14 San Francisco Cleantech Companies on the Forefront of a Greener Future

Written by Sam Daley
Published on Aug. 29, 2023
14 San Francisco Cleantech Companies on the Forefront of a Greener Future

San Francisco has always been considered one of the greenest cities in the U.S. Some may call us hippies, but we prefer the term “cleantech innovators.” From electric bikes to rooftop solar panels and urban farming, San Francisco has always found creative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our planet.

Top Cleantech Companies in San Francisco

  • Aurora Solar
  • Volta Charging
  • Carbon Lighthouse
  • ChargeWheel
  • Sunrun
  • Aclima

The following 14 San Francisco cleantech companies are going above and beyond in their efforts towards promoting a more sustainable world.


Spotnana’s cloud-based platform for corporate travel is equipped with sustainability features designed to help businesses understand and cut down on the environmental impact of their travel choices. It offers a dashboard that shows businesses the total carbon emissions for their travel programs, and individual travelers can compare emissions data for different booking options when making their travel arrangements. Spotnana also launched a program that allows its customers to offset all or part of their carbon emissions through a carbon removal process in partnership with environmental services company Creturner.


Powered by cloud-based technology, Aurora Solar is a commercial solar power company that provides solar engineering and commissioning solutions to green tech professionals. The company seeks to be a one-stop solution for solar design and sales, providing services from initial modeling to financing options and permit access.


Volta is part greentech company and part adtech firm. The company designs and maintains free electric car charging stations across most major cities in the U.S. Instead of charging per electron like normal stations, Volta relies on advertising partners to sponsor each station. Thanks to the power of advertising, Volta has been able to deliver more than 40 million free miles to electric car users all over the country.


Carbon Lighthouse uses their proprietary energy optimization technology to help buildings reduce their carbon emissions. The company employs hundreds of sensors to capture pertinent environmental data, model optimal environmental levels and find energy inefficiencies within the building. Carbon Lighthouse will then add a myriad of tools (like IoT sensors and solar panels) to the building to reduce its carbon footprint.


ChargeWheel is the world’s first fleet of on-demand energy delivery vehicles. The company’s vans are stationed at popular locations, like concerts, festivals and other highly-trafficked areas. They charge everything from electric bikes to cars and can even act as generators for events. Each charging-as-a-service van can charge 800 e-scooters and e-bikes or eight Teslas with a single energy supply.


Station A’s platform helps clean energy product developers analyze markets, find new customers, connect directly with energy users and simulate their products. The platform continuously gathers geospatial, environmental and financial data to model and predict the optimal clean energy needs for certain homes, businesses or areas.


Sunrun provides solar electricity and energy services for homeowners across the U.S. The company offers a few different energy plans so homeowners can best manage their energy consumption. The Sunrun “solar lease” allows homeowners to pay for solar energy on a monthly basis. The “solar battery” service lets users keep the energy they produce to use it at times when energy costs are high or traditional power methods go out. Finally, the “solar purchase” plan allows homeowners to purchase a solar energy system outright and own all energy that it produces.


TurningTables, a self-described “playground for innovators,” is an energy innovation lab that validates and scales greentech products. The green energy lab discovers gaps in the energy industry, co-builds technologies with other startups to help fill those gaps, gives companies lab space to validate their products and helps businesses accelerate the growth of their clean energy products.


Aclima’s platform delivers hyper-local climate emissions and air pollution intelligence. This block-by-block look into air quality helps researchers, governments and companies gain a deeper look at areas with unusually high rates of air pollution and allows them to implement optimal methods to reduce rates to safer levels.


Imperfect Foods reduces food waste by selling food products that grocery stores won’t. No, the food isn’t bad or dangerous to eat. Rather, the company takes all the food that has cosmetic damages, packages it with any excess inventory and delivers them to buyers for a 30% discount. With the Imperfect Foods service, users receive a weekly delivery box filled with under-appreciated fruits, vegetables and goods that would have otherwise been thrown out.


Sylvatex developed a renewable nano-chemistry platform that has positive environmental applications for material creation and the fuel industry. The company’s nanoparticle system changes how components (like water and oil) interact, creating an easier, cost-effective and environmentally safer way for manufacturers to create products.


Pattern Energy is an independent renewable energy company with wind, solar, transmission and power storage projects across the world. The publicly traded company operates 24 wind and solar farms across the U.S., Canada, Japan and Mexico. It owns close to 3,000 Megawatts of renewable energy power.


First Solar develops solar technologies and currently operates one of the largest grid-connected solar power plants in the world. The company’s solar energy systems boast up to 10 percent more energy capabilities than other enterprise-grade solar technologies, as well as a three percent greater energy yield in hot climates.


ForeFront Power offers flexible solar energy solutions for homes and businesses. The company installs everything from rooftop solar panels to ground-mounted panels on land and canopy panels that can double as covered parking for apartment complexes. If a home or business doesn’t have space for their own solar equipment, then they're still able to rent energy from ForeFront Power.

This article was originally published in 2019. Rose Velazquez contributed reporting to this story.

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