June 30th, 2010

SURVEY: Who are the Top 10 US Cities for Cleantech? Need Your Input


Here’s a question I’ve been getting asked a lot about lately and have been personally wondering myself: What is the best city for the cleantech industry in the United States?

If you work in the cleantech industry, I need your help for a couple moments! We’re going to crowd source the compilation of the information that will be useful to everyone in the industry and then make it free to the community. I know a lot about the information in Boston, but not so much about other cities, that’s where you come in :)

Goal Of the Survey

Based on your responses to my little survey,  I’m going to publish a yearly report and make it free to the community. The goal is that the survey will rank each city based on a simple criteria and provide a complete list of cleantech resources, government policies, companies, and investors in each city. We’re going to continue to collect the information and release the report every year, which will be especially useful as the industry grows and changes.

In this context, I’ll define cleantech as anything associated with; renewable energy, energy efficiency, water, green building, clean transportation.


Two years ago it seems like the answer might have been pretty straight forward, but things have changed a lot since then. Cities and states are passing new policies aiming at attracting new investment, large companies are investing in CSR, and many more universities are beginning to change their curriculum.

My first thought was to answer this question by creating an as-you-go type documentary and travel to a bunch of cities and do interviews with companies, city official, and at universities and continually write and post photos and videos on my blog.

Information We’re Looking to Collect

I’ve created a simple form below with some basic information that I’m looking to collect. I tried to keep the survey very short and simple for the first try.

If you have a second, here’s how you can help:

  1. Depending on the city where you are located, please fill in any and all information that you have.
  2. If you have colleagues in other cities please forward it to them.
  3. If you can just fill in one part, no problem, any and all information will be useful. You’ll be asked to rate each criteria for the city you’re located in and then provide SPECIFIC examples to back up your rating. These examples will be used to compile the resources in each city that we’ll provide in the report.

City Specific Information:

1) Quality of Investor Community:

-Cleantech specific investors in your city (angel networks, VCs, etc)

2) Cleantech Talent

-Universities with cleantech oriented programs

-Think tanks

-Local training programs

3) Resources

-Government Polices

-Green Incubators

-Non-profits/Industry Associations

-Business Plan Competitions

-Local Events

4) Existing Cleantech Companies. Please list companies you’re aware of located in your city.

-Large Companies (Public)

-Middle Size Companies (Large but not public)

-Small Businesses


I’m very excited about this project as I think we’ll be able to collect some great information, but I can only do it with you help :)

Thank you in advance for your help!


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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.