Solar energy dominated global investment in new power generation like never before in 2017.
The world installed a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity, far more than the net additions of any other technology – renewable, fossil fuel or nuclear.
Investment in solar
Solar power also attracted far more investment ($160.8 billion – up 18%) than any other technology. It made up 57% of last year’s $279.8 billion total for all renewables (excluding large hydro), and it towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity, estimated at $103 billion.
A driving power behind last year’s surge in solar was China, where an unprecedented boom saw some 53 gigawatts added – more than half the global total – and $86.5 billion invested, up 58%.
‘The world added more solar capacity than coal, gas, and nuclear plants combined. This shows where we are heading, although the fact that renewables altogether are still far from providing the majority of electricity means that we still have a long way to go.’
President of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
The economic benefits of solar
The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, released by UN Environment, Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, finds that falling costs for solar electricity, 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 $200 billion – and since 2004, the world has invested $2.9 trillion in these green energy sources.
‘The extraordinary surge in solar investment shows how the global energy map is changing and, more importantly, what the economic benefits are of such a shift. Investments in renewables bring more people into the economy, they deliver more jobs, better quality jobs and better paid jobs. Clean energy also means less pollution, which means healthier, happier development.’
UN Environment head