Cleantech Forum San Francisco: It’s a Wrap!

Every year, the Cleantech Forum chooses a theme that reflects the current pulse of the industry and serves as a common thread for discussion throughout the three-day event. This year’s theme – Cleantech-as-a-Service – felt more relevant than ever. From our opening keynote to closing remarks from Google’s VP of Energy, coupling cleantech with the “as-a-service” business model resonated as the catalyst that will drive the industry forward.

John Woolard, VP of Energy, Google

If you missed the Forum, below are some of the emerging trends discussed at Cleantech Group’s 13th annual Cleantech Forum San Francisco.


From solar and storage to lighting and building efficiency, financing is key to unlocking greater
adoption of clean technologies. SolarCity recently began offering solar bonds to investors in order to bolster its commercial and residential solar installation business. Enlighted, provider of intelligent lighting controls, launched a financing program that allows customers to install Enlighted systems without any upfront costs. Stem and Renewable Funding, both speakers at the Forum, offer financing for energy storage and building efficiency, respectively. Companies are shifting away from single point solutions in exchange for vertically integrated offerings to reduce friction and make purchasing decisions easier.

Speed Networking on Day 1


As energy and resource markets move from centralized to distributed systems, consumers are faced with even greater choice and control. Nest, the smart thermostat maker, is an early pioneer of personalized energy products, and companies like Leeo and SmartThings are following suit in the Smart Home market. On-demand services are also in high demand, as seen in peer-to-peer ridesharing company, Lyft. Customers across all sectors are getting much smarter in how they use energy, track usage and leverage software to interact with the grid, analyze data and drive towards better decisions.


The end of “Cleantech” is just the beginning

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Attendees enjoy closing keynote addresses

The Cleantech industry has weathered its fair share of ups and downs, and many veteran investors at the Forum were there to offer their insights. Amidst conversations of decentralization and software solutions, it’s clear there has been a shift in the way the industry positions itself among other high-growth, venture friendly industries in Silicon Valley and beyond. The greatest “Cleantech” companies, from Tesla to Nest, are great technology companies solving an unmet need, not just simplified by its ‘clean’ characteristics. Clean technologies and the cloud are enabling a new era that may eclipse the earlier fits and starts of years past, and we’re excited to watch the transformation.

To stay up-to-date on key trends explored at the Forum and  more, check out our online platform i3. is the online version of our events that you can access 24/7. Similar to the high-caliber attendees at the Forum, i3 is a powerful network that brings together corporates, investors, and  service providers with innovative start-ups driving  sustainability.  Our corporate clients such as EDF, GE, and Shell are turning to i3 to source new technologies, at scale, and build their innovation pipeline.

  • If you’re a corporate interested in connecting with innovation, sign up for our free version here.
  • If you’re a start-up, create your i3 profile– for free- to get your technology in front of the right people at the right companies.

We look forward to seeing you on i3 and at our upcoming events!