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 awards will be judged by leaders from the cleantech industry and public sectors. All award nominees will be featured on the event webpage and are invited to attend the Cleantech Innovation Award Ceremony.

Stay tuned for more information about the 2024 Cleantech Innovation Awards!

Award Categories

Individuals and Small Teams  

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 Entrepreneurship Award

Recognizes an individual or team that 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 from industry or within an institution of higher education that is pursuing a research-based solution to a pressing cleantech challenge.

Examples include the creation of a new technology, 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.

Equity in Cleantech

Recognizes an organization or initiative that has demonstrated a strong commitment to equity in the implementation of a cleantech project.

Examples may include deployments that focus specifically on the equitable availability of cleantech solutions, initiatives that address existing inequalities through new cleantech investments, and stakeholder engagement processes specifically designed to promote inclusion in planning or implementation processes. 

Diversity in Cleantech

Recognizes an organization or initiative that has made significant contributions to ensuring the cleantech workforce reflects the people it serves, pursues organizational approaches that are inclusive of a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, or actively supports employees’ sense of belonging within the organization.

Examples may include targeted efforts to help underrepresented groups explore cleantech career opportunities, corporate programs designed to recruit and support underrepresented employees, or inclusion-focused mentoring or networking initiatives. 

Cleantech Impact Awards (multiple categories)  

Recognize organizations that have made significant impacts through the application of cleantech to create positive impacts for the environment, economy, and residents. 

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.

Examples may include successful fleet electrification projects, EV charging deployments, microtransit initiatives, or efforts to enhance the energy efficiency of mass transit systems. 

Cleantech Impact: Water

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

Examples may include deployment of smart metering solutions at scale, application of data to identify opportunities for water conservation, or innovative technology deployments that improve water quality and the environment. 

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

* Awarded at RTCC discretion, not part of official nomination and judging process  

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. 

Become a Sponsor

RTCC’s annual Cleantech Innovation Awards is our largest event of the year. This signature event brings together a wide range of leaders, stakeholders, and community members from across North Carolina to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of those individuals and organizations accelerating growth and leadership of the cleantech economy.

This year’s event includes an invitation-only VIP reception, recognition of our award winners, dynamic speakers offering insights and inspiration about the cleantech industry, and a networking reception where all attendees celebrate a successful year with new and existing connections.

Learn more about becoming a sponsor:


Award Nominations and Event Registration open August 1!


View our Sponsorship Prospectus or contact Emmit Owens for more information.