Thursday, February 23, 2012

Colorado’s Cleantech Market Expansion for 2012 Part 1: Colorado’s Cleantech Industry is Shining Bright

In the first of a three-part blog series on the Colorado cleantech marketplace outlook for 2012, recruiter and entrepreneur Dave Mayer offers an glimpse into the growing Colorado cleantech community.

Almost every day, we get calls from people wondering how to join Colorado’s bustling cleantech sector. We also regularly chat with our cleantech clients about what we are seeing regarding candidate volume and experience level. The talk often includes discussions of overall market health, mergers and acquisitions, and of course, what the future holds in Colorado and beyond. Acting as a barometer of both the high tech and cleantech industries can be incredibly rewarding.

By all accounts, the cleantech tech industry is alive and well in Colorado. 2011 was a very solid year for businesses focused on renewable energy in our state, and 2012 promises to be no different.  In a recent Planet-Profit Report article, 2011 was an banner year.

Clean technology industry investments remained solid in 2011, receiving $8.99 billion in venture capital. The investments represent an increase of 113 percent from 2010; a record high of venture capital investment.” The story also notes that Colorado is in the top five states receiving funding, taking in 5 percent ($358 million) of overall investments made in the U.S. Colorado continues to attract dozens of cleantech businesses as well as innovate in the legislature and in our world-class research facilities.

In the next post, we’ll tap into some of Colorado’s leading investors to get a perspective of Colorado’s cleantech industry.

Dave Mayer is a Colorado Cleantech Industry Association member and serial entrepreneur based in Denver. He is one of three co-chairs of the Colorado Clean Economy Network, which focuses on creating awareness of issues that will affect the future of this country's energy policy. Currently, Mayer is CEO and founder of Technical Integrity, a cleantech recruiting firm. For more information, visit his website at

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 Solar Industry Trends to Watch

A recent article on predicted trends of the solar industry for this year. The predictions include an element of doom and gloom, but also shed light on some emerging markets and the potential they hold.

There is no denying that for the most part, 2011 was pretty rough on the solar industry from high profile companies filing for bankruptcy to trade complaints. In 2012 the goal seems to be to reboot and find partners more in line with common goals and that have the capital to sustain an industry effort.

Similar to last year, it will be a buyers' market for companies and entities with the buying power to acquire and convert to solar. Ultimately, the impact on the global economy from solar conversions will be a good one.

Despite the closure of several companies last year, 2012 will see an increase in those wanting to participate in the solar industry in a variety of capacities. Project developers and private investors will likely play a major role in new enterprises to enter the solar arena.

Existing and new solar companies will all need to shift strategies to increase efficiency and monitoring to show tangible results for investors. It’s no secret to companies that products and the company itself must run as efficiently as possible for the highest returns possible. 

2012 will surely be a year of increasing efficiency for companies that will be successful.
Aside from election year politics mudding up the waters for the solar industry, emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa will be a major factor in the global solar market. Those companies and entities that choose to invest in emerging markets may be taking less of a gamble by doing such in 2012.

Creative new uses for solar energy will help feed the grid and give birth to new innovations like solar powered vehicles. Of course, that’s just the prediction for this year. In all reality, it’ll be several years before many of these things are realized. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Clean Tech Increasing its Share in the Global Economy

Although the global economy continues to struggle, clean technology investments are on the rise. North America saw a 30 percent increase, while worldwide investment increased by 13 percent, according to a new report published by CleanTech Group LLC.

Sundrop Fuels Takes Off

A Colorado leader in bio-derived fuels was Sundrop Fuels. The Longmont-based company develops synthetic fuel production systems which use highly concentrated solar thermal energy to turn gasify biomass. Sundrop Fuels reported raising $175 million from various venture capital partners in 2011, which accounted for 5 percent of all North American clean tech capital in 2011.

Larger Industry Trends: Solar, Efficiency, Transportation and Bio

While solar energy and energy efficiency saw the largest investments in terms of deals and dollars, transportation and biofuels / biomaterials seem to be moving more out of a research stage and also reported profitable investments.

North American Investments Gaining Traction

North America led the way in investments for 2011 as Europe and Israel dropped 30 percent in their investments for the year. China ranked second after the U.S. for investments and ranked highest in IPOs. The highest IPO for the year was Chinese state-owned hydropower company, Sinohydro. It raised $2.12 billion on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Bright Future Ahead

Predictions based on historical information have 2012 as the most financially prosperous and beneficial year for clean tech. Despite the still weak global economy, a shift to investing in clean tech has become clear for those wanting a successful and profitable long-term investment.