Last year the world spent more on solar than on any other clean energy technology. That’s according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which found that funding for many types of clean energy grew in 2014 to $310 billion—the first time growth in the sector was up since 2011.
“Almost half of investment went for solar, which rose 25 percent to $149.6 billion in 2014, its highest share of the total ever,” BNEF said. Wind power funding grew 11 percent to $99.5 billion, the company said. Most of that was attributed to multibillion dollar offshore projects.
“Healthy investment in clean energy may surprise some commentators, who have been predicting trouble for renewables as a result of the oil price collapse,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board of the London-based researcher. “Our answer is that 2014 was too early to see any noticeable effect on investment. The impact of cheaper crude will be felt much more in road transport than in electricity generation.”
The company also attributed much of the 16 percent increase in spending on renewable energy and clean energy to China’s support for solar power and its record spending on wind farms, which grew to $89.5 billion last year. “It was the first growth since 2011, erasing the impact of lower solar-panel prices and falling subsides in the U.S. and Europe that hurt the industry in previous years,” BNEF said.
The company said that the in addition to China’s growth in the solar market, the U.S. and Japan boosted their investments in renewable energy as well. The U.S.’s investment grew 8 percent to $51.8 billion. Japan became the second-biggest market for solar power in 2014 with $41.3 billion in investments.
The analytical firm also observed that that solar projects are getting smaller. Whereas they were large, centralized solar farms were starting to pop up, in 2014 BNEF saw investment in distributed power swell by 34 percent to $73.5 billion. “That will weigh on utilities that are under pressure to replace fossil-fuel or nuclear power stations with more intermittent and smaller low-carbon facilities.”Tweet