Cleantech In Colorado

Colorado is leading the way in cleantech employment, R&D and investment. The cluster of companies, national laboratories and university resources that call the state home are second to none. Colorado was the first state to pass clean energy standards by the ballot, we’re 4th nationally in cleantech job concentration, 8th in cleantech venture capital investment, and our federal labs make us number one in the world for cleantech research.

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Trying to understand who’s who in Colorado’s cleantech ecosystem? Looking for a list of organizations working to grow Colorado’s cleantech industry? Our Ecosystem Wheel will help you get started.

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Industry Strength

Within the United States, Colorado is a national leader in adopting clean energy technologies and supporting the ecosystem of individuals, businesses and institutions fueling the state’s cleantech industry. 2016 highlights:

  • 26,270, direct employment
  • $4.6 billion economic impact
  • 22.4% employment growth in the last 5 years
  • $20.5 million in VC cleantech investments
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State Incentives

Colorado offers several incentive programs that are available to investors, entrepreneurs and cleantech businesses of all sizes.


The Advanced Industries (AI) Accelerator Programs promote growth and sustainability in Colorado’s 7 advanced industries by helping drive innovation, accelerate commercialization, encourage public-private partnerships, increase access to early stage capital and create a strong ecosystem that increases the state’s global competitiveness.

Cleantech Winners

  • Lightning Hybrids
  • Solid Power
  • Steelhead Composites
  • Prieto Battery
  • Sundolier
  • EcoVapor Recovery Systems
  • BASiC3C
  • Biota Technology
  • RavenBrick
  • aWhere
  • Clear Comfort
  • CO2Nexus
  • ION Engineering
  • OptiEnz Sensors
  • Rachio
  • SilLion
  • SunTech Drive
  • NREL (EcoSnap AC)
  • Tusaar
  • Agribotix
  • Vairex
  • Nokero
  • Avivid Water Technologies
  • Forge Nano

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This incentive allows a maximum $50K state income tax credit to a qualified investor who invests in an Advanced Industry start-up or early stage company.

This program refunds up to $50,000 per year in sales and use taxes paid by qualified cleantech companies for equipment used for research and development activities.

The Colorado Export Grant is a Colorado financial assistance program for aspiring and current Colorado exporters entering into a new international market. The grant program supports small and medium-sized business through funds to offset international business development and marketing costs.

International Partnerships

Through relationships and reputation, CCIA connects people, products and investments and regularly hosts delegations from around the globe. CCIA works with partners from OEDIT, the Department of Commerce, NREL, the World Trade Center and World Denver to represent Colorado’s world class cleantech hub across the globe. Our international visitors are looking for industry partnerships, encouraging U.S. businesses to expand in their countries, identifying investable companies, and learning about regulation and policy support. CCIA is often one of their first stops to access one of the top clean technology regions in the country.

  • WTCDenver
  • NREL International Office
  • World Denver

Colorado offers many additional incentives for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes.

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State Policy

CCIA actively and successfully advocates for Colorado’s clean technology industries at the Colorado State Legislature, and to the Administration of Governor Jared Polis.  Our efforts have directly led to creation of programs that support the growth of the industries and serve to position Colorado as a clean energy leader.

Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to enact a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by ballot initiative (i.e., via an initiated state statute) when voters approved the Colorado Renewable Energy Requirement Initiative, also known as Amendment 37, in November 2004. Each qualifying retail utility is required to generate or cause to be generated electricity from eligible energy resources in the following proportions of its retail electricity sales for 2020 and each year thereafter: 30% for each investor-owned utility (IOU), 20% for each electric cooperative serving 100,000 meters or more, and 10% for each electric cooperative serving less than 100,000 meters and each municipal utility serving more than 40,000 meters.


C-PACE enables owners of Eligible Commercial & Industrial Buildings to finance up to 100% of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Water Conservation Eligible Improvements. Financing is provided by private Capital Providers at competitive rates with repayment terms up to 20 years.

Refuel Colorado is an effort by the Colorado Energy Office to encourage the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles in Colorado to lead a cheaper, cleaner, domestic transportation future. HB16-1332 set fixed flat tax credit values for each vehicle class size regardless of fuel type, eliminating calculations and guesswork. For consumer vehicles, the incentives for buying an EV in Colorado are the most generous in the nation. Right now, you can qualify for up to $13,500 in state and federal tax credits.

Colorado is ready and open for the construction of hydrogen fueling stations and the introduction of fuel cell vehicles, with retail hydrogen fueling regulations becoming effective as of 1//1/2017.

On February 22, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law HB 16-1053, Retail Hydrogen Fuel Systems Regulation.

Colorado leads the nation with approximately 28 community solar projects in operation generating more than 16 MW, and at least 26 in development with the potential to generate an additional 31 MW.

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Robust Community

Colorado is home to a robust energy community and CCIA partners with organizations across the energy spectrum to build and support the State’s energy ecosystem. Together with our partners we are proud to have developed collaborative programs, networking events, policy work and educational offerings.

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A CCIA program, the Energy Fellows Institute (EFI) is the nation’s first program to educate experienced entrepreneurs and executives in industry sectors of the advanced energy and cleantech ecosystems. The program provides the opportunity for executives and entrepreneurs to be introduced to new ventures and technologies that ultimately create jobs and grow the energy sector. The 2018 program was held May 16-23, 2018, and will be repeated again in May, 2019.


