Global Cleantech 100: Who will make it big?

Yogi Berra: “Its tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

The Global Cleantech 100 is an annual list of the top 100 companies that the cleantech community predicts will have the strongest market impact in the next 5 to 10 years. While we are not certain of what the future of cleantech holds, we can without doubt see the rise of innovative companies presenting creative commercial solutions which are disrupting old industries and forging new markets.

In recent headlines, GCT100 Alumnus, Tesla, an automaker, technology and design company, has developed a new energy storage solution: the Powerwall and Powerpack – a battery system for homeowners and businesses or utilities to store energy generated from solar panels. Two weeks after its announcement, Tesla received over 38,000 reservations of Powerwall. SolarEdge (2014 GCT100), who IPO’d in March 2015 on the NASDAQ, has also partnered with Tesla, to provide an inverter solution that will allow for grid and photovoltaic integration of the Powerwall. Since its first commercial shipments in 2010, SolarEdge has shipped 1.3GW of their direct current inverter systems and products have been installed in solar PV systems in more than 70 countries.

In April 2015, another major partnership arose between two 2014 GCT100 alumni: Sonnenbatterie, the German smart energy storage provider, and Sungevity, the largest private solar company in the U.S. Sungevity’s customers in the U.S. and Europe will be able to buy Sonnenbatterie’s smart energy storage systems to store any excess solar energy that their solar systems produce, and ensure backup power is available to them.

Worth noting, AlertMe (2014 GCT100) was acquired by British Gas in February 2015 for £65 million. AlertMe’s smart home monitoring system, coupled with British Gas’ 6 million energy customers will result in the acceleration of new connected home services in the UK and worldwide. British Gas will combine AlertMe’s software with its Internet connected thermostats – Hive. Over 150,000 people have signed up for this product, which lets people monitor and control their heat remotely.

Could we have predicted these companies’ future? Not exactly, but the methodology behind the GCT100 provides not only an inside look into new emerging companies but also acts as a barometer – highlighting changing consumer and market demand for particular types of products and solutions.

So what are we looking for in a Global Cleantech 100 company?

  • Do they have a breakthrough technology, concept or business plan?
  • Do they have an impressive team that can deliver?
  • Will they make money through a competitive cost structure?
  • Is there demand in the market for this?
  • Is there evidence of momentum and traction of this technology?