April 19, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Powered by Innovation, CA Sets Accelerating Pace for U.S. in Clean Tech Race as State Cuts Emissions State attracting lion’s share of venture capital & filing most patents



Contact: Roxanna Smith


Powered by Innovation, CA Sets Accelerating Pace for U.S. in Clean Tech Race as State Cuts Emissions

State attracting lion’s share of venture capital & filing most patents


(San Francisco)- California’s lead in the global clean technology race is growing and that leadership is supporting the state’s economic rebound, while also driving California’s ability to cut emissions. These are among the findings of the 2012 California Green Innovation Index (www.next10.org), released today by the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10 and compiled by Collaborative Economics. The Index, the 4th since 2008, tracks the economic impacts of policies that help reduce state carbon emissions in California.

This latest edition finds that California is setting an accelerating pace for the United States in terms of venture capital (VC) investment, clean tech patent registration, energy productivity levels and renewable energy generation levels. From 2010 to 2011, clean tech investment in California rose by 24 percent to reach $3.5 billion, and clean tech patent registration increased by 41 percent from the period 2005-07 to 2008-10.

“VC investment and patent filings are two economic indicators that signal positive future growth in terms of jobs and businesses,” said F. Noel Perry, businessman and Founder of Next 10. “California’s commitment to an economy that is cleaner will also give us an economy that is stronger.”

The report also finds that renewable energy generation levels reached new heights in 2010, accounting for 13.7 percent of the state’s energy portfolio. This year, in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy, the Index examines the state’s solar industry in a special feature.

Key solar sector findings include:

  • In 2011, the state earned 62 percent of total global VC investment in solar, representing $1.2 billion.
  • 105 patents were registered in California in 2010 in solar and related processes—that represents a doubling of registrations since 2009.
  • In 2011, California surpassed 1000 MW of installed solar capacity, putting the state among the top solar adopting countries in the world. 
  • From January 1995 – January 2010, 1,503 solar businesses were born in California, an increase of 171 percent. 
  • From January 1995 – January 2010, employment in the solar sector rose 166 percent with solar installation and contracting jobs representing the bulk new growth. 

“Despite what we heard in the news this year, the data shows that Solyndra’s story is not the story of solar in California,” said Perry. “California’s solar industry is recording significant growth and innovation that is being driven by our world class entrepreneurs, savvy population of early adopters and our forward-looking policies.”

Other key findings of the 2012 Index include:

  • California leads the nation in clean tech patent registrations, filing 910 between 2008-2010. Solar and battery patents represent 41 percent (182 patents) and 21 percent (258 patents) respectively of all clean tech patents filed nationwide.
  • From 2009 to 2010, energy generation from renewable sources in California increased 11.2 percent to represent 13.7 percent of all energy generated in the state.
  • California’s wind generation capacity jumped by 44 percent from 2009 to 2010. 
  • For every dollar of GDP generated in 2009, California emitted 28 percent less carbon than in 1990. 
  • Due to energy efficiency efforts, per capita electricity consumption in California remains close to 1990 levels. 
  • Energy productivity, measured as the ratio of energy consumed (inputs) to GDP (economic output), is 64 percent higher in California than in the rest of the country. Because of this higher rate of efficiency, California produces $2.35 of GDP for every 10,000 British Thermal Units (BTU) of energy consumed. The rest of the U.S. produces $1.43 of GDP for every 10,000 BTU of energy consumed.

“California was a first adopter of energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction measures, and our state continues to be a clean tech innovator. By setting the market rather than chasing it, today California’s leadership is paying off in the form of investment, innovation, and growth,” said Doug Henton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Collaborative Economics and author of the report.  


About Next 10

Next 10 is an independent, nonpartisan organization that educates, engages and empowers Californians to improve the state’s future.  Next 10 is focused on innovation and the intersection between the economy, the environment, and quality of life issues for all Californians.  Next 10 employs research from leading experts on complex state issues and creates a portfolio of nonpartisan educational materials to foster a deeper understanding of the critical issues affecting our state.

About Collaborative Economics

Collaborative Economics, which compiled the data for the Green Innovation Index, is a San Mateo, California-based research and consulting organization that works in the area of economic and environmental research.  CE works with senior executives from business, foundations, government, education and community sectors to identify economic, environmental and social trends and promote regional innovation.  For over a decade, Collaborative Economics has prepared the annual Index of Silicon Valley for Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and has broken new ground in the study of the emerging green economy.