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How the Renewables Stack Up

The intellectual property firm, Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley and Mesiti P.C., released their patent growth index for clean technologies earlier this month. It shows all the new patents awarded for green innovations over the past seven years. Of the top fifteen patent holders in PV or solar thermal technologies, seven are from Japan and the rest are from the US. The top three are from Japan and, overall, 17 percent of all patents in solar technology trace their origin to Japan.

It’s interesting that PV patents granted in the US dropped sharply between 2002 and 2005, but have risen dramatically in the last four quarters. Perhaps this is because the last four quarters witnessed an influx of federal funding into the industry, proving that this money creates new developments and thus, new jobs within the clean tech industry.

Clean energy solar patents

What is a Patent Growth Index?

A patent growth index is a method of tracking new patents that have been awarded in a given field. This data depicts who holds which specific patents, what those patents are for, and the inventing entity’s location or nationality. This tracking allows professionals to tune into certain areas of innovation within the industry, which is helpful for research and development, as well as tracking the nearest competition’s developments.

The graph shows how well each of the clean technologies are developing. The clear favorite is the wind energy sector. Fuel cell patents are also being awarded at a steadily growing rate and are on-par with solar (which includes PV and thermal) patents for the third quarter of ‘09. Maybe it’s because the fuel cells are a new technology with tons of new findings. Or could it be that they’re preparing for a jump into a larger market?

The top companies holding patents in solar power technologies include Boeing, Canon and Sharp. Canon has patents in nearly all of the solar categories and almost 2.5 times as many patents as its closest competitor, Sharp. Despite the wide array of patents, Canon’s primary interest is in “first generation” technology, which is based in crystalline semiconductors, such as the silicon wafers used in most solar panels. Boeing is primarily interested in indirect solar thermal technologies, including aspects of generating electricity via the heating of fluids and solar molten salt technologies.

Via RenewableEnergyWorld.com Press Release

Photo Credit: Jewish Journal & Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley and Mesiti P.C.

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