The global clean energy picture for 2013 was a classic good news-bad news story, according to the “Clean Energy Trends 2014” report from Clean Edge Inc. The industry reportedly saw growth, success, and rising stock prices in some sectors—most notably solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment—but downward trends and policy and finance hurdles in others.
Last year also marked a significant transition in the history of clean energy: for the first time since Clean Edge began tracking global markets in 2000, the world installed more new solar PV generating capacity—36.5 GW—than wind power, which was 35.5 GW. Record levels of new solar deployment in China, Japan and the U.S. combined with a down year in the wind industry to create this crossover.
The global solar market’s continued double-digit growth of 15%, plus a modest uptick in biofuels’ market size, was not enough to overcome the wind industry’s lackluster performance. As a result, combined global revenue for solar PV, wind power, and biofuels held nearly steady at $247.6 billion, down just slightly from $248.7 billion in 2012.
“The adoption of clean energy is set against a bigger-picture context that finds many of the world’s largest energy-using nations struggling with critical choices for their energy future,” said Ron Pernick, co-founder and managing director of Clean Edge. “Climate disruptions, smog alerts, planned and unplanned nuclear power shutdowns, and resource scarcity are all driving significant change, accelerating the double-digit adoption growth of solar PV, hybrid and electric vehicles, green buildings, and other clean-tech solutions.”
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