Published on March 17th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


2014 CleanTechnica Reader Survey Results

March 17th, 2014 by  

I finally got around to scrolling through all the answers in our recent reader survey. I knew I was setting myself up for trouble by including completely open-ended questions — it takes a lot longer to go through all of them. However, I knew that would also be more helpful. I’m happy I did that this year. Below are some of the findings from the survey.

Why You Read CleanTechnica

Regarding the 1st question regarding why you read CleanTechnica, descriptors commonly used included: comprehensive, inspiring, insightful, informative, fun, uplifting, up to date, credible, cutting edge, international. A huge thank you for that overwhelmingly uplifting response! 😀

A lot of people also noted that they followed CleanTechnica specifically for solar or electric vehicle news. “Essential news about electric vehicles,” one person said. However, many seemed to be interested in the broad spectrum of cleantech, green, or renewable energy news that we covered. One kind respondent called it the “best blog on energy” as a whole. Thank you! Another commented, “Clean energy #1 issue. Clean Technica #1 informer.” Honored and greatly appreciative of that. We obviously think this matter is of utmost importance. And we’re very happy that so many people feel the same way and feel that CleanTechnica is the go-to site for this subject.

A number of people also noted that they followed CleanTechnica for investment-related reasons. I think that side of things is something we’re going to focus on a bit more, so I’m glad to hear that.

And here’s a big one for which I have many people to thank: many respondents noted how much they enjoyed and gained from the reader comments under articles. I do, too!

I also loved this comment, which I think captures the spirit of CleanTechnica well: “Watching advance of Clean Tech is greatest show on earth!”

What Could Be Better?

Of course, it wasn’t all fun and celebration. I was also keen to get feedback on what we could do better.

While a great number of the responses to what you would change about the site were “nothing,” we also got plenty of useful feedback. Though, it was much more varied than the positive feedback. One fairly common responses seemed to regard the structure of our email newsletters, in which clicking the first title takes you further down the email to a brief summary, where you again have to click the headline to get to the actual article. I’m not sure how we can fix that, but I assume it can be done, so I am passing it on to our back-room tech guys.

A small number of respondents also noted occasional bias on our part. Noted.

A small number of respondents also requested that we have more international stories, not be so US focused. That is, of course, counter to the notes of thanks (mentioned in section above) for our international coverage. But I think it’s just a further sign that people appreciate geographically broader coverage. Noted.

A few commenters requested fewer “pie in the sky” articles, while a few others requested a greater number of in-depth articles. Noted & noted.

Simpler/cleaner/faster pages was also a repeated request. Noted. And trying to make that so as much as possible.

Otherwise, we didn’t get many (any?) other repeat requests. Shocking. But I am taking the many individual requests into account and trying to make some adjustments where it’s possible and makes sense.

Here were a few one-off ideas that I think were particularly interesting and I would like to pursue:

  • Guest clean energy report from an environmental reporter from a different country each week especially the small ones that rarely get a mention.
  • I would like to hear some longer podcast interviews with experts in their field about 20-40mins.

If you don’t see us move forward on these soon, feel free to prod me! (My to-do list is insanely long and never gets completed, so prodding is sometimes a must to make something happen.)

And here was one funny one: “Do not stand next to the BMW i3 all the time. Have your photo taken with every EV you can find.” Thanks 😀 Yes, that is in the plans, but in the meantime, maybe I will try using that photo less. 😀

And one more funny one: “I like the format. Please do not make it all ‘tablet friendly’ or more graphically heavy. Text is good for those of us who know how to read.”


