About the Awards

The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster created the annual Cleantech Innovation Awards to recognize cleantech initiatives, projects, and innovations from companies, organizations, and government agencies that have contributed to the growing cleantech ecosystem in North Carolina. 

The awards celebrate a range of creative solutions from water technologies to renewables and new transportation models, among others.

The 2021 Cleantech Innovation Awards Ceremony was held on December 8, 2021 at Market Hall in Raleigh, N.C.

Award Categories

Cleantech Champion

Recognizes an individual who exemplifies a deep commitment to advancing the cleantech industry in their local community, the Research Triangle region, or statewide. Achievements may include demonstrated dedication to cleantech innovation or adoption, business expansion or relocation, development of high-impact technology, or spearheading regional/cross-sectoral collaboration to drive innovation.

Cleantech Entrepreneur Award

Recognizes an individual who has demonstrated innovation through the development of new technology or advancing existing technology that has the potential to disrupt traditional industries, create a cleaner planet, and improve the quality of life for people here in North Carolina or around the world.

Cleantech Research Innovation

Recognizes an individual or team pursuing a research-based solution to a pressing cleantech challenge, working toward commercialization of a research-based cleantech innovation, or spearheading a new collaboration between research and industry.

Cleantech Talent Development

Recognizes an organization or initiative that has made a significant contribution to developing talent, providing professional development, or fostering employment opportunities that support the cleantech industry in the region or state. Examples may include a corporate apprenticeship or internship program, a community college or university certificate in clean technologies, or a K-12 curriculum or outreach program.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion in Cleantech

Recognizes an organization or initiative that has demonstrated a strong commitment to building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive cleantech economy. Examples may include deployments that focus specifically on the equitable availability of cleantech solutions, initiatives that address existing inequalities through new cleantech investments, targeted efforts to help underrepresented groups explore cleantech career opportunities, or inclusion-focused mentoring or networking initiatives.

Cleantech Impact: Energy

Recognizes an energy project that applies cleantech to create positive impacts for the environment, economy, and residents. Examples may include innovations to existing grid infrastructure to enhance resiliency, renewable energy installations, microgrid deployments, or innovative energy efficiency programs.

Cleantech Impact: Transportation

Recognizes a transportation or mobility project that uses innovative cleantech solutions to create positive impacts for the environment, economy, and residents.

Cleantech Impact: Water

Recognizes a water, wastewater, or stormwater project that applies cleantech solutions to create positive impacts for the environment, economy, and residents.

Cleantech Impact: Local Government

Recognizes a local government that has effectively leveraged resources and partnerships to complete an innovative project or initiative deploying cleantech solutions to create positive impacts for the environment, economy, and residents. Examples may include smart city technology deployments, collaborative stormwater management agreements, or cross-departmental teams addressing climate change or cleantech adoption or deployment.

Cleantech Impact: Economic Development

Recognizes a cleantech organization that has accelerated economic growth in the region or state. Examples may include a cleantech business that has relocated to the region or state, an organization that has made a significant impact through the application of clean technologies, or an organization that has enabled cleantech economic growth. *NOTE: Awarded at RTCC discretion and is not part of the public nomination and judging process.

Meet Our Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Award Sponsors

Cleantech Impact: Transportation​​

Cleantech Entrepreneur​​

Cleantech Impact: Energy​​

Cleantech Impact: Water​​

Cleantech Research Innovation​​

Cleantech Champion​​

*Finalists are listed in green

Cleantech Research Innovation

FREEDM Systems Center

Srdjan Lukic

Vestaron Corporation

Vestaron Corporation

NC State University


Breezi.io, Inc.

Matt Craver


Gerald Meyer

Duke University Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions / Energy Initiative

Internet of Water

NALA Systems

Sue Mecham

NC State University Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Chris Vermillion


Marc A. Deshusses

Equity in Cleantech

City of Charlotte

CATS Electric Bus Program

Oak City Baptist Church

Solar Installation

City of Raleigh

Community Climate Action Plan

City of Asheville

Climate Justice Initiative

The Climate Service

The Climate Service

Diversity in Cleantech

Women+ in Climate Tech (WiCT)


Center for Energy Education (C4EE)



Community Engagement & STEM Education Program

Cleantech Talent Development

Partnership Raleigh

Community Climate Intern Program

UNC Institute for the Environment

IE Cleantech Corner Initiative

Duke University Energy Initiative 

James E. Rogers Energy Access Project

Hitachi Energy

Power+ Graduate Rotational Program and Power+ Internship Program

Cleantech Impact: Energy


Lineage Logistic Energy Savings Initiatives


Rich Square Market Microgrid

New River Light & Power

Green Power Program

Eagle Solar & Light (ESL)

Benevolence Farm Solar Installation

Duke Energy

Decarbonization-As-A-Service With The Town of Cary

City of Charlotte

Sustainable Facilities Policy

Carteret Craven Electric Cooperative

Customer-Owned Generation

Cleantech Impact: Transportation

City of Raleigh

Pollution Remediation, Heat Island Reduction, and Pavement Preservation with TiO2 Enhanced Pavements

Hitachi Energy

Grid-eMotion Fleet Electrification





Cleantech Impact: Water



NALA Systems

Reverse Osmosis Membranes

Town of Cary

Storm Water Project

Cleantech Impact: Local Government

Town of Morrisville

Smart Parks Project

City of Raleigh

Flood Early Warning System

City of Sanford

Smart City Pilot


August 1, 2023

September 15, 2023

November 16, 2023
SAS Institute
Cary, N.C.


Contact Emmit Owens for more information.