Solar Surge: Report Shows Solar Patents in Top Spot

The Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) recently released its Second Quarter 2013 Results. Researched and published by the Heslin Rothenberg law firm, CEPGI is a quarterly report on green patents issued in the United States.

CEPGI has been tracking green patent trends by technology sector, assignee, and geography since 2002. Throughout all of that time, fuel cell patents have topped the charts for every single quarter.

The big news in the Q2 2013 results is that solar patents beat out fuel cell patents for the first time, surging ahead with a jump of 29 granted patents relative to the first quarter of the year. All told, there were 246 solar patents granted in the second quarter, with fuel cell patents in second place at 209. Year-on-year, solar patents were up 35. According to CEPGI:

Solar patents’ quarterly win makes clear that innovation in this sector continues at a rapid pace despite the failures and consolidations of solar firms across that board that dominate cleantech media reports.

Wind patents were in third place with 141, and hybrid-electric vehicles took fourth place with 94 patents granted in the quarter. Biofuel/biomass patents dropped one from the first quarter to 47 while tidal patents were up three to 22.

The top green patentee for the second quarter was Toyota, which had 48 patents granted, mostly in the field of fuel cells. General Motors was in second place with 45 granted green patents, 35 of which were fuel cell patents. On the strength of 22 wind patents, General Electric was in third place with 26 granted patents, while Samsung took fourth place with 22. The rest of the top ten included Honda, Ford, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Hyundai, and SunPower.

CEPGI also breaks out its data by jurisdiction, looking at the countries and individual U.S. states of green patentees. Japan was the Q2 leader with 147 green patents granted. California took second place with 86 patents, followed by Michigan (72), Korea (51), and Germany (39) in the top five. New York and Taiwan each had 35 granted green patents in the second quarter, followed by Texas, Massachusetts, Denmark, Colorado, France and Canada.

Eric Lane is a patent attorney at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at

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One comment on “Solar Surge: Report Shows Solar Patents in Top Spot

Even through the green energy industry might seem big, let’s not forget that it is still only in it’s infancy.

Everyone is a potential customer, and as the industry grows more and more, it will only be better for the environment… and the economy.

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