Global clean energy investment tops $300 billion for the fifth year in a row


2018 was the fifth successive year in which clean energy investment surpassed the $300 billion mark, according to new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

A total of $332.1 billion was invested in renewable technologies and infrastructure, down 8% on 2017. Wind investment rose 3% to $128.6 billion, seeing offshore wind reach its second-highest year on record, attracting $25.7 billion in investment – 14% higher than 2017 figures.

Investment in solar fell by a quarter, dropping to $130 billion however, this was partly due to the installation cost of photovoltaic capacity falling by 12%, thanks to cheaper equipment prices.

Changes to Chinese policies halfway through last year slowed the rapidly growing country’s solar ambitions by cutting subsidies for new projects, which had a knock-on effect on investment, with the sector seeing a more than 50% reduction in investment, to $40.4 billion.

Investment in waste-to-energy and biomass rose by 20%, whilst geothermal increased 10% and marine energy investment increased by 16% during the year.

Despite a significant increase in installed capacity, investment in utility-scale renewables projects and small-scale solar systems globally dropped by 13% in comparison to 2017, to $256.5 million.

Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at BNEF, said: “2018 was certainly a difficult year for many solar manufacturers and for developers in China.

“However, we estimate that global photovoltaic installations increased from 99GW in 2017 to approximately 109GW in 2018, as other countries took advantage of the technology’s fiercely improved competitiveness.”