photo of Meghan Bader

November 23, 2015
Posted by Meghan Bader, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Industry Growth Forum (IGF) has been running for more than two decades, which is evident the moment you walk in to the event. The buzz of conversation immediately fills the room as familiar faces greet one another and new connections begin to occur. One-on-one meetings kick off the two-day event, bringing entrepreneurs, investors, and other professionals together to pitch companies or strategize ways to work together. When the meetings conclude, new partnerships are formed.

Over the next day and a half, 30 startups pitch their companies to a panel of judges who score each presentation on product/solution, market and industry attractiveness, business model and team, and investment potential. This year’s competition was stiff, but three companies walked away with awards. Best Venture was awarded to Lightning Hybrids, while Sun Number and Stone Mountain Technologies were awarded Outstanding Venture accolades.

In addition to eyeing clean energy innovations from the entrepreneur perspective, the audience also heard a macro view of the clean energy industry. Dr. Dan Arvizu, who is retiring from NREL after ten years of serving as laboratory director, kicked off the event’s presentations with a thoughtful keynote. Dr. Arvizu discussed the clean energy landscape over the last decade, ending with the opportunities for partnership and advancement of disruptive technologies. Concluding that, “To achieve a clean energy vision we must invest in innovation, invent the future we desire, improve access to capital, and partner on a global scale.”

Dr. Arvizu’s words were inspiration for us to navigate the ever-evolving clean energy landscape and continue to look for new and innovative ways to advance technologies and their path to market.