Earth2Tech's Top 7 Cities for Cleantech


San Francisco

Notable startups: Over 40 companies, but some of the one’s we’ve covered include smart grid software makerGrid Net, concentrating solar producer GreenVolts, wireless sensor network maker Arch Rock and solar financier Recurrent Energy.

Focus: Where information technology meets green tech, as well as solar companies.

Taking a page from San Jose’s book, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced to the audience at the Green:Net conference in March that the city by the bay would be a test lab for cleantech. Long before that announcement, however, the city’s gigantic (65 full-time staffers with a budget of about $15 million) SF Environment department was hard at work on economic development policies that would help companies offset the high cost of operating in the city.

Solar companies, such as Borrego Solar, have rented offices in San Francisco to take advantage of the preference for local installers in the city’s solar incentive plan. Other cleantech companies, including wireless energy sensor maker Arch Rock, solar concentrator company GreenVolts, solar developer Recurrent Energy, and GE-backed smart-grid startup Grid Net, have made the city their home to take advantage of support for cleantech businesses and its proximity to the same universities and VC firms that make San Jose attractive.

As Newsom campaigns for governor, chances are it’s going to get better and better to be a “green” company in San Francisco, as he told us it would be a major part of his gubernatorial platform. As Jared Blumenfeld, director of SF Environment, put it: “We have no excuses. We have a very educated, environmentally literate, affluent citizenry who elect pretty progressive politicians, and we also have a lot of money as a city government. If you can’t do it here, it’s going to be very hard to do it somewhere else.”

Next up: Seattle »

Image credit: marymactavish