U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies in 2014 were again at an all time high of 3609, which was 434 more than 2013. GM retained control of the annual Clean Energy Patent crown over Toyota and all other challengers. Solar patents gained even more ground on other sectors with 1238 Solar patents - a record year for any sector. The United States led all other countries in the number of granted U.S. clean energy patents followed by Japan and then a number of others including Germany, South Korea and Taiwan. California again led U.S. States while Michigan and New York fell further behind. 

The CLEAN ENERGY PATENT GROWTH INDEX (CEPGI), published quarterly by the CLEANTECH GROUP at Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. provides an indication of the trend of innovative activity in the Clean Energy sector from 2002 to the present. The CEPGI also ranks the leaders among Clean Energy Patent Owners, along with the countries and the U.S. states which receive the most clean energy patents.

(Download CEPGI 2014 Year in Review)

The granting of patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is often cited as a measure of the inventive activity and evidence of the effectiveness of research & development investments. Patents are considered to be such an indicator, because to be awarded a patent, it requires not only the efforts of inventors to develop new and non-obvious innovations but also successful handling by patent counsel to shepherd a patent application through the PTO. Thus, the granting of a patent is an indicator that efforts at innovation have been successful and that an innovation had enough perceived value to justify the time and expense in procuring the patent.

The CEPGI (shown below annually) tracks the granting of U.S. patents for the following sub-components: Solar, Wind, Hybrid/Electric Vehicles, Fuel Cells, Hydroelectric, Tidal/Wave, Geothermal, Biomass/Biofuels and other clean renewable energy.

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U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies in 2014 were at an all time high of 3609, which was 434 more than 2013 bringing Clean Energy patents into record territory. This gain more than tripled the previous year-to-year increase but was still far fewer than the increase of 730 between 2011 and 2012. 

As depicted below in the breakdown of the CEPGI by its sub-components, Solar patent technologies and Hybrid/Electric Vehicle (HEV) technologies each had similar, big gains on a percentage basis with Solar increasing 28 percent and HEV one percent less. Tidal/ Wave energy patents were up 15 percent. Wind patents were up five percent and Biomass/Biofuels up just over one percent. Fuel Cell patents fell by less than one percent. 

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Solar patents topped all other technologies, having 358 patents more than nearest competitor Fuel Cell technologies. There were 1238 Solar patents granted in 2014 which gave Solar technologies its second annual win and being over 200 higher than the previous annual technology record set by Fuel Cells in 2012 at 1024 granted patents. The fall of longtime annual technology winner (until 2013) Fuel Cells by 6 patents to 880 compared to 2013 further cemented Solar technology's ascendancy. Patents in Wind technologies (623) trailed Fuel Cell patents by over 250 and jumped about 30 compared to the previous year. Patents granted in Hybrid/Electric Vehicle technologies were about 100 less than in Wind at 521. HEV patents were up 112 compared to the year before. Biomass/Biofuel patents (230) were up four compared to 2013 while Tidal/Wave energy patents were up 12 to 94 granted patents. Hydroelectric patents fell two to 24 while Geothermal patents jumped two to 23. There were 55 clean energy patents granted in 2014 in other technologies. 

Patent Owners

The top patent owners since 2002 are shown below, ranked relative to total number of patents, and also annotated to show the particular totals for the last several years and a cumulative total for earlier years:

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GM retained the overall lead in Clean Energy patents compiled since 2002 after knocking Honda out of the top spot last year. The Japanese automaker had enjoyed that spot back to 2002. Toyota and GE held at third and fourth places for the third straight year while Samsung retained its spot in fifth place overall as did Ford and Nissan in the sixth and seventh spots, respectively. 

Mitsubishi again followed and Hyundai jumped two spots to pass Panasonic which fell to tenth place. UTC fell out of the top 10 and its Fuel Cell business has since been bought by ClearEdge Power which had 2 patents in 2014. GE, Samsung and Panasonic are the only non-auto industry holdouts in the top ten in overall granted clean energy patents. Mitsubishi is also something of a hybrid, with patents in Wind technology and other clean energy technologies other than those related to autos, such as Fuel Cells or HEV's. 

