According to the San Francisco Chronicle, companies that specialize in green energy saw sales increase as a whole by almost 39 percent last year to $55.4 billion worldwide, according to a new report by Clean Edge, which estimates  the market will grow even further to $226.5 billion within 10 years.

"It's still in the early stages, and the transition will take decades. But we're at the point where it's moving out of the niches and into the mainstream markets," said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge co-founder and principal.

Slightly more than $2 billion in venture capital was poured into the alternative energy industry last year, according to the report, less than the $2.9 billion commonly quoted by industry analysts. Possibly obstructing future growth are rising costs for production and materials, a drop in fossil-fuel prices and regulatory changes. The report revealed the market for biofuels was valued at $20.5 billion last year and could increase to more than $80 billion within a decade.

Sales for the solar power industry totaled $15.6 billion and are predicted to increase to $69.3 billion within a decade, while wind-power, which generated $17.9 billion in sales last year, could become a $60.8 billion market.