According to a recent report by Pew Charitable Trusts¹, China invested almost $35 billion in clean energy in 2009, just about double the U.S. total of $18.6 billion. Remarkably, China’s total in 2004 was just $2.5 billion. A reflection of China’s ability to have single-minded purpose, the impact of this is already felt in many ways but probably most significantly in the prices of solar cells and modules that continue to drive lower behind China’s force. Six of the 10 largest, and almost 60 percent, of crystal silicon cell manufacturers, are Chinese companies. While much of the focus has been on solar, China also has very aggressive plans for installation of wind power to be as much as 20 percent of generation capacity by 2020.
For the time being, the U.S. remains the dominant force in venture and innovation in the Cleantech arena, accounting for well over half of the world’s investment in 2009.