The Sun is Shining on Alternative Energy in California

Alternative EnergyIn 2009, Danny Kennedy was looking to expand the office space for a growing solar services company he co-founded, called Sungevity.  Kennedy decided that a loft in Jack London Square near the San Francisco Bay Area was the perfect home for the new company’s offices.  Since beginning work in its new 11,000-square-foot location that overlooks the Oakland Estuary, Sungevity has grown from 55 to 300 employees.  The move of the company to the space in Oakland, California has also helped restart the area’s stalled revitalization.

To couple with the new move, Kennedy also developed an accelerator program, called SfunCube, with the hopes of attracting other alternative energy startups to the area and aiding their growth.  Kennedy hopes that a combination of the close proximity to other startups and social media buzz that is all ready a prevalent part of small business life in the area will create a place for “creative collision” among companies.

The idea is that a cluster of startups will promote innovation and growth within the alternative energy industry more quickly than if companies are spread out across one or multiple regions.  One of the main issues with solar energy is the cost of construction and implementation.  Finding a solution to this will be one of the cluster’s main goals.  Companies who are offered a space in the SfunCube accelerator must agree to pursue this goal by striving to invent new, more efficient technologies or figuring out new ways to finance solar projects.

Oakland, while still living in the shadow of San Francisco as it has for many years, has a substantial base of high-tech green energy companies. Among the companies currently in Oakland are BrightSource, a solar thermal company, and Borrego Solar Systems, a commercial solar panel installer.  City officials hope that the accelerator program will bring some of the spark back to Oakland as alternative energy industries work to change the world while impacting the lives of citizens searching to rebuild a once vibrant community.

For more information about alternative energy startups in Oakland please visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/realestate/commercial/solar-services-company-jump-starts-revival-in-california.html?_r=1.