November 14th, 2009

Clean Tech Guide 101 – Renewable Energy Part 2: Top Industry Reading

CleanTech Guide -

The first part of the Clean Tech Guide 101 to Renewable Energy focused on providing resources that you can use to learn about each technology. This is the critical first step. If you haven’t checked it out yet, here is the link: Clean Tech Guide 101 – Renewable Energy Part 1: Top 20 Resources to Learn about the Technologies.

The second part of the series is focused on reading materials that you can use to leverage you understanding of the technologies to get a better understanding of the different industry, markets, and what separate companies are doing.

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to share the resources that I have gathered and used to learn about clean technology industry with other people that are interested in learning about the industry to use as a starting place.

Who is the guide for?

Recent graduates, career changers, or entrepreneurs who have little to no knowledge about clean technology but are looking for a some direction to learn about the industry.

What the purpose?

The goal will be to provide you with basic resources that you can use to begin learn about and get involved in the clean technology industry. I can only provide you with the resources that will help you, if you really want to get involved you’ll have to do most of the work, but I think this will be really helpful to start.

Clean technology has a very broad definition, but I am focusing the Clean Tech Guide 101 on FOUR sections that I find the most interesting

  1. Renewable Energy
  2. Resource Efficiency
  3. Green Building
  4. Food

Outline of Each Section

  1. Understanding the principles and/or technology
  2. Reading materials
  3. Where to meet people
  4. How to find your niche

Clean Tech Guide 101 Renewable Energy Part 2: Read! Here’s where to start

Now that you understand the basics of each technology you NEED to understand what’s happening in the industry, the companies involved in the market, the policies that are driving the industry, and what people are talking about.

This will help you to 1) see the opportunities to work or start a company and 2) impress people when you talk to them, which is critical to establishing relationships in the industry. One of the best ways I’ve noticed to get people’s attention is to ask their opinion on current events. This not only flatters them, but if you have a good question, it makes you look smart as well. For example, if I meet someone at a conference or event who works in the solar industry, I will ask them how they think Sun Run’s financing programs will face any substantial hurdles trying to increase the adoption rate of solar with financing, or if they think feed-in tariffs will be more effective then tax credits.

You get the idea. Asking good questions will make you look smart and start a good converstion that can lead to a job. The only way to get this information is to read, a lot.

Here are some top resources to learn about renewable energy and each specific technology

The Business Side of Renewable Energy

  • Renewable Energy World: The worlds largest renewable energy network and a clearing house of renewable energy news, information, events, and job. You name it, they have at least a little of it. If you only have time to go to one resource, this is the one you want. They have really great podcasts that you can subscribe to through iTunes.
  • Clean Techies: Clean Techniques is a relatively new organization that focuses on clean technology namely from a business perspective. They provide valuable articles through their blog and also have a sizable and growing job board. I would suggest signing up for their newsletter.
  • Green Biz: Green Biz is a daily site that focuses on ‘green’ and environmental news for mainstream business. Green Biz reports on how the environmental movement is and will impact ‘normal’ mainstream business. They have a great selection of newsletter that are focused on very specific elements of business operations such as computing, business, news, and design. Sign up for one their newsletters here.
  • Green Tech Media: Green tech media is a relatively new organization that I recently found out about. They have a lot of information, almost too much. I enjoy their research and the free webcasts they have with industry leaders. Again, they have information on all major sectors of the renewable energy industry with a focus on news, research, and industry events.

Government and Policy

Small Wind

Small Hydro

  • Small and Micro Hydropower: One of the few resources online dedicated to small hydro. Their website has some good technical information on small hydro
  • Dorado Vista: This organization has some good small hydro information. If you look on the right side of the home page they have a good ‘small hydro power guide’ you can download.

Solar Photovoltaic Power/Solar Thermal: These technologies are typically grouped together even though the technology is fundamental different.

  • The American Solar Energy Society (ASES): Established in 1954 (imagine that!) is the nations leading association of industry professionals. ASES sponsors the National Solar Tour which is a national solar event. They are also involved in policy, publish Solar Today, and hold a national confernece
  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA): SEIA represents the solar energy industries and is involved in policy, research, and also has a membership program.
  • The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC): IREC is a non-profit organization, supports market-oriented services targeted at education, coordination, procurement, the adoption and implementation of uniform guidelines and standards, workforce development, and consumer protection. IREC provides accreditation and certification for solar training organizations.
  • Solar Market Trends Report 2008: Published by IREC. One of the best industry reports published that covers both the solar PV and solar thermal industries.
  • Home Power: Is one of the leading renewable energy magazines. If you’re serious and want to keep abreast of the technical and business aspects of solar home power if a valuable resource.
  • Solar Pro: Is a solar magazine that is focused on the technical side of solar energy: design, installation, and performance. If you are going to be designing or installing solar get this.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

  • Gethermal Heat Pump Consortium: Is one of the few places where you can find events, and other information. They have a depth of case studies, product information, vendor contacts and contractor references available.

I hope you enjoy the guide and find it useful.

Feedback

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Chris Williams

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the editor of Green Light Distrikt and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring . He has experience in business development, prototyping and new venture research with a focus on geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. Chris is an IGSHPA accredited geothermal installer and NABCEP certified solar installer. Chris is focused on solving customer facing issues in the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies and products. Chris has installed over 300kW of solar and tens of geothermal systems. He's invented the PV Pal , developed many trainings at HeatSpring, publishes the NABCEP Study Guide , the Hitchhikers Guide to Cleantech and has done due diligence research for Urgent VC . Feel free to connect with him @topherwiliams , on Linkedin , or through email about new ventures, collaborating, writing, research or whatever is on your mind.