Houston, we don't have a problem here
I couldn't help myself with the NASA reference in the headline, what can I say. NASA might have placed humans on the moon, yet now we're busy developing technology to clean up our own planet. Crazy how times have changed.
I'm sitting in the press room of the George R. Brown Convention Center looking out over the Houston skyline after spending a day talking to companies at the Clean Technology Conference 2009. My first impression after arriving yesterday was that the show has a significant international presence - much more than I expected. There are a great deal of European and Asia-Pacific visitors and companies browsing the showroom floors for clean technology ideas, customers, funding and partners, which I found encouraging - we're truly in the midst of an emerging market that has global appeal and will demand global collaboration.
Solar start-ups continue to attract more investment dollars than the rest of the renewable/clean energy start-ups, despite recent media claims that the solar market is already saturated. I spoke to one solar company today that still thinks there is more room for competition - business looks positive. And I spoke to another solar executive that said despite a dismal Q1, April and May are turning out to be very positive. I heard similar anecdotes from other companies on the show room floor - Q2 is getting better. I hope those anecdotes are widespread.
There is also a lot of early stage activity at the show. Ispoke to quite a few companies that have invented the technology, yet they are targeting an endless amount of markets for the product. Not a lot of focus going on at this stage, many are looking for investment dollars and said they'll figure out the market later. Though, it's funny, while talking to an investor and several entrepreneurs, they all signaled their frustration with some of the smaller companies here that lacked the ability to communicate how their technology is going to change the world - they need to improve their communication. Imagine that?
These companies are solving serious problems, like reducing energy consumption and carbon pollution, now they just need some help communicating how they are going to do it. I'm glad we're here in Houston this week!