Solar energy generation surged past wind power to become the renewable energy technology of choice for global investors in 2011, attracting nearly twice as much investment as wind.
The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012 report from the United Nations Environment Program, based on data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, shows that although last year’s 17 per cent increase was significantly smaller than the 37 per cent growth recorded in 2010, it was achieved at a time of rapidly falling prices for renewable energy equipment and severe pressure on fiscal budgets in the developed world.
Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century’s Renewables 2012 Global Status Report notes that during 2011, renewables continued to grow strongly in all end-use sectors – power, heating and cooling and transport.
Renewable sources have grown to supply 16.7 per cent of global energy consumption, and of that, the share provided by traditional biomass has declined slightly while the share sourced from modern renewable technologies has risen.Article continues below…
In 2011, renewable energy technologies continued to expand into new markets: around 50 countries installed wind power capacity, and solar PV capacity moved rapidly into new regions and countries. Solar hot water collectors are used by more than 200 million households as well as in many public and commercial buildings worldwide.
The top seven countries for renewable electricity capacity, excluding large hydro – China, the United States, Germany, Spain, Italy, India and Japan – accounted for approximately 70 per cent of total non-hydro renewable capacity worldwide. By region, the European Union was home to nearly 37 per cent of global non-hydro renewable capacity at the end of 2011, while China, India and Brazil accounted for roughly one quarter.