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Popp Quoted in MIT Technology Review Article on the Return of Cleantech

December 9, 2023

MIT Technology Review

David Popp

David Popp


A surge in cleantech investments began in 2006 with the high-profile entry of some of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitalists. But a year later, it had begun to collapse. By the end of 2011, almost all the renewable-energy startups in the U.S. were dead or struggling to survive. 

The excitement around cleantech investments and manufacturing is back, and the money is flowing again due to the 2022 U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which provides strong incentives for U.S. domestic solar manufacturing.

But, the same fundamental challenge that venture-backed startups faced in commercializing transformative technologies 15 years ago still exist. A clear plan to target well-defined markets remains key to survival.

“What is the path to market for these technologies?” asks David Popp, professor of public administration and international affairs. He attributes the collapse of startups in cleantech 1.0 largely to the lack of demand for green products in highly competitive commodity markets. And that business puzzle, he says, remains: “I’m kind of curious to see, looking back five years from now, whether we’ll be looking at this like the first cleantech bubble.”

Read more in the MIT Technology Review article, “Climate tech is back—and this time, it can’t afford to fail.”


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