This year, Australia has seen an unprecedented wave of investment into clean energy, with a combined effort of government and entrepreneurs injecting a record $8 billion into renewable projects. Experts have long criticised Australia’s progress on climate change policy, fearing our slow momentum will leave us behind on the world scale. But all that is about to change.

Kane Thornton, CEO of Australia’s Clean Energy Council, believes this is the momentum Australia has been waiting for, and provides a glimpse into what a clean energy future will look like.

“Investors have made it clear that the future lies in these clean energy solutions, rather than outdated and high-emissions coal-fired power which is becoming increasingly unreliable and expensive to operate,” says Kane.

“It is incredible to see the shift in conversation and action around and in the industry…This combined investment will deliver an unprecedented level of private sector investment in power generation in this country’s history.”

What’s sparking the shift in conversation and the action in the industry? The momentum is being driven by entrepreneurs around Australia who are starting businesses with a renewable energy mindset. Here are three clean energy startups paving the way into a cleaner and smarter future:

1. BlueVolt

Launched in 2016 by scientist Matt Edwards, BlueVolt is creating solar products that can be installed anywhere and by anybody. Matt, who has been a solar research scientist since 2003, believes current marketing of solar energy just does not work.

“It’s a bit of a beige hot water system commodity where it’s not very interesting, it’s not very exciting,” he told the ABC.

“We want to make solar a lot more convenient, a lot more desirable, make a product that people want to install.”

2. ZEN Energy

ZEN Energy has grown from a small town solar installer in Adelaide in 2004 to a renewable energy and storage solution, acquired this year by British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta. In a series of recent contract wins, ZEN is installing its system across multiple business sectors in Australia’s commercial and industrial market, including schools, manufacturing projects and hospitality sites.

Founder of ZEN, Richard Turner says he is now seeing the consumer market maturing and shifting its focus towards large-scale solar systems to combat rising energy costs.

“The outcome for the customer is really power at about one-fifth of the cost of what they would pay for traditional energy.”

“I think it’s a great vote of confidence in the company, and the fact that we’re able to scale up to the requirements of these companies, where the lion’s share of their energy now can be purchased through renewables on the roof.”

3. Iron Matrix

Based out of Perth, Iron Matrix is creating reconfigurable housing that can be built by anyone and from anywhere. Iron Matrix is a modular structure composed of just two different structural steel parts that can be both assembled and reconfigured by hand, without using cranes or scaffolding. Its design allows builders to assemble solar panels on either the roof or walls of the building.

By looking at ways to save on energy consumption, Iron Matrix is transforming the way houses are manufactured, installed and recycled.

To learn more about how Australian entrepreneurs are the driving force behind renewable energy technology, come along to our Future of Energy event.

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