A study by Navigant Research has found that the advanced energy industry which comprises solar power, wind power, natural gas turbines and building efficiency sectors is now worth $1.3 trillion globally, making it as large as the apparel and fashion industry and almost four times the size of the semiconductor sector.
Growing by 14% on 2013, last year the sector became one of the worlds biggest industries, with the U.S. market alone representing 15% of the global figure.
The report, commissioned by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), found that the industry grew five times faster in the U.S. than the overall economy, reaching $200 billion and making it more valuable to U.S. GDP than the airline industry, equal to pharmaceuticals and not far behind the consumer electronics market.
One of the fastest areas of growth within the U.S. AEE was the solar PV industry, which surged by 39% in 2014 to reach revenues of $22.5 billion in the U.S. alone capping a four-year growth period of 173%.
"Solar energy is a huge success story, around the world and especially in the U.S.," said SunPowers president of business units, Howard Wenger, who is also a board member of the AEE. "From rooftops to utility installations, solar is a growth business in this country, and a vital part of the advanced energy economy being created here in the U.S."
The largest segment within the AEE is building efficiency, which achieved revenues of $60.1 billion in 2014, while the electricity generation sector grew 47% to $45.8 billion over the course of last year, according to the report, Advanced Energy Now 2015 Market Report.
"The report shows that advanced energy is a vibrant industry that is driving economic growth," said AEE CEO Graham Richard. "Across the country [U.S.] and around the world, advanced energy companies are delivering technologies and services that make the energy we use secure, clean and affordable. AEE is committed to bringing together business leaders and policy makers to accelerate the progress of this industry."