The landscape of the global renewable energy market continues to shift with changes in economic and social conditions and policies. While some renewable energy sectors – notably, solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment – experienced “dazzling growth, success and rising stock prices,” others saw a drop in deployments, as well as challenges on the policy and finance fronts, according to a global clean energy market report from Clean Edge released March 26.
Last year marked a turning point for solar PV, according to Clean Edge's, Clean Energy Trends 2014 report, as newly installed solar PV generating capacity exceeded that of wind power for the first time since the market research company began tracking global markets in 2000. Newly installed solar PV generating capacity totaled 36.5 gigawatts (GW) while that for wind totaled 35.5 GW, according to Clean Edge's count.
Fueling solar PV capacity growth, new installations hit record levels in China, Japan and the U.S. in 2013. That combined with a decline in new wind power capacity led to “this unprecedented crossover,” Clean Edge explained in a press release.
The global solar PV market grew 15 percent in value in 2013, with modest growth in biofuels. Combined, growth in the two sectors wasn't enough to offset a drop in the value of the wind power, however.
Totaling $247.6 billion, the combined value of the global renewable energy market in 2013 fell slightly from $248.7 billion in 2012, according to Clean Edge's latest report.
Clean Edge's co-founder and managing director, Ron Pernick, reinforces the point:
“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. 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.”
Among the Clean Energy Trends 2014 report's key takeaways:
Featured Image: Flickr/U.S. Army Environmental Command
An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.