AUDIO: Central Valley on its way to being the green tech capital
November 17, 2010
• Venture capital now being added to the mix
• ‘Could be known as the new green tech or green job capital of the state’
The Central Valley may finally have it all: the sun, the land, the expertise and now the venture capital needed to transfer the region into the green tech capital of California, if not the country.
So predicts Tom Cotter, a Fresno-based solar energy executive.
“The Central Valley, a lot of people think, could be known as the new green tech or green job capital of the state,” says Mr. Cotter. “Many are saying we’re on the back end of the recession right now and it would be pretty exciting to kick ourselves out of that recession with some jobs.”
He says this month’s rejection by voters of an attempt to scuttle the state’s greenhouse gas law gives impetus to the new and growing solar, wind and other alternative energy industries.
“It’s exciting to see what’s actually going on in the Valley,” says Mr. Cotter. “With legislation that begins to nurture some of these businesses a bit more, we’re going to see more venture capital flowing into the area.”
(Tom Cotter talks about what could be the green technology future of the Central Valley in today’s CVBT Audio Interview. Please left-click on the link below to listen now or right-click to download the MP3 audio file for later listening.)
He says the renewable energy industry is bringing jobs to the region. For every megawatt of solar that’s manufactured in the U.S., 14 people are employed. Every megawatt installed employs 10 people each year, he says. “In 2009, solar energy alone created 60,000 jobs and that’s estimated to double in 2010,” Mr. Cotter says.
“These jobs are coming to California because of our clean energy policies that make us a leader in the nation,” he says, adding that after the Nov. 2 election, “it’s clear Californians support these clean energy policies.”
In addition to founding greenfresno.org, Tom Cotter is Central California sales manager for Real Goods Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: RSOL) of Boulder, Colo., and is also the organizer of Fresno Solar Tour, where participants tour homes and buildings to see how their neighbors are using solar energy to reduce their monthly utility bills.