MIT Club of Northern California: Pioneers of Clean Energy Series

What’s it like to start a clean energy company? What are the critical success factors in building a startup into a successful business What does the future look like for residential and industrial solar power?

Building a successful startup in the clean energy field has historically been a challenge, to say the least. The underlying technology may be complicated and risky and often requires significant investment before commercial deployments can begin. The market is subject to byzantine regulations while the utility customer base is risk-averse and slow to move. No wonder the clean energy field has so few successful investor outcomes; and yet, the twin goals of building a valuable business and repairing the environment are too compelling to ignore.

Nextracker CEO Dan Shugar was chosen to speak as one of the few clean-tech entrepreneurs to have done it successfully – and multiple times! He walked the audience through the history of Nextracker, described how he built teams that could execute with passion and explained the obstacles and opportunities that he and his team encountered along the way to a leading global market share, followed by a successful acquisition by Flextronics. Dan also drew upon his career in the solar industry to give us his insights on the future of solar power, discussing both technology advances and market developments.