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Published on March 28th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Cleantech’s Revolutionary Growth & Expectations for Coming 10 Years

March 28th, 2011 by  

2001 to 2010 venture cleantech capital investments us

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In the past 10 years or so, the world has seen a clean energy revolution. With growth rates like seen in the telephone industry, computer industry, and internet industry during comparable revolutions, clean energy options like solar and wind have been growing tremendously in recent years.

Clean Edge, a research and advisory firm devoted to the cleantech sector, has been tracking the cleantech industry since 2000 and, in combination with its annual report on cleantech investment and growth, it reflected on the last 10 years as a whole this year. Clean Energy Trends 2011 reports a number of interesting statistics, the most salient of which I’m sharing below.

Cleantech in 2010

  • In total, revenues for the global solar photovoltaics (PV), wind power, and biofuels* markets grew 35.2% last year (from $139.1 billion to $188.1 billion).
  • Global solar PV growth more than doubled (7.1 GW of new solar PV was installed in 2009 and 15.6 GW in 2010).
  • The wind power market actually slightly declined in 2010 compared to 2009 — essentially because of a slowdown in the U.S. market due to lack of clear federal support for wind power and a “tight project finance market.” It is expected to pick up considerably again this year, though. (Note that China’s wind power installations increased in 2010 and it passed up the U.S. as the global leader in total installed wind power capacity.)
top cleantech investments 2010

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Cleantech Growth from 2000-2010

  • The global solar PV market grew from $2.5 billion to $71.2 billion.
  • The wind energy market grew from $4.5 billion to over $60.5 billion.
  • Other cleantech categories, such as hybrid electric vehicles, smart grid technology, and green building, experienced similar growth rates.

Tremendous growth.

clean energy growth 2000 to 2010

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cleantech 2000 to 2010

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Cleantech 2010-2020

Cleantech, as you might have expected, is projected to continue growing fast. Below are projections for some of the top industries (from 2010 to 2020).

  • Biofuels: $56.4 billion to $112.8 billion.
  • Wind power: $60.5 billion to $122.9 billion
  • Solar PV: $71.2 billion to $113.6 billion.

clean energy growth 2010 to 2020

For more information on Clean Edge’s data and findings, download Clean Energy Trends 2011 or visit Clean Edge.

*As you may be aware, there is a lot of discussion about whether most biofuels today are actually “green” or have a net negative effect on the environment. I have to say that I think the latter is the case. At the moment, though, they are still classified as cleantech by most. Hopefully, the newest generation of biofuels will actually be green.

Images via Clean Edge

I first covered this story on Earth & Industry. 


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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