December 15th, 2009

Clean Tech Guide 101 – Renewable Energy Part 3: Top Places to Meet Renewable Energy Professionals

CleanTech Guide -

So, you want to work in clean tech but don’t know where to start? I found myself in the same place 3 years ago. I created the Clean Tech Guide to help people learn about the industry. I decided to create the guide after being asked a number of similar questions from friends, recent graduates, and fellow entrepreneurs about clean technology. I love to help people and noticed that my answers were typically similar, so I thought it would be useful to create a guide to refer people to.

The 1st part of the guide, Clean Tech Guide 101 Renewable Energy Part 1 Top 20 Resources to Learn about the Technology provides resource to help beginngers learn about the the fundamentals behind each technology. Part 2 of the Clean Tech Guide is a list of the Top Renewable Energy Industry Reading materials, to give you a full list of places to soak in valuable information.

Part 3 is a list of places where you can meet industry professionals.

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.

Best Places to meet Renewable Energy Professionals

They key to any industry is getting to know current professionals, renewable energy is no different. There are tons of conferences and events. Here are some of the best, that I’ve heard of or been to. If you’re serious about these industry, check these out.

The best part about the renewable energy and the other clean technology industries is that people are open to helping each other. This is partly due to rapid growth, there is plenty of room for everyone. It’s also due to the culture of the industry, people are willing to help and share with each other, much more so then in other industries. We are saving the world after all.

Renewable Energy Conferences: These events are dedicate the whole industry.

  • North East Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA): March in Boston, MA. NESEA is an organization local to New England with strong grass roots support. NESEA holds a yearly conference in Boston. They have an expo and also workshops. I’ve been going for 3 years and also learned new things and met new people. If you’re in New England you need to be here.
  • Babson e3 Entrepreneurial Energy Expo: e3 is a three year old conference that has been more then doubling each year. The expo focuses on addressing the opportunities exisiting in clean technology

Organizations: Renewable Energy Organizations are in every state and area. Just search ‘your state’ renewable energy association and you will find something. A couple examples include:

Small Wind Conferences

  • AWEA Wind Power 2010: May 23rd and 24th in Dallas, TX. Americans largest wind conference. The conference has 1,200 exhibitors, over 20,000 attendees. The conference covers all size of wind; commercial, offshore, small wind, community wind. My friend went last year and said it was amazing, tons of people and companies to connect with.

Small Hydro

  • Small hydro is such a small segment that it doesn’t have its own conference yet. Typically, small hydro will be included in larger conferences.

Solar PV/ Solar Thermal: Solar PV and thermal technologies typically have a couple of their own conferences.

  • Solar Power International 2009: It will be happening in October in California. It is the largest solar business to business conference in the USA. If you’re looking to start or expand a business or learn about whats happening in this industry, you need to check this out.
  • American Solar Energy Society(ASES): ASES holds a a yearly conference that offers the best educational opportunity for solar professionals. If you’re wondering what type of training to take check this out.
  • Solar Thermal Conference 2009: On December 3rd and 4th in Madison, WI, the Midwest Renewable Energy Society will be hosting the nations only conference dedicated to solar heating and cooling.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

  • IGSHPA Conference 2009: October 21st. Dallas, TX. It’s a yearly event, so if you can’t make this one go to next years. There is only one conference focusing on geothermal heat pumps, but it’s a big one. All the national players and major industries will be there.


I hope you enjoy the guide and find it useful.

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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.

  • Helen Fairman

    Chris! Don’t overlook Clean Economy Network (formerly REBN)! With well over 1,000 members who regularly attend CEN’s free events in Boston, and 30,000+ members on LinkedIn (as well as many thousands of members attending free events at 16 other chapters across North America), it’s probably the best place to break into the sector. Boston events usually have a wide range of folks from job-seekers and grad students to cleantech CEO’s and VC’s. Check out CEN at