Finding room to grow in the increasingly crowded renewable-energy market meant offering consumers something new and three-year-old start-up Sun Electric did just that with its SolarSpace technology, which matches energy consumers with rooftop owners who can host power-generation capabilities. “I want to make it scalable and global even if it’s a tiny firm,” says CEO Matthew Peloso. “So instead of looking at paper carbon-credit trading, it’s a different way of allowing cities to generate and trade clean energy.”

The start-up has formed entities in Australia, the Philippines and Japan, and is looking to expand into California and Texas, with the goal of launching servers in five different cities. In 2014, it became the first solar-generation company in Singapore to earn a retail energy licence from the Energy Market Authority and early this year, it started distributing solar power to local businesses. “I feel like I’m trying to prove that a good idea should trump a lot of money,” Peloso says. “Some people come into the market and think they can throw money to grab market share, but the most successful start-ups almost always come into the market with a good idea.”