“When we think about the future, we have to think about clean technology. Right now it’s over a trillion dollars worldwide, more than $200 billion in our country alone, and the Research Triangle Park has been a place where new ideas for new industries have always been born.” – Carol L. Folt, Chancellor, UNC Chapel Hill
Many economic benefits come to regions and countries that address environmental challenges in sustainable ways. One way the UNC Institute for the Environment is helping our state’s economy in this arena is through the UNC Clean Tech Summit.
The UNC Institute for the Environment partnered with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise, Strata Solar and the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster to launch the first summit in 2014. Today the annual summit attracts more than 1,000 people from industry, academia and state government to discuss North Carolina’s clean tech industry. The summit ignites innovation and collaboration across the state and extends our mission to solve critical environmental issues.
The collaborations fostered during the UNC Clean Tech Summit are remarkable. We have developed mutually beneficial relationships between universities, industry, government and others to strengthen the clean technology industry in North Carolina and green the global economy. The 2017 summit focused on developing public-private partnerships to advance clean technology in the region and position the state as a leader in the field. N.C. Governor Roy Cooper’s keynote address at the 2017 summit drew the attention of prominent companies across the country.
North Carolina’s solar industry attests to clean tech’s potential. The state is currently ranked second in the nation for cumulative solar electric capacity according to the Solar Energies Industries Association, with nearly 250 solar companies in the state. The technology is here, and together, we can generate new ways of tackling our most pressing environmental issues.