The hold of the auto industry on the top 10 in granted clean energy patents is curious considering the fall in Fuel Cell patents and meteoric rise in Solar. Of course, these overall numbers take the long view back to 2002 when Fuel Cell patents were dominant. 

In contrast, if we look at the short term, in particular only 2014 (below), over 1500 entities contributed to the record total of Clean Energy patents last year. Toyota and GM swapped places with the Prius maker taking the lead at 149 granted clean energy patents to GM's 126. Toyota dropped nine and GM dropped even more (over 40) relative to 2013. Samsung was again in third place last year with a one patent decrease. GE dropped from fourth place to ninth in 2014. Hyundai (101) jumped three places to fourth and was followed by Honda (97). Vestas was in sixth place from ninth the year before. Siemens trailed by nine to jump from tenth to seventh in 2014. Ford was again in eighth place, ten behind the German conglomerate and GE (56) in ninth was four ahead of Mitsubishi. As in the cumulative rankings, the auto companies dominated the 2014 clean energy patent owner rankings taking six of the top ten slots. The remaining top winners in 2014 were Wind patent holders, which is interesting considering that despite the explosion of Solar patents no Solar-only company cracked the top ten. As noted previously, while there are a large number of Solar patents, they are spread out to more entities without the concentrations at the top that we see in Fuel Cells and Wind.

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Fuel Cells

As depicted below in the Fuel Cell patent owner breakdown, GM retained the overall lead but lost the annual Fuel Cell crown to Toyota (101) after a reign of three years. Toyota's Fuel Cell technologies have debuted in the Mirai, its first mass market Fuel Cell car. In fact, Toyota has even indicated that it will allow free use of its Fuel Cell patents. GM was second in Fuel Cell patents in 2014 while Samsung (60) was again in third in the annual rankings. Honda followed with two fewer (58) than the Korean company while 16 more than another Korean rival, Hyundai (42). Panasonic (27) had less than half of that of Honda. Nissan trailed by two in 2014. Solid oxide fuel cell maker, Bloom Energy, had four fewer patents at 21 followed by Kia at 16 granted Fuel Cell patents. At two fewer patents, BIC rounded out the top ten. Daimler, Ballard, Sony, and Toto all were within four of BIC. 

As indicated, GM remained ahead of Honda for the fourth year to retain the all-time Fuel Cell leader crown, but trailed Toyota in the annual count. Toyota and Samsung continued to keep pace with the other leaders overall while gaining slightly. Nissan continued to gain, overtaking UTC. Hyundai joined the top 10 overall and Delphi dropped back. 

Approximately 300 different entities were granted Fuel Cell patents in 2014 which is similar to the previous year.

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Wind Technologies

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Vestas wrested the annual Wind patent crown from GE - winner of the previous eight years. GE dropped 30 from the previous year to 33 while Vestas was up 33 to 80 granted Wind energy patents in 2014. Siemens (64) placed second in 2014 jumping three spots while Mitsubishi fell one spot, dropping to fourth with only 30 patents after 54 the previous year. Nordex was next in 2014 with 16 granted Wind tech patents, up seven from the previous year. LM Glasfiber jumped three places to 6th while adding five patents compared to 2013. Gamesa jumped a place grabbing nine wind patents. Aloys Wobben (of Enercon) pulled in nine after only six last year. Newcomer to the annual top ten, Envision Energy of Denmark, had 8 patents, tying Alstom Wind of France, which interestingly may be merging with GE thereby potentially adding to the US conglomerate's total next time. 

