2012 California Green Innovation Index

The 2012 California Green Innovation Index, the 4th edition, documents how clean technology investment and innovation are helping drive growth in California’s overall economy. 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.

The 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 24 percent to reach $3.5 billion, and clean tech patent registrations increased by 41 percent from the period 2005-2007 to 2008-2010.

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.

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 to January 2010, 1,503 solar businesses were born in California, an increase of 171 percent.
  • From January 1995 to January 2010, employment in the solar sector rose 166 percent with solar installation and contracting jobs representing the bulk of new growth.
  • San Diego is expected to be the first California city to reach solar grid parity (the point at which solar-generated electricity costs equal to or less than electricity from the existing grid) as early as 2013.

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 for every 10,000 BTU of energy consumed.