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US Solar Patents Outpace Fuel Cells for First Time

Leon Walker

CEPGIThe second quarter of 2013 saw US solar patents outnumber fuel cell patents for the first time, according to research by Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti.

The number of solar patents jumped 29 to 246 relative to the first quarter and were up 35 compared to a year prior, Clean Energy Patent Growth Index.

The dominance of solar patents in the second quarter of 2013 ends the long quarterly reign of fuel cell patents that stretches back to 2002.

Fuel cells patents (209) topped wind patents (141) by 68 patents. Wind patents dropped 14 relative to the first quarter and 46 versus a year before.  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 the board that dominate cleantech media reports, according to Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti.

Toyotathe company with the most clean energy patents in 2012 –  retook the quarterly crown from first quarter winner GM. Toyota boasted 48 clean energy patents in the second quarter thanks to its 34 fuel cell and 13 hybrid/electric vehicle patents. Toyota has more hybrid/electric vehicle patents than any other company.

GM had the second most quarterly patents with 45, but had more fuel cell patents (35) than any other in the second quarter. Twenty-two wind patents, one more than the first quarter, gave GE third place supplemented by three solar patents and one patent in the “other” cataegory.

The US had more clean energy patents than any other country. But in a ranking of countries and individual states Japan came in top with 147 patents, down four from the previous quarter and 11 from the same period a year prior. Coming second, third and fourth were California, Michigan and South Korea logging 86, 72 and 51 patents each, respectively.



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