Looking at totals back to 2002, GE still leads over Vestas by a huge margin, and Vestas remains the holder of the silver medal for Wind tech. Siemens jumped to third place overall from fifth while Mitsubishi dropped to fourth. Aloys Wobben (of Enercon) continued a slow descent dropping back another spot this year and Nordex held in 6th place as did Repower in 7th. The final three overall leaders in Wind patents since 2002 also held steady to round out the top ten - Gamesa, LM Glasfiber, Hitachi. 

Solar Technologies

In the up-in-the-air Solar patent race, Samsung (37) took the annual Solar patent crown for the second year in a row, again followed by Sunpower (34) which was tied with LG. The Solar patent leader and the two second place finishers are separated by three with Samsung and Sunpower both up 8 compared to 2013. LG jumped 18 from 2013 to jump from fifth to third. IBM again took fourth place trailing by one patent. DuPont (29) dropped two spots while still gaining nine patents. First Solar (14) joined the top ten with a four patent rise from 2013. Boeing had one fewer patent than First Solar and Sanyo one fewer than the airplane manufacturer. GE stayed in the top ten with 10 granted solar patents tying newcomer Tigo Energy. 

For the first time since tracking began, the ownership of the cumulative patent owner crown has changed - going to Sunpower despite Samsung edging out the new overall leader in the annual race. Samsung and Dupont followed in second and third places while Canon dropped to fourth, the longtime overall leader not getting a new patent since 2010. Sharp follows in fifth place having gained 8 patents since 2013. LG jumped four places to sixth place in the overall rankings while Boeing remained in the same spot as 2013 relative to the overall leaders. Applied Materials had 5 solar patents in 2014 which resulted in a fall to eighth place above Sanyo (12 in 2014) and IBM which hit the overall top ten for the first time on the strength of 33 granted solar patents in 2014. 

Over 700 different entities were granted Solar patents in 2013 which is about one hundred more different entities than the year before and more than any other sector.

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Hybrid/Electric Vehicles

Toyota remained at the top of the cumulative Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patent rankings since 2002 while Hyundai (56) jumped two places to top all others in HEV patents for 2014. Ford was again nipping at Toyota's heels in the cumulative rankings with Honda, GM, Hyundai and Nissan reprising their roles in the cumulative top ten. Kia joined the overall top ten in sixth place moving Mitsubishi down to seventh. Aisan and Denso followed while Tesla exited the cumulative top ten yet had 11 HEV patents in 2014. 

In the annual contest, Ford also placed second with 50 granted Hybrid/electric Vehicle patents, up five compared to the prior year. Toyota (44) was up four compared to the year prior and took third place followed by Honda (35 and up four) and GM (32 and down 7). Kia had three less HEV patents than the largest Detroit automaker, but up 12 from 2013. Nissan took seventh place in 2014 and had 16 granted patents in the sector, up 6 compared to 2013. Aisin tied Nissan and jumped 7 compared to the year before. Bosch and Porsche each had 14 HEV patents followed by Tesla (11) and Denso (10). Bosche and Porsche joined the leaders for the first time while Tesla fell lower in the annual contest with the same patent haul as the year before. Aisin jumped 7 and Denso 5. Mitsubishi, on the other hand, dropped nine HEV patents and out of the top ten.

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Additional Technologies

Also, although not depicted above, Ocean Power Technologies continues to lead in the Tidal/Wave sector since 2002 picking up 3 patents in 2014 to arrive at total of 27 granted US patents in this sector since 2002. Seabased AB had 3 tidal patents in 2014 and has ten overall. Others with the same total last year include Voith Patent GmbH, Wello Oy, and Sheng-po Peng. Five entities had two patents in Tidal/Wave technologies including more common names, such as Alstom and Bosch, and individuals such as Vittorio Perregrini and Miles Hobdy. Over 75 different entities had one patent in this sector in 2014. 

In the Hydroelectric sector, 22 different entities recorded patents in 2014 including OpenHydro IP Limited with four and the rest with one patent each, including MIT, Voith Patent Gmbh, SES Technologies, and various others. 

