Despite a boom in spending in 2011, researchers believe investment in the renewables sector in 2012 fell behind the “impressive pace” set last year.
The suggestion came with figures from an independent research group based in Washington DC, which found global renewable investments continued their “steady rise” in 2011.
Investment in renewable power and fuels (but not large hydropower and solar hot water) hit $257 billion (£160bn), up from $220 billion in 2010, said the Worldwatch Institute.
Net investment in renewable capacity in 2011 was also $40 billion (£25bn) more than for fossil fuels.
Solar power dominated in 2011 as the price of technology halved over the year, with $147.4 billion (£92bn) invested in solar compared with $83.8 billion for wind projects and $10.6 billion for biomass and waste-to-energy technology.
Researchers say though this wasn’t the first time solar outdid wind in total investment, it was the first time by such a wide margin.
Asian superpower China attracted the highest amount of new cash, $52.2 billion, which made up nearly 60% of the total new investments in developing countries and more than a fifth of the global total.
Evan Musolino, Climate and Energy Research Associate and report co-author said: “They are particularly well suited for remote rural populations, and in many instances they can provide the lowest-cost option for energy access. For these potentials to be met, new investment in the sector is essential.”