Solar, Wind, biofuels markets surge 35 percent to 188.1 billion in 2010

The overall trend for the clean-energy market continued to be one of growth and expansion in 2010. Combined global revenue for solar, wind power, and biofuels surged 35.2 percent over the prior year, growing from $139.1 billion to $188.1 billion, according to the Clean Energy Trends 2011 report from Clean Edge Inc., a research and advisory firm devoted to the clean-tech sector. The bulk of this expansion came from a more than doubling in global solar photovoltaic installations and steady growth in the biofuels sector. For the first time since Clean Edge began tracking the wind power sector, however, the global wind market witnessed a slight year-over-year decline in market size, in both overall dollars and installations.

This year’s report represents a full decade of Clean Edge data and trends analysis. The full report can be downloaded for free at
According to Clean Edge research, the global market for solar photovoltaics has expanded from just $2.5 billion in 2000 to $71.2 billion in 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate of 39.8 percent. The global market for wind power has similarly expanded from a global market worth $4.5 billion in 2000 to more than $60.5 billion today, for a growth rate of 29.7 percent.

“As witnessed over the past decade, clean tech has proven to be a significant business opportunity, and its growth rates now rival that of earlier technology revolutions like telephony, computers and the Internet,” said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge co-founder and managing director. “We expect overall growth to slow down in some sectors as the clean-energy market reaches wide adoption and utility-scale deployment, but there’s still considerable room for expansion.”
Clean Energy Trends 2011 includes growth projections for the major clean-energy sectors (solar PV, wind and biofuels), as well as analysis of global clean-tech investment and trends. The report’s key findings include:

• Biofuels (global production and wholesale pricing of ethanol and biodiesel) reached $56.4 billion in 2010 and are projected to grow to $112.8 billion by 2020. In 2010, the biofuels market consisted of more than 27.2 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel production worldwide, up from 23.6 billion gallons in the prior year.

• Wind power (the capital cost of new installation) is projected to expand from $60.5 billion in 2010 to $122.9 billion in 2020. Last year’s global wind power installations declined slightly to 35.2 gigawatts, down from a record 37.5 GW the prior year. China, the global leader in new installations for the third year in a row, continued to see strong growth with total new installations of more than 16 GW, an increase of 27 percent. The U.S., the world’s second-largest market, declined after record growth in 2009, adding only half as much capacity as the prior year with just 5 GW installed in 2010.

• Solar photovoltaics (including modules, system components and installation) are projected to grow from a $71.2 billion industry in 2010 to $113.6 billion by 2020. New installations reached more than 15.6 GW worldwide in 2010, a more than doubling from 7.1 GW in 2009, representing the largest year-over-year increase on record.

• According to data provided by the Cleantech Group, U.S.-based venture capital investments in clean tech increased 46 percent from $3.5 billion in 2009 to $5.1 billion in 2010. Clean Edge analysis found that clean-tech’s percentage of total U.S. venture capital investments continued to rise, accounting for a record 23.2 percent of total U.S. venture activity in 2010.

The report also outlines five key trends that will impact clean-energy markets in the coming years: the phase-out of incandescent lights replaced by low-cost LEDs, advances in natural gas, cleaner aviation fuels, low-cost green buildings and innovative alternatives to rare earths.


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