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“When it comes to clean technology innovation, the world looks to San Diego, and our thriving algae technology industry is no exception. With top scientists conducting cutting-edge research at UC San Diego and business leaders like Sapphire Energy, Cellana and Synthetic Genomics continuing to innovate, San Diego's algae market will only continue to flourish.”

Jean Fuller, Senate Republican Leader
Mar 1, 2016

A pioneer in renewable energy, San Diego’s clean technology cluster is second to none. San Diego is one of the nation’s top locations for research and development in engineering, life sciences and biotechnology, which are critical to the success of the cleantech cluster. Another key strength lies in San Diego’s partnership with its neighbor to the east, Imperial County, which provides cost-effective facilities for companies that ready for production and commercialization. This combination of intellectual and physical capital makes the region one of the most competitive landscapes in the country for cleantech companies.
In 2016, the region ranked #3 in the nation for cleantech leadership.1 Continued growth in markets such as solar, wind, energy efficiency, storage and electric vehicles has elevated San Diego as a leader in the climate action and smart cities movements. With a commitment to innovation, sustainability and collaboration that includes everyone from technology companies and academia to local government and the military, San Diego continues to lead in the development and adoption of clean technologies.

Industry Highlights & Contributions

  • SD employment > US: San Diego employs 1.9 times as many people in cleantech as the national average.2
  • Go solar: San Diego ranks #1 in the nation in solar installations, with more than 93,000 rooftop systems in the region.3
  • Smart SD: Smart Cities Summit named San Diego’s Smart City Solutions one of the world’s top 10 smart city projects.4    
  • SDG&E leads the way: SDG&E became the first California utility to reach the net energy metering cap in 2016.5

Key Companies 


Center for Sustainable Energy

CSE is a leader in energy program management, technical assistance and training and education. As a mission-driven organization, CSE works with energy policymakers, regulators, public agencies and businesses as an expert implementation partner and trusted information resource.

Cleantech San Diego

Cleantech San Diego is a nonprofit member organization that positions the greater San Diego region, including Imperial County and Baja California, as a global leader in the cleantech economy.

Energy Policy Initiatives Center
EPIC is a non-profit academic and research center of the University of San Diego School of Law that studies energy policy issues affecting San Diego and California.
San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology
Cal-CAB incorporates the fields of biology, chemistry, engineering, economics and policy to train young scientists, educate the public, collaborate with private sector partners and facilitate discussion with regional, state and national policy makers regarding the use of algae for energy independence and conservation of land and water.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest, and the world’s preeminent center for ocean and earth research, teaching, and public education.


Introduction: 1. Clean Edge, “2016 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index”, 2016 | Highlights: 2. San Diego Regional EDC, Cleantech Study with data from IMPLAN, EMSI, Census Bureau, BEA, Infogroup, CA LMI Department, 2014 3. Environment America, “Shining Cities 2016: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America”, 2016 4. Cleantech San Diego, “The World’s Top 10 Smart City Projects”, 2015 5. D Utility DIVE, “SDG&E becomes first California utility to hit net metering cap”, 2016