The Global Energy Management (GEM) Program at the University of Colorado Denver Business School is a hybrid-online Master of Science (MS) degree program exclusively designed to develop future leaders in the energy industry.

Energy I-Corps

As a partner in the Energy I-Corps program, CCIA helped stand-up this specialized training curriculum aimed at accelerating the transfer of clean energy technologies from national laboratories into the commercial marketplace. The training provides an entrepreneurial education to national laboratory researchers and connects them to potential customers and industry partners, helping to close the knowledge gap between researchers and the marketplace.

As part of Technology-to-Market’s Lab Impact portfolio, DOE’s Energy I-Corps focuses on fostering collaboration between the national laboratories and the private sector.


One of CCIA’s oldest partners, Metro Denver EDC’s Colorado Resource Council is a diverse organization dedicated to strengthening the business climate in Colorado supporting all sectors of the energy industry — fossil fuels, renewable resources, energy efficiency, and conservation. Members of the CRC represent the industry, finance, law, government, education, economic development, and the workforce system. learn more


The Collaboratory is a research partnership between NREL and Colorado’s premier research universities—Colorado State University, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the Colorado School of Mines. The Collaboratory works to develop renewable energy products and technologies for rapid transfer to the marketplace, support economic growth with renewable energy industries and educate the finest energy researchers, technicians, and workforce.


The RMCTO is the regional arm of the Cleantech Open – a global accelerator for early-stage clean technology startup companies. The RMCTO runs an annual six-month program to connect startups with the mentors, resources, and visibility to help them succeed. CCIA is a proud regional RMCTO partner.


The Interwest Energy Alliance brings together a unique mix of industry and non-governmental advocacy groups, which helps facilitate consensus-based approaches to new project and transmission development throughout the West.


COSEIA works to expand solar markets and to generate jobs and prosperity for the people of Colorado. Together with solar business members, COSEIA works to advance solar policy, remove market barriers, highlight emerging trends, and promote solar outreach and education.

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Research Capabilities

Colorado has one of the highest per capita concentrations of federal science, research, and engineering facilities in the nation. Twenty-four federally funded scientific research laboratories have a high concentration of renowned scientists whose work has global impact in a number of areas including natural resource management, climate change and renewable energy. In addition to the federally funded laboratories, Colorado is home to leading energy research capabilities at the University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines and Colorado State University. All of these labs represent important sources of basic research and development upon which business can create new commercial innovations. Check out the latest State of Innovation report by COIN.


NREL is the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Towards this mission, NREL develops clean energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices, advances related science and engineering, and provides knowledge and innovations to integrate energy systems at all scales. CCIA’s partnership with NREL runs deep and we are proud of our collaborative history and our current work with NREL on the Lab-Corps and hydrogen programs.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) is a joint institute between CU-Boulder and NREL addressing important, complex problems in energy that require a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional approach. Its mission is to expedite solutions that transform energy by advancing renewable energy science, engineering, and analysis through research, education, and industry partnerships.


CSU created the Energy Institute in 2013 to consolidate its vast energy research under one organization. Through its 13 affiliated centers, the Institute aims to increase collaboration with industry and governmental partners to solve real-world energy problems and create new research and educational opportunities for CSU faculty and students.


The Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (the Center) harnesses the vibrant energy vision of the Colorado School of Mines, the extensive research resources of the nearby National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the growing national interest to advance the solar, fuel cell and renewable energy technologies and research. The Center integrates cutting edge basic research with education and outreach, into a powerful interdisciplinary mix to drive new research frontiers.


CO-LABS, incorporated in 2007, is a consortium of federally funded scientific laboratories, universities, businesses, local governments, and community leaders organized to establish Colorado as a global leader in research, technology, and their commercialization.

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Innovation & Commercialization Partners

Colorado is blessed with a wealth of clean tech innovation and commercialization assets that help to grow companies and industries.


Innosphere is a nonprofit 501(c)3 incubator focused on supporting entrepreneurs who are building potential high-growth companies in cleantech, software, biosciences and digital health. Innosphere’s incubation program for startups focuses on mentoring, capital, strategy and growth.

A merger with the Innovation Center of the Rockies was announced on 12.27.16.

As a partner in the Energy I-Corps program, CCIA helped stand-up this specialized training curriculum aimed at accelerating the transfer of clean energy technologies from national laboratories into the commercial marketplace. The training provides an entrepreneurial education to national laboratory researchers and connects them to potential customers and industry partners, helping to close the knowledge gap between researchers and the marketplace.

As part of Technology-to-Market’s Lab Impact portfolio, DOE’s Energy I-Corps focuses on fostering collaboration between the national laboratories and the private sector.

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Founded in 2005, the Innovation Center of the Rockies (ICR) is one of America’s premier entrepreneurial support organizations. The Innovation Center of the Rockies is a non-profit incubator unique in that we concentrate on job creation and leverage the local entrepreneurial community in our efforts. ICR is a non-profit incubator and concentrates on job creation and leveraging the local entrepreneurial community in their efforts.

A merger with Innosphere was announced on 12.27.2016.


The Colorado Center for Renewable Energy Economic Development (CREED) is a catalyst for economic development in Colorado through clean energy and energy efficiency innovation and entrepreneurship. A statewide stakeholder network supports the creation and growth of cleantech companies throughout the State of Colorado.

Not sure how your company can leverage our great state?

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