Study finds surge in renewable energy patents

Worldwide, solar and wind patents are among the fastest growing, with average annual growth rates of 13 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

Jessika Trancik, co-author of the report, said in an interview with USA Today that President Obama's Recovery Act boosted federal funds for renewable energy research. But the U.S. patent increase in this sector started back in 2000.

Still, Japan leads in total patents across all energy technologies, specifically solar. The U.S. and China trail close behind.