Smart infrastructure was the original topic of this blog. Smart grids, smart water, you name it! I'd like to come back to this topic with a fresh new angle. Financing. Aligning bottom line results with environmental change has always been a hurdle for clean technology solutions to achieve mainstream adoption. When you face a challenge, it is better to turn it into an opportunity. That is a trait of many entrepreneurs.
Project financing turned out to be a key innovation in the success of commercial and residential solar installations. I will meet Jigar Shah at the local energy symposium tomorrow. He invented the concept of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) when he was at SunEdison. It had a profound impact on the growth of the solar industry. Last year, California approved Prop 39. The $1B-line-of-loans has spurred not only the greening but also the modernization of schools and university campuses. Energy efficiency is becoming a way to modernize old infrastructure: schools, farms, etc.
I have been away for a while, launching a new start-up company, and this time off the prompter gave me a new perspective: Cleantech is dead; long live cleantech! Sustainability is very much present every day of our lives despite of the lack of venture capital. Solar is mainstream, organic food is available in every super market. There is not a Fortune 500 that does not have a plan to implement green values in its operational excellence
I talked to one of the top food brands in the world, Roll Global. Cleantech innovation boils down to waste management for them. No big deal. It is just common sense. Does it make business sense? A number of cleantech companies are maturing, and OPower made a strong IPO recently without a big technology breakthrough. Most VC's have left the field though, including Matthew Nordan at Venrock. In many ways, I feel that cleantech is victim of its own success. Here are my top 5 reasons.
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