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Solar drives record clean energy investment in 2011 Total new investment in rene ...

Solar drives record clean energy investment in 2011 Total new investment in renewable and clean energy solutions increased 5% from 2010, to $260bn in 2011 according to data from analysis company Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The $260bn figure is five times higher than the total $54bn investment seen in 2004, and was achieved in a sluggish year for the global economy. Investment in solar power outstripped that of other technologies, even wind. The year also marked the first since 2008 since US clean energy investment levels moved ahead of China. US investment increased 33% to $56bn, whereas China increased its investment by 1% to $47bn. 2011 saw a 36% surge in total investment in solar technology, to $136bn. This was nearly double the $75bn investment in wind power, which was down 17% on the 2010. Michael Liebreich, Chief Executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: ‘The performance of solar is even more remarkable when you consider that the price of photovoltaic modules fell by close to 50% during 2011, and now stands 75% lower than three years ago, in mid-2008. The cost of PV technology has fallen, but the volume of PV sold has increased by a much greater factor as it approached competitiveness with other sources of power.’ Europe as a whole saw clean energy investment rise 3% to $100bn, with the strongest features being solar installations - both large-scale and distributed - in Germany and Italy, and offshore wind financings in the North Sea. India led the table in terms of growth in investment with a jump of 52% to $10bn. Several other categories of investment actually fell slightly during 2011. Corporate research and development in clean energy fell to $13bn last year, from $15bn, and government research and development decreased to $13bn from $16bn. Investment levels throughout the year fluctuated - the most active period was the third quarter, driven by a large part by a rush of projects taking advantage of the US federal loan guarantee programme which expired at the end of September. Among the smaller renewable energy sectors in 2011, biofuels saw total investment increase slightly from $8.6bn to $9bn, biomass and waste-to-energy suffered an 18% decrease to $11bn, geothermal slipped from $3.2bn to $2.8bn, and marine reached $0.3bn.

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