2018 saw clean investment top $300bn for fifth year in a row

Total investment into renewable technologies hit $332.1bn last year, down 8% on 2017

Green piggy bank

Last year was the fifth in a row in which global clean investment soared past the $300 billion (£232bn) milestone.

That’s according to new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which shows investment in renewable technologies and infrastructure totalled $332.1 billion (£257bn) in 2018, down 8% on 2017.

Over the period, wind investment rose 3% to $128.6 billion (£99.5bn), with offshore wind having its second-highest year on record, attracting $25.7 billion (£19.9bn), 14% higher than 2017 figures.

However, overall investment in solar fell by a quarter to $130.8 billion (£101.4bn) – this was partly due to the cost of installing photovoltaic capacity falling by 12% as equipment became cheaper.

Change in Chinese policies halfway through 2018 cooled the rapidly-growing nation’s solar boom by cutting subsidies for new projects, causing investment to more than halve to $40.4 billion (£31.3bn).

Investment in biomass and waste-to-energy projects rose by a fifth, spending on geothermal increased by a tenth and marine energy investment swelled by 16% through the year.

Despite installed capacity increasing significantly, investment into utility-scale renewable energy projects and small-scale solar systems worldwide dropped by 13% year-on-year to $256.5 billion (£198bn).

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.”

Latest Podcast