SAN JOSE -- As the demand for electric cars and other renewable technologies grows, California needs battery experts and entrepreneurs -- and it's looking to San Jose State University to produce them.

A "battery university" will open this summer in the university's professional division, teaching the ins and outs of energy storage. The program will be practical and applied, covering everything from technical concepts to the financial and policy issues related to running a renewable energy business.

It will start small, with just one overview course and no more than 50 students, but could grow quickly into a certificate program serving hundreds, said Jeff Anderson, interim executive director of CalCharge, an industry initiative to spur innovation. CalCharge is teaming up with San Jose State on the project.

Most battery manufacturing takes place in China, but the Golden State is home to 40 companies that are developing energy storage technologies for wind, solar, electric vehicle and consumer products, according to a news release about the program.

Still, Anderson said, California must continue to innovate if it wants to keep its edge. "The fast-emerging energy storage industry is key to the continuing success of the multibillion-dollar global clean energy economy," he said. "Ceding this important sector to another country would be a tragic and short-sighted mistake."

The program is intended for professionals from other industries with an interest in battery technology and for students pursuing a master's degree but not necessarily a Ph.D.

Anderson said the classes might be made available online.

Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.