Posts Tagged ‘cleantech’

Clean energy has some exciting prospects for the world. Not only would it offer a chance to replace our energy sources in a way that’s better for the environment, it also has the potential to boost local economies in new ways. Clean Edge produced an exciting report “Clean Edge Job Trends 2010”, which reveals five trends that will be important to the sector’s growth.

1- Check for an up-tick in Clean Technology South of the Border
Cutting costs is crucial for clean tech companies at this stage of the game. While your first impression of how to minimize costs may sound like manufacturing in China or India, you’ll find that you may not have to look that far. Mexico is emerging as a sweet spot by offering cheaper labor in a place close to the US market and leading clean tech companies are taking note. Japanese- based Sanyo has settled in Moneterrey and leading companies like BP solar and Liebherr have followed their lead. Watch for more of this activity in Mexico as demand for clean tech continues to grow.

2- FITs push clean tech past fits and starts
FIT has nothing to do with fashion in this case; it stands for Feed In Tarrifs. Feed in Tarrifs are policy mechanisms that offer stable payment to generators of renewable electricity through long-term purchase agreements. FITs are an increasingly important way of encouraging the growth of clean tech especially in its early stages. They were instrumental in propeling Germany to the front of the pack in PV production and can help any number of clean tech industries flourish.

3- A Cleaner Auto Industry
Clean Energy has some specific implications right here in the United States. It will likely emerge in a re-vamped car industry. The Obama Administration has injected money to support alternative manufacturing in the automobile industry. A $465 million loan was made to electric-car maker Tesla Motors and another $528.7 million loan was awarded to Fisker Automotive. With ambitions of becoming a major player in the auto-battery market, we’ll likely be seeing more support of clean energy cars by the government.

4- Focus on Energy Efficiency
CleanTech companies are naturally interested in reinventing what our energy sources are. However, there is an increased focus  to actively incorporate methods of reducing our current energy use. Energy companies like Solar City are investing in energy audit technology and offering their customer base ways of reducing their daily energy use. Not only does this amplify their  customers’ savings it’s also the most cost effective way of creating jobs. We can expect to see an increase in the number of clean tech companies offering ways of maximizing energy efficiency.

5- The Offshore Wind Industry
Wind energy is picking up speed as signs of interest emerge in new markets all over the world. Europe, which has traditionally held the lead in offshore wind production increased its capacity for wind power by 72% in 2009. There are also new investments by countries like China who installed their own wind project in 2009 and the US which has given permission to start Cape Wind project in Massachusetts. This will hopefully be an increasingly prominent alternative to our current energy sources.

These trends may seem very different from one another, but they all signal that there’s a real market for green building materials and that various parties are investing in change. Will your green company be ready for it?


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IfPeople made it to the SJF Summit on the New Economy in Durham, NC this September and found it

to be a truly inspiring conference. It was a strong showcase of how diverse and robust the new economy is. There were really incredible solutions in every area of clean tech from energy and waste water treatment, to irrigation and air filtration.  Counter to many misconceptions about green solutions, these businesses were showing the energy and water savings from these solutions is so great that the payback is often less than a year! 

Stop Leaving Money on the Table!
Companies that are using traditional means of addressing this issues are literally leaving money on the table. If installing a green air filtration system costs you a $100,000 investment up front, with a 1 year payback, your future savings after that first year are $100,000 a year before calculating in inevitable rises in energy costs.

So why aren’t these solutions already the norm?
Systems change is always on our mind…and our work is about giving companies that are bringing breakthrough solutions with a solid business model the sales and marketing tools and processes to succeed. So we hate to see good opportunities for going green go to waste! Here’s some of the barriers we see to that:

1. Resistance to change
We are resistant to change even when the dollars and cents add up. Take, for instance, a new approach to maintaining good air quality. Air quality in most factories is maintained by constantly turning over the air inside a building. Forcing air from inside a building to outside requires a tremendous amount of  energy. Not only that, but the air brought into the building must be climate controlled which also uses up energy.  A company we met at the conference has a different approach. Instead of moving air in and out of the building, they focus on changing existing air into something breathable and environmentally friendly.  They attract indoor pollutants into a bio-digester, which breaks down the compounds into inert particles.  It’s a completely different approach that doesn’t just require a cost-benefit analysis, but calls for a paradigm shift. 

People are resistant to such shifts. If we are going to meet the challenges of climate change, peak oil and water and other challenges, we will need to be ready to embrace the new paradigms required to make these shifts a reality.

2.  Poor sales process
Even if there’s a great opportunity to save money with a product, if the sales force behind that product is not effective in selling, there won’t be product uptake. People make decisions for different reasons depending on their role in the company, their interests, and their priorities. It’s important to understand what is relevant to the various parties in a sales pipeline and to make sure your company can systematically engage decision makers until they make the sale. Having strong systems for automating your marketing processes can make a huge difference in how many prospects you convert to customers. Without these processes it is even more challenging for innovative companies to bring their constituents along and help the masses embrace the changes you are bringing to market.

3.  Poor Key Messages
Different decision makers have different concerns that must be met before they invest.  The person concerned with compliance wants to know that your air purification system is going to work, and meet all regulations and standards.  The CFO wants to know that your ROI numbers are real and reliable.  And the maintenance staff who took care of the old system wants to be secure that they are not being put out of a job. Make sure that the messaging is right at the right time based on where you are in the sales process and who you are working with!

Alright green product and service companies…we hope that’s helpful insight from our takeaways from the SJF Conference. Hopefully we’ll see you there next year! And in the meantime, contact us for help on marketing and sales for your green products!

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