Two Geothermal patents were granted in 2014 to Halliburton while 21 others were granted one patent. Example grantees include Mitsubishi, Rolls-Royce and the University of California. Kalex, LLC continues to lead in Geothermal patents (8) overall since 2002 despite not having any patents in 2008-2014. Ormat stays in second with seven, Canyon West has four, and GE three total Geothermal patents since 2002. 

In the Biofuel/Biomass area, the 2014 race went to Chevron which had seven patents, up two over the year before, and topping Shell Oil, McAlister Technologies (both with six) and Heliae Development which had five in 2014. Below Heliae (5) were Sundrop Fuels and Solazyme with four granted patents and at three patents were Virent, UOP, Gas Technology Institute and KIOR. Among the several entities with two patents granted in this area were common names such as GM, GE, Phillips, Toyota, Exxon, and the University of California. Around 150 different entities had one granted Biomass/Biofuel patent including Lockheed Martin, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Air Liquide and various US universities, among many others. The wide spread of patents in this area indicates a wide interest in these technologies and likely foretells more interesting work to come. 

Heliae continues to lead the Biofuel/Biomass sector overall since 2002 with 33 granted patents in this area which is 11 more than Chevron overall. Virent has 16 patents in this sector overall adding three in 2014. 

Universities

Looking only at Universities, in 2014 Tsinghau University, from China, topped the 2013 leader, University of California, by four with 8 granted clean energy patents. Stanford and MIT both had 7 granted clean energy patents. Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology and Nat Tsing University followed with 6 granted patents. The University of Central Florida took the sixth spot with five granted patents tieing SNU R&DB Foundation from South Korea, and National Pintung University from Taiwan, trailed by 2013's leader from California. 

As indicated above, the 2014 patents are shown in blue on the right of each bar in the chart below while the chart as a whole shows the cumulative top ten patent grantees since 2002. As is evident from the Cumulative chart, the University of California continues to lead overall in the number of patents granted since 2002 followed by the California Institute of Technology. Stanford follows the leaders while newcomer Korea Advanced Institute jumped many others to arrive at fourth place. Central Florida again stayed in fifth place. MIT jumped a spot to sixth place while Nat Tsing Hua University took MIT's previous position. Penn State and Wisconsin took the eighth and ninth spots while Tsinghau University was tenth overall - entering the top ten for the first time. Texas A&M fell from 8th to 11th place and The University of Illinois fell two spots compared to 2013 to arrive at twelfth among university Clean Energy patent grantees.

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Geography

Turning to the geographical extent of U.S. Clean Energy patents, U.S. patent owners had slightly less than the rest of the world in the number of U.S. patents granted in the Clean Energy field over the period 2002-2013 with 47 percent of the granted U.S. patents as depicted below, which is one percent less than last year's result. Patent applicants from Japan (24 percent) and Germany (8 percent) were issued the second and third largest number of U.S. patents since 2002 with Japan's percentage staying the same and Germany's share rising one percent. South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, and Denmark followed as depicted.

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In 2014 U.S. entities had less Clean Energy patents than the combined total of all other countries receiving Clean Energy patents in the United States by a margin of 1504 to 2105, down three and up 437 respectively, relative to 2013. As depicted below in the line chart, the U.S. and Japan continue to dominate all others in the number of granted U.S. Clean Energy patents. Among the countries depicted, the U.S. dropped slightly compared to the year before while Japanese companies jumped over 50 patents to 696 after having dropped 60 granted Clean Energy patents the year before. As illustrated, the U.S. accelerated rapidly from 2010 to 2013 and leveled off last year. South Korea had the largest increase by gaining 115 patents relative to 2013 while Germany gained 83. Taiwan slipped seven patents but Denmark jumped from 68 to 120. 

