Wind and Solar Energy Grow 30 to 40 Percent in 2010, Report Shows

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Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailWind and solar energy averaged 30 and 40 percent growth, respectively, last year, according to a Clean Edge report Clean Energy Trends 2011, released today. The 10th annual report from Clean Edge tracks the growth of renewable energy markets and looks at trends that will shape investment in wind, solar and biofuels for the coming years.

The findings show steady growth over the past decade for wind, solar and biofuels, with combined global revenue growing 35.2 percent in 2010, up to $188.1 billion from $139.1 billion in 2009. “When Clean Edge released its growth projections for solar and wind power 10 years ago, many observers, to put it kindly, thought we were being optimistic,” the report states. “We projected that solar power would grow from a global market of $2.5 billion in 2000 to $23.5 billion by 2010 and that wind power would grow from a global market of $4 billion in 2000 to $43.5 billion by 2010. But [...] we were actually quite conservative in our estimates, coming up around 300 percent short in our solar PV estimates and approximately 50 percent short in our wind estimates.”

The global market for solar photovoltaics (PV) has expanded from $2.5 billion in 2000 to $71.2 billion in 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 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 CAGR of 29.7 percent. 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.

Clean Edge predicts that the three technologies, which totaled $139.1 billion in 2009 and grew 35.2 percent to $188.1 billion in 2010, will grow to $349.2 billion in the next decade.

Wind energy 

Wind energy grew by 30 percent last year to $60.5 billion, according to a Clean Edge report.