Banking on sunshine: the world adds much more solar than fossil fuel capacity in 2017

The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, published in April by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, finds that falling costs for solar, and to some extent wind power, is continuing to drive deployment. Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables exceeded US$200 billion. Since 2004, the world has invested US$2.9 trillion in these green energy sources. China was by far the world’s largest investing country in renewables, with a record US$126.6 billion, up 31% on 2016.

A total of US$279.8bn was invested in renewables last year, excluding large hydro, and a record 157 GW of renewable power were commissioned, compared to 143 GW in 2016, far out-stripping the 70 GW of fossil fuel generating capacity added (having adjusted for the closure of some existing plants).

This global renewable energy investment total was up 2% on the 2016 figure but was still 13% below the record set in 2015. Meanwhile, costs continued to fall: an auction for new capacity in Mexico established new record lows for onshore wind and solar PV and, for the first time, zero-subsidy bids were recorded in European offshore wind auctions. If the extraordinary boom in Chinese solar, with an estimated 53 GW added, takes the top spot in renewable energy investment in 2017, there were also eye-catching jumps in the amount of money deployed in several relatively new markets such as Mexico, the UAE and Egypt. On the downside, there were setbacks to investment in the mature markets of the UK, Germany and Japan. Read more

Article published in: FuturENERGY May 2018