On November 29, the Pick My Solar team journeyed north to San Francisco for The New York Times' inaugural ClimateTECH conference, an exciting forum that brought together key leaders from various sectors to discuss bold solutions to climate change. Hosted by the top echelon of The New York Times climate reporting cohort, the program touched on technology, clean energy, smart mobility, grassroots organizing and more, and featured speakers like Governor Jerry Brown, Tom Steyer (NextGen America), Mayor Ed Lee (San Francisco), Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Chicago), Astro Teller (Alphabet’s X), Geisha Williams (PG&E), Emily Reichert (Greentown Labs), and Mark Widmar (First Solar).
How did our team sneak into this $2,500 per ticket VIP experience? We were chosen by GreenTech Media as one of six Cleantech startups to exhibit in their Innovation Showcase, along with our fellow Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator portfolio company FreeWire Technologies. Besides showcasing our online Solar Savings Calculator and new solar marketplace for Con Edison New York, we put together a challenging clean energy trivia for the summit attendees to test their mettle against.
The first night, all 200 or so participants gathered in the main room and sat at randomly assigned dinner tables. We listened to Governor Jerry Brown share his take on the latest in the climate issue. He said, “Climate change is not going away, we are embedded in it… we have to get on the side of ecology, and not get ecology on the side of our economics.” With Thomas Friedman, The New York Times Op Ed Columnist, he discussed California’s clean energy policy in the face of federal opposition, his upcoming Global Climate Action Summit of the Under2 Coalition, the threat of California wildfires and heatwaves, and more.
The next day was filled with panel discussions, pitches, presentations, and productive conversation. In between the main sessions, participants explored our booth in the showcase area. Overall, we were blown away by every person we spoke with. While many attendees were not directly in the solar industry, all were well-versed in the technology and passionate about renewable energy development. Most participants passed the clean energy trivia, too!
We left the conference feeling inspired by all the great work that’s being done to address climate change across all sectors. Uma Valeti’s Memphis Meats grows “clean meat” in a lab with cells. Aaswath Raman’s SkyCool Systems has developed a passive rooftop water cooling system for commercial buildings. Xavier Helgessen’s Off Grid Electric provides convenient clean electricity to remote households in Sub-Saharan Africa. Until next year, ClimateTech!