The research in clean energy technology started peaking in the past five years, the curve tilts even more positive in the year 2013. Solar power generation, wind power generation, electric car technologies are no more fancy research areas, they are now fast becoming high profit areas. The adaptation of these technologies is basically due to significant improvement in performance, process and manufacturing, so that they are becoming viable alternatives to other conventional energy resources. The stage has come now, where the further research can only help in growing the renewable energy market quite faster than what we have seen in the past few years. Researchers are exploring innovative processes, innovative materials, innovative manufacturing techniques, innovative implementation techniques so that solar energy becomes more economical and reach not just grid parity and even lower.
One of the indicator of innovation is filing and granting of patents. Researchers from MIT and the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) have studied the latest trend in renewable energy related patents filing, they have noticed between the year 2004 and 2009, the number of patents issued annually for solar energy increased by 13% per year, and for wind energy it has increased by 19% per year. This rate of growth exceeds other top patented technology areas such as semiconductor and digital communication.
In another research by Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C, Solar patents, for first-time has overtaken all the other clean energy areas including fuel cells. The fourth most patented popular green technology area is electric/hybrid vehicle technology.
The leading companies filing patents in the clean energy area includes, Toyota, General Motors, General Electric, Samsung, Honda, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Hyundai, and Sun power
Renewable-energy patents in the United States increased from fewer than 200 per year in the period from 1975 to 2000 to more than 1,000 annually by 2009, according to the MIT research.