The sun rises on Pasadena’s renewable energy firms – Pasadena Star News


Pasadena’s role in the energy solutions market is increasing.  Local businesses, research teams, incubators and capitalists are all playing a role.  At the recent Energy Storage North America conference at the Pasadena Convention Center, Idealab startup Energy Vault unveiled designs of its energy storage platform, which shows the kind of technology local talent is bringing to bear on the challenges of moving to a 100 percent renewable energy.   The Legislature was primarily focused on the positive impact on the global climate when setting the Renewable Portfolio Standard for electric utilities at 100 percent by 2045, but developing and deploying renewable energy solutions will be increasingly big business in the coming years, due in part to the passage of SB100.

Whether commercializing new forms of energy storage, redefining the power grid, conducting R&D to enable the transformative change or training workers for new jobs in energy, there is a huge potential for California and especially Pasadena to create jobs and develop globally sought after technologies, products and services.

Pasadena-based Edisun Microgrids aspires to lower the cost and increase the reliability of renewable power. The company plans to help the energy industry shift to a distributed customer-owned generation model. Pasadena-based Caltech has a significant footprint in renewable energy and the future of power distribution.  One of its most ambitious goals, at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, is to develop fuels and chemicals from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. Caltech researcher Harry Atwater is developing a variety of solar cell improvements including higher yield solar panel technology. Pasadena-based Caelux utilizes some of this research as it develops flexible solar cells that minimize the amount of semiconducting material used.

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Caltech also spawned Pasadena-based spinoff SAFCell, a company developing and selling fuel cell power solutions.  Pasadena-based Tetra Tech is involved with hydroelectric generation, and supports public utilities and private power producers by performing environmental monitoring and studies. Pasadena-based Materia is involved in wind power generation, and develops and sells resins that offer leading wind blade designers and wind turbine OEMS the next generation in thermoset resins for composite wind blades. JPL also conducts research on power systems that has relevance, and talent from the lab often moves into the private sector, such as Christopher Jones, who co-founded local company Chilicon Power, which designs and manufactures grid-interactive micro-inverter electronics used in solar panel arrays.

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