The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its prestigious list of the 23 most influential technology firms of 2013. Published annually since 2000, previously featured companies have included such household names as Foursquare, Scribd and Spotify. This year’s shortlist features two UK cleantech companies working hard to innovate and improve the environment.

Newbury-based PassivSystem was born after its CEO and Founder, Colin Calder, tried to build a zero-carbon footprint house in Tuscany, after becoming frustrated with the lack of compatibility between different green technologies, Calder set about designing a system that would monitor the energy use and generation of a house in order to maximise the efficiency of a house – a system he dubbed PassivSystem. The innovative monitoring system is capable of slashing 23 percent off annual heating bills and is already working in around 20,000 homes across the UK.

Cambridge-based Azuri Technologies has also been recognised by the WEF for its pioneering use of solar PV panels in off-grid villages in Africa. Azuri sends out solar PV modules coupled with the latest lithium batteries to power LED lights for up to eight hours. The lights dramatically improve the living standards of those living in the off-grid villages by eliminating the need for kerosene-powered lamps. However, the WEF were especially impressed by Azur’s unique business model which allows villagers to lease the technology by purchasing scratch cards that allocate a certain amount of light at around half the cost of traditional kerosene lamps.

Green technology, and more specifically, solar technology, features heavily throughout, with EnPhase’s range of microinverters recognised for its innovative solution to the so-called ‘Christmas tree light problem’ whereby any shading or problems on one module will affect other modules connected in string. WEF’s recognition of a whole array of cleantech companies as pioneers reinforces the importance of green innovation for not only the wider environment but also for the short term recovery of a stuttering global economy. The full report and list of Technology Pioneers can be viewed here.