Here are answers to some other key questions that I think may interest writers:

What cleantech topics most interest you?

cleantech industries

Electric Vehicles
Energy Storage
Energy Efficiency
EV Charging
Smart Grid
Water Purification & Desalination
Water Energy (Hydro, Tidal, Wave)
Mass Transit (Including Trains)
Waste to Energy

Which type of stories most interest you?

type of stories

Scientific Research
Consumer Technology (Cars, Bikes, Solar Panels, Smartphone Apps, etc.)
Specific Project News
Policy & Politics
Markets & Economy
Manufacturing Processes
Stocks & Investment

Do you work in a cleantech industry?

work in cleantech industry


If you work in a cleantech industry or industries, which one(s)?

cleantech jobs

Energy Efficiency
Energy Storage
Waste to Energy
Water Purification & Desalination
Electric Vehicle
Smart Grid
Mass Transit (Including Trains)
Water Energy

How long have you been reading CleanTechnica?

how long reading CleanTechnica

Less than 1 year
~1 year
~2 years
~3 years
~4 years
~5 years
~6 years
Sorry, my memory betrays me

Thanks to those of you who chimed in! Greatly appreciate it.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.


About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Matthew

    Hey Zach,
    Why should we care so much about clean tech? How about a story : 25 years after the Exxon Valdez? I just saw a story on Yahoo on this. How many years after Chernobyle, what does it look like? The reason Germany is so adamant about turning off their nuclear is because the radioactive cloud floated over their country. That is a powerfully motivating event. What would it be like if a nuclear power company near you melted down, or even not near you like Germany.
    So many people don’t know or understand why we push for renewables. I push for them because they are synergistic. They make a profit and they solve multiple problems. Local tax revenue, jobs, clean air, water, land, energy independance, we don’t have to destroy entire mountains that have been there for thousands of years.
    What is it like to have a large solar array on your home and be able to make a profit from it? I would love a story like that?
    Why is it that Americans are ok with a government sponsered monoploy as a Utility company but they don’t want regular people to be able to get a larger piece of the pie? Why are people ok with the top 1% owning 95% of the wealth? These new technologies are leveling the playing field for everyone; but they don’t want you to know that because it will threaten their risidual incomes. Right!

  • Matthew

    Hey Zach,
    It sounds like there are quite a few people who enjoy the technology side of this site. I am one of them of course. And at the same time I would like to challenge you to think about expanding the audience that comes here on a daily basis. In other words there is a core group of people who love this stuff; and there others who would like to see the site expand some. Think about the average newspaper, how many sections does it have? Sports, News, Money, entertainment, etc. There are many sections in order to appeal to abroader audience. One of the things I would like to see, and this will also expand your following, would be more than just the technology, though tech can still play a central role. What about the editorials, or what if pieces? What if every new home in the US was required to have solar, what would that look like? What if every home in the World was required to have an Atmospheric Water Generator and capture water from their roof and stored for use? How about a reader poll, what is the number one thing you think we should do to combat Climate change? How about a weekly or monthly section that highlights the dumbest things we hear and see out there from those who hate and deny the science? And most importantly, I want to know what I can do to help! All this Tech is awesome, but how can I make a difference? And what would that look like to me. Reading about all this is fun, but at the end of the day I want to participate, I want to be in the fold. And I know I am not alone in this desire.
    Your buddy and fan,

  • andereandre

    I am a bit disappointed that you didn’t mention my request to bring back the comment counter (like the previous design had).

    • A Real Libertarian


      And can you get a date on these articles that isn’t in the URL?

      • Hey, again, am just seeing this. We now have these things — coded them in sometime back.

    • Hey, just seeing this. We now have that on the homepage — coded it in sometime back.

  • dbr2

    I missed the survey, but I appreciate what you do…

  • jonesey

    Here’s something that happened after the survey went out: Can you fix the RSS feed so that it shows the whole article? It was working fine until about a month ago. Now it shows only a couple of lines of text. Reading via an RSS reader (e.g. Vienna for Mac) is cleaner and faster because a lot of the extraneous API junk does not load.

    • Sorry, just seeing this. Unfortunately, too many sites “scrape” our content if we share on RSS like that.

  • A Real Libertarian

    “And one more funny one: ‘I like the format. Please do not make it all ‘tablet friendly’ or more graphically heavy. Text is good for those of us who know how to read.’ ”

    Although charts are awesome.

    • Thanks. Yes, people seem to love charts (and I also do). No intention to cut use of charts, and will probably even increase. 😀

      • A Real Libertarian

        The best thing I can think of is to cut out the api.

        That’s what’s causing the freezing and making cut-and-pasting so difficult.

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