Brown and an entourage of Democratic candidates toured the Solaria solar panel manufacturing plant in Fremont, where Brown was hailed as a visionary in promoting solar power.
But Brown brushed aside the praise, saying he wants to make it easier for Californians to access alternative energy.
"There's lots of things we can do to cut the red tape to go beyond the bureaucratic inertia," he said.
And Brown went after Whitman over her commitment to suspend the state's global warming legislation known as AB32.
"It's about investing in the new jobs, the new ideas, and alternative energy is a big part of that and AB32, the climate bill leads us in that direction," Brown said.
Brown reiterated his challenge to Whitman to meet him in a series of debates. At the Tech Museum in San Jose, Whitman announced she would meet Brown at a debate in October.
Whitman repeated her attacks on Brown's record, including this reference to his time as Oakland's mayor.
"And the schools were so in such tough shape under his watch, the state had to actually come and intervene," she said.
It is a charge she has made repeatedly.
After the public event, Whitman told reporters Brown failed the Oakland schools, but Brown says it is not that simple.
"In California, the school district is a separate government elected directly by the people and it makes its own decisions; the mayor has absolutely no control of an independent school district," Brown said.
As mayor, Brown did expand the school board, but the financial troubles in Oakland's school district predate his years as mayor and the district says he played no part in the financial problems that led to the state takeover.
But Whitman did not respond to questions about that.