Solar, Wind and Biomass worth $188 billion in 2010 

By Dana Blankenhorn, The main renewable energy industries grew 35% last year, and revenues should double again this decade, according to the Clean Energy Trends 2011 report issued today by Clean Edge Inc., the Portland-based research company.

This boom has been going on for a decade and shows no signs of stopping, the report said. Since 2000 the market for solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind has grown 20-fold, with the price to install solar panels falling by nearly half, and the percentage of the country’s venture capital invested in the space growing from less than 1% to last year’s 23%.

The report’s authors were not beneath a little gloating. They noted that their growth estimates 10 years ago turned out to be very conservative, with solar energy growing three times faster than projected although “many observers, to put it kindly, thought we were being optimistic.”

Projections for the next decade are more of the same. The report expects slightly faster growth for wind energy than for others in the renewable “big three,” led by Chinese investments.

Some of the most promising estimates are in the area of cost parity:

“For the first time in history, these clean-energy technologies are reaching cost parity in select markets. And by 2015, we project that distributed solar PV systems will be cost-competitive for residential retail customers in at least 11 states, and for commercial customers in more than six states. By 2020 that number, based on our projections, grows to an astounding 47 states for residential customers and more than 35 states for commercial customers.” Read more

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