Solyndra be damned. The well-publicized failure of the solar energy company is but one black mark on an industry that is actually booming. According to the 2012 edition of Clean Edge's Clean Energy Trends report, things look very bright indeed.
At Co.Exist, writer Ariel Schwartz sums up the findings:
2011 was the largest year for global wind power installations ever. Wind power is projected to expand from $71.5 billion (in new installation capital costs) in 2011, up from $60.5 billion the prior year. By 2012, the market will expand to $116.3 billion.
Global biofuel production and pricing hit $83 billion in 2011, up from $56.4 billion the year before. This is actually because of rising biodiesel and ethanol prices triggered by higher feedstock prices.
The solar photovoltaic market grew from $71.2 billion in 2010 to $91.6 billion in 2011. It is expected to grow to $130.5 billion by 2012. The cost of installed solar PV is dropping, and will continue to drop in the future--good news in the battle between dirty energy (like coal) and solar.
In 2011, 70% of new electricity capacity in the EU came from renewable sources, while only 5% came from coal.
Last year, investments in clean energy projects reached a record $260 billion. One caveat: Over $200 million of those investments went to Fisker Automotive, which is being accused of selling cars that weren’t ready to go to market.
More proof that clean power is a booming industry came in last week with this LinkedIn Industry Trends report, which shows that renewable energy was by far the fastest growing industry between 2007 and 2011, expanding by almost 50% over that span.
In a struggling economy, it's easy to get distracted by bad news about a nascent industry that has struggled to find its footing at times. Overall, however, the picture looks pretty damn good.
Photo: phault / Flickr