As indicated in the top ten chart below, Korea jumped Germany to take third place in granted Clean Energy patents in 2014 with 346. Germany had 316 granted Clean Energy patents. At less than half Germany’s total was Denmark with 120 granted patents in this area, up 52, at a virtual tie with Taiwan (118). France was in the 8th spot for two years in a row at 86 patents, up 32, and was followed by China (61), Canada (55) and Great Britain (44). China was up 19, Canada 17, and the United Kingdom 11 compared to 2013. Spain (35) was up two and Switzerland (28) matched its total from the previous year. Israel had one fewer than the Swiss.

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In the cumulative state clean patent rankings, California broke its tie with Michigan with the Western state gaining a point and the Midwestern state dropping one. New York remained at 13 percent of the granted state Clean Energy patents since 2002. Connecticut lost a percentage point while Texas and Massachusetts each stayed at four percent. Illinois lost one percentage point relative to the year before and was followed by Ohio and Florida. Michigan's patent strength rests largely on the Fuel Cell and Hybrid/Electric Vehicle activities of U.S. car manufacturers. California entities have patents in Hybrid/Electric Vehicles, Solar technologies and Fuel Cells, among others, and New York companies have patents in Wind technologies and Fuel Cells. Connecticut has 4 percent of U.S. entities' granted Clean Energy patents since 2002 with most of those being Fuel Cell patents to UTC.

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California showed its patent drop the year before to be merely a bump on its clean energy patent highway and jumped 55 while its nearest state competitors felt the heat and dropped like rocks. Michigan fell 37 granted clean energy patents compared to 2013 while New York fell a less dramatic 9 patents. Texas took the fourth spot after falling four to 77 and Ohio (56) trailed by over 20 but jumped 11 versus 2013. Massachusetts trailed Ohio by one after falling 27 versus the year before. Illinois (44) edged Delaware (43) with the former up 6 and the latter 10 more. Pennsylvania and Arizona both had 40 granted clean energy patents in 2014 with both states gaining 13 more clean energy patents than the year prior.

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If instead of looking at individual countries versus the U.S. as a whole, we look at the top U.S. states individually (i.e., separately from the U.S. as a whole) and foreign countries in 2014, Japan led the field with 696 patents followed by California at 385, about half of the Japanese total. Korea with 346 granted clean energy patents took the third spot from last year's holder, Michigan. Germany with 316 patents also topped the home of the US automakers, Michigan, which fell to fifth place with 227 patents and New York (132) fell a place to sixth. Denmark (120), Taiwan (118) and France (86) followed. Texas rounded out the top ten with 77. China (61) and Ohio (56) were honorable mentions. 

Fuel Cells

As depicted below, Fuel Cell patents since 2002 are dominated by the U.S. and Japan, followed by Korea and Germany. The U.S. leads but its share dropped one percent overall to 42 percent while Japan held steady and Korea was up one percent more than the year prior. Germany was again at 6 percent in overall granted Fuel Cell patents. Within the U.S., Michigan's share jumped one percent overall to 33%. California (12%) and Connecticut (10%) held steady compared to 2013 and New York dropped a percent relative to the overall 2013 totals for Fuel Cell patents granted since 2002. Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Oregon held steady while New Jersey dropped one percent in Fuel Cell patents since 2002 as depicted.

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As shown in the line chart, the US and Japan continued their recent downward trends while Korea rose slightly in the number of granted Fuel Cell Patents in 2014 compared to 2013. Germany and Canada continued forward in their own narrow bands.

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In 2014 Japan and the U.S. again swapped the annual Fuel Cell crown, but both had fewer patents than the previous year with Japan (305) dropping ten and the US dropping 46. Germany added one more Fuel Cell patent compared to 2013 while Canada doubled its Fuel Cell patent haul to arrive at 22, mostly to Ballard. Korea (129) added 18 Fuel Cell patents and was all by itself between the leaders and followers in the chart. At less than half of Korea's Fuel Cell total, Germany was up one patent and France trailed its European neighbor by 10 after jumping 15 compared to the previous year. Canada (22) doubled its Fuel Cell haul versus 2013 and Great Britain had 10 Fuel Cell patents. Sixteen other countries had 5 or fewer patents in this sector. 

Looking at U.S. states in 2014, Michigan again led all others with 99 Fuel Cell patents, down 40 relative to 2013. California (44) took second in the Fuel Cell race dropping two relative to the year prior and having less than half of the patents taken by Michigan which is not surprising given the US automakers' interest in Fuel Cell technology. Connecticut (18) and Massachusetts (14) again took third and fourth place respectively in 2014 while dropping 11 and jumping two Fuel Cell patents, respectively. Ohio also returned to its position in the pecking order but in 2014 had one fewer Fuel Cell patent than its New England rival. New York (12) had 5 more Fuel Cell patents than the year before and was edged out by its western neighbor. 

Wind Technologies

In Wind energy the U.S. remained ahead of the rest of the world in the number of U.S. patents granted since 2002, but fell four points to 45 percent, as depicted below, largely on the strength of GE’s Wind patents which have declined from their dominant position of just a few years ago. Germany gained one percent to 18 while Denmark (12 %) jumped two percent on the strength of Vesta's recent gains. Japan held steady at 8 percent. Spain, Canada, Taiwan, and China also held their own in single digits. New York is still on top among U.S. states, with 40 percent of the U.S. Wind patents, down three percent for the second consecutive year. California followed with 12 percent, one point better than 2013 while Texas held steady at 5 percent. Massachusetts has 4 percent, and Florida and Pennsylvania each have three percent. Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan each have two percent of the U.S. share of Wind patents since 2002.

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Looking at foreign grantees of U.S. Wind patents in 2014, Germany again took top honors for the third year in a row and four of the last five with Denmark winning in 2011. German entities had 136 granted Wind patents, which was 33 more than the previous year. Denmark followed with 108 Wind patents, up 47, while last year's second place winner Japan dropped a spot to third place with 45 wind patents, down 19 compared to 2013. Spain (28) again took fourth place, and jumped three over the previous year. Korea (13) leapfrogged Taiwan in the rankings and was up four while Taiwan fell two to 11 granted Wind patents. China was between Korea and Taiwan with 12 granted patents in Wind technologies, up three over 2013. Great Britain also had 11. Entities from the Netherlands and Canada received seven Wind patents in each country.

In the U.S., New York again topped the other states in Wind patents in 2014, but only after a second straight large drop in granted patents - this time a drop of 34 patents to only earn 40 patents in Wind technologies in 2014. California (28) again took the runner up spot in 2014, dropping 8. Texas dropped three patents to 14 granted Wind patents. Florida and Ohio both had 11 patents to take the fourth spot from Massachusetts which, with only five Wind patents in 2014, dropped below Vermont and Colorado as well. Florida was up two and Ohio up four Wind patents. Vermont and Colorado had six granted Wind patents while Michigan tied the Bay State, Pennsylvania and South Carolina with 5 granted U.S. Wind patents. 

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Solar Technologies

The U.S. percentage of Solar patents since 2002 dropped two points to 54 percent in 2014 after rising a point a year prior. Japan's share dropped another point in 2014 after dropping two points in 2013 and eleven over the previous three years. Germany and Taiwan again tied at six percent. Korea jumped a point to six percent of Solar patents since 2002. California's share of the U.S. total since 2002 held steady at 39 percent as did New York's share of seven percent. Massachusetts dropped from six to five percent since a year ago. Delaware tied the home of the Celtics and Red Sox while Colorado, Michigan, Texas, and Illinois each had four percent of the U.S. Solar patents granted since 2002.

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The U.S. led all other countries in granted U.S. Solar patents in 2014 by over four to one, leading Japan 637 to 148. Looking at the 2014 totals for non-U.S. Holders of U.S. Solar patents, Japan was up 41 to 148 granted US Solar patents. Korea jumped 49 to pass Taiwan on the way to 117 patents with Taiwan (78) adding three Solar patents and leading Germany by nine patents in 2014. German entities scored 26 more Solar patents than the year before. China (33) added 15 Solar patents and led the other top Solar countries jumped 10 to 75. France was in the sixth spot doubling its total from the year before to arrive at 26 granted Solar patents. Israel had 19 patents and Switzerland had 18 followed by the Netherlands (14) and Canada (13) while Italy doubled its total from the year before to get to 12 granted US Solar patents. 

Longtime Solar state leader, California, jumped 47 patents to lead again with 242 US patents in Solar technologies in 2014. Second place holder, New York, despite adding 17 Solar patents had only a quarter (60) that number. Delaware (33) took the third spot from previous holder, Colorado, which dropped 13 patents and three spots in the rankings. A whole group of states were separated from each other by very little. Massachusetts (27) held its fourth place spot while dropping two patents compared to the year before. Pennsylvania trailed its almost-neighbor by one (up seven) and led the deadlocked Texas (25) and Colorado (25) also by one. Texas had dropped four compared to 2013. Illinois had 24 granted Solar patents which was two fewer than the year before. Ohio took the ninth spot with 22 patents (up 5). Arizona and Michigan rounded out the top ten with 21 (up 3). 

As depicted in the line chart below, California also had more Solar patents than any other country by over 90 patents, and after a dip in 2013, regained its winning ways despite the sharp upward trajectory of Japan and Korea.

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Hybrid/Electric Vehicles

The U.S. retained the lead it had taken from Japan among U.S. Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents since 2002 last year but both auto heavyweights were in a virtual tie with 40 percent of the granted HEV patents each. Korea added two points to nine percent while Germany added one to arrive at 5 percent of the granted US HEV patents. 

Michigan held steady in 2014 among U.S. state owners of HEV patents since 2002 with 56 percent of the U.S. share of the granted U.S. patents in this area. California also remained the same as the year prior as did New York at 5 percent. Ohio and Illinois each have three percent while Florida has two percent and Washington DC one percent.

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Looking at granted U.S. Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents in 2014 only, the U.S. (184) jumped eights patents to barely edge out Japan (182), which rose 47 and more than doubled the total of the next runner up Korea, which itself almost doubled its previous total going from 41 to 78 granted HEV patents. Germany nearly doubled its annual total as well by rising from 24 HEV patent in 2013 to 46 last year. Far below these leaders was China with 8 granted HEV patents (up 2), France (6) having added two and Taiwan down two to 5 granted patents. The remaining patent holding countries for Hybrid/Electric Vehicles had three or fewer, including Austria (1), Canada (3), Bermuda (2), Great Britain (1), Singapore (1), Sweden (3), and Switzerland (1) In all, it is interesting to note that only 14 different countries (including the US) scored HEV patents in 2014 which points to the concentration in the auto industry and potentially the inherent costs in working in this area, particularly considering the overwhelming concentration in the US, Japan, Korea and Germany relative to the others. 

Relative to Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents in 2014 for the U.S. States, Michigan jumped three patents to 98 and had almost a fourfold lead over California (26) which had one fewer than the year before. At less than half of California's HEV patent haul, New York had 11 granted HEV patents - three more than the year before. Ohio took the fourth spot with 5 granted HEV patents - up two over 2013 - tying Texas which had two the year before. Southern neighbors, Florida and Georgia, each had four granted HEV patents while Midwest neighbors, Illinois and Indiana, had three as did Kentucky and Washington State. The District of Columbia tied Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and South Carolina and Nevada with one less than the previous group. Rounding out the list with one granted US HEV patent were Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia. As indicated above relative to the number of foreign countries having HEV patent holders, the number of different U.S. states having HEV patents granted to its residents grew to 25, which was six more than 2013 - despite Michigan and California dominating the other states in the number of such patents. 

Looking at the line chart below, the U.S. and Japan were in a virtual tie with the US gaining an edge and for the fifth year in a row while U.S. entities had fewer U.S. Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents than the rest of the world combined.

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