The Importance of Solar Software

When Silicon Valley's old obsession meets one of its newer ones.

The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal in conversation with industry entrepreneurs shaping our future. See full coverage

Clean Power Finance doesn't make solar cells. They don't make solar modules. They don't install solar systems. They don't put up the money to put solar systems on houses. And yet, they are an important part of the emerging clean technology ecosystem.

Clean Power Finance is a marketplace for all the pieces of the solar value chain to find each other. For many years, solar was a small and fragmented market. It was difficult to find the right suppliers, installers, and financial backers. Now, CPF is trying to streamline that process and take the friction out of the business.

The way they do that is to offer a business-to-business software platform. That's not exactly sexy. In fact, it may be the opposite of sexy. But it's this kind of solution that's helped other industries scale and grow. And it's the sort of thing that green tech was never big enough to warrant. Point is: the efficiency of a solar cell is not the only kind of efficiency that matters in driving down the cost of zero-carbon electricity. 

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