Green Light Distrikt is about entrepreneurship focused on the cleantech sector. GLD U provides cleantech courses . Edited by Chris Williams with frequent guest posts from friends, experts and industry insiders from clusters across the globe. Our goal is to provide a place where cleantech entrepreneurs in various clusters across the globe can learn from one another. Green Light Distrikt is creating the "Hitchikers Guide to Clentech" to provide a resource for cleantech entrepreneurs. Read more
- The Worst Metric in Renewables: ‘Payback Period’
- "Solar, Inc." and the Balance of Values
- Top 10 Boston Clean Tech Companies Killing It on Twitter
- Good News For Job Seekers! Mass Solar Industry to Grow 30% per year
- VOTE: Boston's Top 26
- What’s your Opinion? Green Tech VS. Clean Tech VS. ‘EnerTech’?
- What’s Better? Climate Change OR Climate Disruption
- BICEP (3)
- Business Insights (14)
- CleanTech Events (16)
- CleanTech Guide (8)
- CleanTech Kingpins (9)
- EnergyBar (2)
- Entrepreneurship (28)
- For College Students (1)
- GLD U (1)
- Government Policy (39)
- Green Building (8)
- Hitch Hikers Guide to Cleantech (1)
- Industry Insiders (5)
$100 Discounts for Basic Technical TrainingBasic technical training is key for anyone interested in the renewable energy industry. Use the code "GLD" to get discounts from any of the below trainings.
- NABCEP Solar Training Boston This training course is made for people who are new to solar. You’ll learn how to design a solar PV array from a to z, how to quote a project, the installation process, and solar code.
- Solar Sales Training Learn how to sell solar from an expert, Keith Cronin. Keith build and sold his solar company to SunEdison. Keith knows how to sell jobs profitably.
- IGSHPA Geothermal Training The IGSHPA certification is the standard in the industry. In this training, you’ll learn how to design and quote residential and light commercial projects by 1) determining building loading 2) sizing equipment 3) sizing the group loop 4) sizing the distribution system and controls 5) and what sort of equipment so spec in each of the prior steps.
- NABCEP Solar Thermal Training Boot Camp: The solar thermal boot camp is similar to the PV boot camp, but just that it’s based on solar thermal systems.
- Selling Clean Energy to the Government The federal government, and specifically the military, has become the largest single renewable energy customer in the US with a goal of 3GW of installed capacity, among various technologies, by 202.
Other Free ResourcesFree NABCEP Study Guide If you’re studying for the NABCEP Solar PV installer or just want an in-depth review of solar basics this will be a good resource for you. If you want to buy the full guide, you can find it here NABCEP Study Guide.
Solar Reading List 101 A useful list of free article on solar sales, marketing, design, installation, policy and finance.
Geothermal Reading List 101 A useful life of free articles on solar sales, marketing, design, installation of projects.
Click here to learn what is NABCEP and wether or not you should need to get the certification. If you're serious about the solar industry and you want to get the NABCEP Certification, but you need to understand how exactly to apply, you can read more about getting the NABCEP Certification here.
January 18th, 2012BOSTON -
Last year, I built and sold my first cleantech product. It is a tool used to install solar PV modules more efficiently.
Here is the story and what I’ve learned about prototyping in the process. Hopefully, it will be useful to you as well.
Here’s a quick snippet of what I learned.
- Closeness with customers is key, especially if you’re getting them to change their behaviors. If you’re building a new product and are not building relationships with beta customers, this is a problem. It is critical for time between iterations and testing. This is also critical for them providing you blunt feedback. Lastly, with many cleantech products you’re interrupting existing operations. If they don’t trust you, they won’t want to risk it.
- Don’t assume you know the answer. I was the target customer but 15 minutes of feedback on our alpha prototype enabled us to reduce manufacturing costs by 400% for our beta. This is key because unlike software or internet products, cleantech products are EXPENSIVE and tend to require face to face relationships.
- Work on your communications. The concept must be clear to the customer quickly or it will be difficult for them to provide useful feedback that can use to enhance the product.
Click below to read the full story. Also, apply for Cleantech Prototyping Academy if you want to learn best practices of how to build products faster (and cheaper) in order to impress investors or find beta customers. CPA is taught by Ethan Labowitz.
October 31st, 2011BOSTON -
The following post is the start of a series focusing on making Boston a world class city for clean energy prototyping. Read more about the Boston Institute for Clean Energy Prototyping.
Clean energy is a tough business. As entrepreneur Eric Smith put it, we’re really good at leveling mountains and burning coal. So competing with coal and natural gas on price will require every ounce of innovation we can muster.
But unlike information technology, energy technology is often expensive to prototype. For some energy innovations, the prototyping stage is so fraught with expense and uncertainty that it becomes a barrier, preventing good ideas from achieving commercial success.
For the past few years, I’ve studied clean energy prototyping. Much of my work has been with startups, including several in the Boston area. I’ve helped companies design and build prototypes, and interviewed founders on the challenges they faced during the prototyping process. Many of the same themes keep cropping up, so I’ve put together a review of some of the most common mistakes to avoid:
October 24th, 2011BOSTON -
BICEP is the Boston Institute for Clean Energy Prototyping.
It’s run by me, Ethan Labowitz. My goal is clear: I want to make Boston a world class city for clean energy prototyping. A world class city has the resources and knowledge to build the most high quality prototypes the fastest, for the least amount of money, and with the fewest errors. While Boston has great engineering talent, many of young engineers lack experience in actually building effective, low-cost prototypes.
What is BICEP’s goal?
Make Boston the best place in the country to prototype a clean energy product. Simple.
What specifically will BICEP do to complete this goal?
BICEP will work to quantifiably decrease prototyping time and costs by offering shop training, reduced rate fabrication and consulting services, and free office hours.
Why is BICEP’s mission important?
The more prototypes that are built and tested, the greater likelihood of building a product that will sell. Products that sell create companies. If the company builds their prototype in Boston, they are likely to stay in Boston.
What is the problem with Boston right now?
While Boston produces a high number of engineers, few recent graduates have any of the hands-on experience needed to build a prototype. This often causes them to make simple, yet costly mistakes and use private contractors that are not experienced in clean energy prototyping. Experienced engineers are too expensive for young companies with no revenue.
What is BICEP’s solution?
1 – Offer discounted shop services that are subsidized from donations. BICEP will become a 501c3 and accept donations and grants from organizations and government agencies that see the value in Boston becoming a cleantech prototyping hub.
2 – Offer open office hours, so any cash-strapped startup can get valuable prototyping advice on a first-come, first-served basis.
3 – Cleantech Prototyping Academy – BICEP will host short, intensive workshops for students and professionals who are interested in the space but lack hands-on knowledge.
4 – Be a non-profit. Being a non-profit is key to success because it will allow BICEP to be more transparent and share lessons learned from prototype to prototype. By not making the same mistakes twice, BICEP will be able to further bring down the costs and time to build prototypes.
What is BICEP’s business model?
All businesses, whether non-profit or for profit, must make money in order to succeed. Here’s how BICEP will make money:
1 – Charge money for workshops
2 – Charge money for shop services
3 – Accept donations from organizations, foundation, government and private companies that understand the benefit of building quality prototypes
What is BICEP working on RIGHT now and how can I help?
1 – Building a shop
2 – Schedule office hours
3 – Creating relationships and schedule for Cleantech Prototyping Academy.
If you’d like to help with any of these initiatives or keep up to dates with BICEP’s status, let me know: