The global clean tech sector is showing strong signs of recovery, after valuations for leading listed clean tech companies climbed $26bn during the last financial year.
The global figures come from new research by Ernst & Young (EY), which analyses 424 companies that derive more than half of their total value from clean energy. The report calculates that the companies employed 512,500 people and boasted a combined market capitalisation of $170bn as of April 2013, up 18 per cent on the close of the previous financial year.
While volatility in the sector remains high - 68 so-called public pure-play (PPP) clean tech companies were listed globally during the year, while 63 were lost through mergers, de-listings, or bankruptcy - the figures suggest confidence is returning to the market.
The financial services firm's Cleantech Industry Performance 2013 report confirms growing demand for clean energy in the Asian-Pacific region is driving much of the improvement in the market, despite separate studies showing clean energy investment levels are still struggling in some regions.
While the number of PPP clean tech companies operating in Asia-Pacific grew 16 per cent to 177 firms, the comparable population in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) contracted by eight per cent to 135 firms. The US and China remain the leading countries in terms of listed clean tech firms, with 70 and 64 companies respectively.
Growing corporate demand for energy efficiency improvements meant the number of PPP firms focused on the efficiency sector jumped 14 per cent to 50, with total market capitalisation rising 25 per cent to $34.6bn.
Meanwhile, the number of listed renewable energy firms increased 14 per cent to 32, with market capitalisation increasing eight per cent to $25.5bn, and reported revenues rising 23 per cent to just over $11bn.
While the number of wind equipment companies fell by two per cent to 53, market capitalisation increased by the same rate to $30.8bn and revenues swelled 14 per cent to $35.3bn. The performance of the solar industry was more mixed, with market capitalisation rising 14 per cent to $28.8bn even as revenues shrunk 16 per cent to $42.5bn.
Gil Forer, EY's global cleantech leader, said the report confirmed that the global cleantech sector has shifted back into a growth phase.
"Resource scarcity, energy security concerns, population growth and increasing consumption, by expanding middle classes in emerging markets, will continue to drive this cleantech market growth," he added. "China is consolidating its position as the most important cleantech market and is poised to overtake the US as the number one center for public cleantech companies."