector, complementary to solar PV. Vic led the company through its US $12 millionsmart grid project with Con Edison of New York and the US Department of Energy. With morethan 15 years experience in software development and complex system implementation, Vic ispassionate in applying software to improve power efficiency.


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Warren Webber
Warren Webber3 years ago

Live long and prosper

william Miller
william Miller4 years ago


Julianna D.
Juliana D4 years ago


Val M.
Val M4 years ago

Good news - thanks!

Margaret Skeel
Margaret Skeel4 years ago

My catchcry since I went solar in '86 has been Go Solar! At last at last I am not just shouting against the wind. So good to see it finally happening.

Carol S.
Carol S4 years ago

Baby steps!

Patricia H.
Patricia H.4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

Some positivity to start the day with! Thanks

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago