That was the logic behind the company’s RE-C project, which aimed to produce one gigawatt of renewable electricity for less than the price of coal. The hope was to do this within years, not decades. Among other things, the company invested in new geothermal drilling R&D and put $168 million toward Brightsource’s Ivanpah solar tower in the Mojave Desert.
Each year, the Cleantech Group, the World Wildlife Foundation, and the The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (or Tillväxtverket) release their Global Cleantech Innovation Index, in which 40 countries are examined for their potential for entrepreneurial clean tech startups.
On the surface, the clean energy sector sounds like a promising place for startups. The reality is more complicated, with many clean tech startups burning through investment capital and struggling to identify marketable products. However, that isn’t stopping a number of organizations from awarding serious funding to highly innovative clean energy entrepreneurs.
A year ago, Charles Epstein called a company to come and change all the light bulbs in his Cromwell home. Workers caulked his drafty windows and sealed leaky door jams. It helped, but only so much. Epstein, in his late 60s, kept in the back of his mind that solar panels could be his next move.
Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.
Tucked away in the suburbs of Boston is Greentown Labs, a clean-tech incubator and shared work space that has grown from just three companies to nearly fifty promoting sustainable and clean energy solutions. Among these is a start-up called Altaeros Energies, which is pushing the boundaries of conventional wind power.