Massachusetts clean energy conference gears up

The Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center will host its sixth annual Conference on Clean Energy in Boston this Wednesday and Thursday.

The conference is designed to bring young start-up companies in the clean energy sector together with investors looking for the next big thing, said Abi Barrow, director of the Technology Transfer Center.

“Gosh we have everything from Angel investors to venture capitalists and even some corporate investors that come in,” Barrow said.

The companies that present at the conference each get to set up exhibits in an exhibit hall and have 10 minutes to pitch their companies to industry investors, Barrow said.

Over the previous five years of conferences, new companies have generated more than $200 million in investor funding, $50 million in government grants and $10 million in loans, Barrow said.

“The event has generated more than $260 million,” she said. And solar is one of the primary industries to present at the event.

In addition to providing a meeting grounds and opportunity to connect investors and new companies, the conference provides attendees an opportunity to learn about what’s happening and what’s new in the industry.

There are several panel discussions and forums on different clean energy technologies.

Barrow said the solar industry speaker’s panel is one of the most popular.

“We actually had more people willing to participate than we could accommodate this year,” she said.

About seven of the 30 exhibitors at the clean energy conference this year will come from the solar industry.

Barrow said one of the most successful emerging companies at last year’s conference was Prism Solar Technologies, which raised $12.5 million at the event. Prism Solar Technologies, according to its web site, uses prism technology to increase the efficiency of typical photovoltaic solar cells by concentrating the sun’s light and keeping the panels cooler.

While the majority of participants come from the Massachusetts area, Barrow said this is an international event drawing companies from Norway, Sweden, Israel and Canada.

The conference is just part of a full week dedicated to clean energy technology, Barrow said.

Late-stage, or more mature companies, in the clean energy industry also have an opportunity to pitch investors at a satellite event. And participants celebrate clean energy at a black-tie gala with a splash of green on Thursday night, Barrow said.

Image courtesy of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.