Innovation has resulted in remarkable advances in clean energy technology with solar and wind energy systems becoming increasingly competitive in the U.S. And more breakthroughs are in the pipeline, as ambitious scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs make headway on products and services that will change the way we produce, use and save energy.

But getting a good head start on innovation is challenging for pioneers, who often lack the execution capacity to design, build and test their inventions on their own. That’s where institutions like Greentown Labs can play a big role.

On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless visits Greentown Labs in Somerville, MA, and meets with its CEO, Dr. Emily Reichert, to talk about the outlook for clean technology in the U.S. and what programs like hers can do to help entrepreneurs get off the ground. They discuss the pace and scale of clean energy innovation today as well as the investment climate for clean tech and some government programs that aim to help stimulate breakthroughs.

Greentown Labs bills itself as the largest clean tech incubator in the U.S., with 100,000 square feet of space and more than 70 startup companies housed in a renovated century-old industrial complex just outside Boston. There, budding companies are building prototypes, developing business plans and taking other steps necessary for commercial success. Areas of focus among the companies include energy generation, distribution and storage; energy-efficient buildings; transportation, agriculture and robotics.