Portland-based Clean Edge highlights 10 years of clean energy growth

Solar industry experienced strong growth in 2010

The solar industry experienced strong growth in 2010.

In its 10th annual Clean Energy Trends report released Monday, Portland-based Research firm Clean Edge Inc. trained a spotlight on continued strong growth in renewable energy sectors — a combined 35 percent year-over-year surge in global revenue for solar energy, wind energy and biofuel sectors.

Clean Edge found that the three sectors grew from $139.1 billion in global revenue to $188.1 billion.

Solar installations more than doubled from 7.1 gigawatts installed worldwide in 2009 to 15.6 gigawatts in 2010. Wind power, however, experienced a slight year-over-year decline in market size, according to the report.

In all, venture capitalists worldwide invested $5.1 billion in the cleantech sector, up 46 percent from $3.5 billion in 2009.

Clean Edge predicts that the growth in renewable energy will continue in the decade to come:

• The firm projects that the solar photovoltaics industry will grow 59 percent, from a $71.2 billion global industry in 2010 to a $113.6 billion industry in 2020.

• Despite hiccupping in 2010, wind energy is projected to more than double from $60.5 billion to $122.9 billion in 2020.

• Biofuels are expected to double from $56.4 billion in 2010 to $112.8 billion by 2020.

In addition, Clean Edge identifies cleantech trends to watch for the coming year. This year's trends are:

• The rise of low-cost LED lighting.

• Natural gas identified as important partner for wind and solar energy.

• The takeoff of cleaner aviation fuels thanks to companies such as Solazyme.

• An increase in low-cost green buildings and their use in recovery areas such as Haiti and New Orleans.

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