There is big money going into renewable energy and energy-smart technologies and half of that is going into solar power. In 2017, global investments in green energy reached $334 billion and $161 billion of that was in solar.
Worldwide, solar investments were up by 3% over 2016, which doesn’t seem remarkable except that capital costs for solar technology continue to fall sharply. For example, utility-scale solar installations were about 25% cheaper per megawatt last year than they were only 2 years ago.
About half of the global investment in solar in 2017 was spent in China. China installed about 50 GW of solar capacity in 2017, nearly twice what was forecast. There is more than 110 GW of solar now installed in China. The country has a goal to have more than 200 GW of installed solar capacity by 2020.
Chinese investment in all clean energy technologies was a record $132 billion in 2017. The next largest investing country was the U.S. at $57 billion, up 1% over 2016.
Wind and solar project investments were up 150% in Australia to a record $9 billion and Mexico investments were up by over 500% to over $6 billion. European investments as a whole were actually down for the year, primarily due to major decreases in Germany and the U.K. Nevertheless, other European countries like France, Sweden, and the Netherlands were up for the year.
Apart from solar and wind power, investments in smart grid, energy efficiency, and energy storage technologies reached record level near $50 billion.
It was a big year for clean energy.
Photo, posted November 25, 2015, courtesy of IBM Research via Flickr.