Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
California’s Silicon Valley is known for launching the Internet revolution, but the region has also become the epicenter of America’s clean tech industry. Billions of dollars in venture capital funding to energy-related companies has helped the region weather the economic downturn by growing green jobs 109 percent over the last decade. energyNOW! correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan visited Silicon Valley to find out how the region’s shift toward clean energy is empowering tech-savvy workers and entrepreneurs to take charge of America’s energy future.

Clean Power

Silicon Valley: Clean Tech’s New Capital?

California’s Silicon Valley is known for launching the Internet revolution, but the region has also become the epicenter of America’s clean tech industry. Billions of dollars in venture capital funding to energy-related companies has helped the region weather the economic downturn by growing green jobs 109 percent over the last decade.

energyNOW! correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan visited Silicon Valley to find out how the region’s shift toward clean energy is empowering tech-savvy workers and entrepreneurs to take charge of America’s energy future.

Tech titans are leading Silicon Valley's clean tech revolution

California’s Silicon Valley is known for launching the Internet revolution, but the region has also become the epicenter of America’s clean tech industry. Billions of dollars in venture capital funding to energy-related companies has helped the region weather the economic downturn by growing green jobs 109 percent over the last decade.

energyNOW! correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan visited Silicon Valley to find out how the region’s shift toward clean energy is empowering tech-savvy workers and entrepreneurs to take charge of America’s energy future. To watch the full segment, click the video below.

Technology companies like Google and Apple have long been the anchor of Silicon Valley’s economy, and the region a magnet for venture capital funding from investors hoping to find the next big tech breakthrough. But when the tech bubble burst in 2000, many software engineers and entrepreneurs were left looking for a new industry to apply their talents.

A look at the balance sheet reveals just how much the balance of funding has shifted in the past decade. In 2001, clean energy firms only attracted 0.9 percent of all Silicon Valley venture capital funding. But in 2010, that number jumped to 19.6 percent of the total $9.1 billion dollars flowing into the region, according to the Nation Venture Capital Association.

Increased funding and an influx of experienced tech workers have positioned the region to lead America into the clean energy revolution. “This is going to be a place where America’s energy future is invented,” said Russell Hancock, head of the nonprofit business group Joint Venture.

But the motivation for switching to renewables isn’t just about dollar signs for many of the new clean tech workers. “Here, actually, it is something that is tangible – it is green,” said Laks Sampath, a software programmer and solar entrepreneur who built one of the first-ever solar energy monitoring systems. “You’re putting together something that is worth your while. That’s what I love about the industry.”

Sampath’s solar monitoring system was installed on a 468-kilowatt solar array at a local water treatment plant, and is expected to save the plant more than $2 million dollars in energy costs over the next decade.

Lessons from the dot com boom may help the industry weather economic uncertainty, says Hancock. “Silicon Valley is really a maverick kind of place,” said Hancock. “Lots of libertarian thinkers here, cowboy entrepreneurs.” One such example is Solyndra, which pioneered solar arrays that use lightweight round tubes to harvest reflective sunlight from rooftops instead of panels that need automation to achieve high efficiency.

One key to long-term industry success is self-sustainability, especially in light of partisan disagreement over clean energy funding in Washington, D.C. Tech titans like Google have pledged hundreds of millions in funding to renewable start-ups — important when federal funding is under scrutiny, as in the case of the House Republican investigation into the half-billion dollar loan guarantee Solyndra received in 2010.

But sustaining the momentum also means creating long-lasting green jobs, and increased renewable manufacturing has brought with it job training programs. “This is how renewable energy is going to happen,” said Chuck Rames, Director of Boots on the Roof, a program that trains blue-collar workers to install and maintain solar panels, geothermal systems, and wind turbines. “Working men and women are going to need to install these things on millions of homes in America.”

 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica member, supporter, or ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Sign up for our free daily newsletter to never miss a story.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

New CleanTechnica Podcasts

Written By

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

EV Press Releases

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Cars

Ford banks $29 billion on electric vehicle future and autonomous vehicles following smashing success of all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV.

Cars

For cars equipped with Android Automotive, Google has added a new feature to Maps that helps drivers plan their route while on trips, which...

Autonomous Vehicles

We've seen this before. Tesla does something new. The competition decries that this will never happen. The Model 3 will never come. The Model...

Consumer Technology

Loon is a Google startup that wanted to bring internet connectivity to remote areas using helium balloons. This month, Google is shutting it down.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.