Global investment in new renewable energy capacity is on course to reach $2.6 trillion (£2tn) by the end of this year, with solar power taking the lead.
More gigawatts of the renewable energy source are to be installed than any other generation technology, according to new figures published by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today.
It reveals solar power capacity alone will have risen to more than 26 times the 2009 level – from 25GW to an estimated 663GW – drawing half of the investment – $1.3 trillion (£1tn) – in total renewable energy made over the decade.
The total solar capacity is enough to produce all the electricity needed by around 100 million average homes in the US every year.
The report adds total capacity of renewable energy will quadruple from 414GW to around 1,650GW by the end of 2019.
The global share of electricity generation accounted for by renewables reached 12.9% last year – up from 11.6% in 2016 – helping avoid an estimated two billion tonnes of carbon emissions last year alone.
The biggest investing country this decade is set to be China, which committed $758 billion (£616bn) between 2010 and mid-2019.
Europe invested $698 billion (£567bn) and the US spent $356 billion (£289bn) during the same period, according to the report.
It adds the cost-competitiveness of renewables has also risen dramatically over the decade, with the levelised cost of electricity down 81% for solar since 2009 and onshore wind down 46%.
UN Executive Director Inger Andersen said: “Investing in renewable energy is investing in a sustainable and profitable future, as the last decade of incredible growth in renewables has shown.
“But we cannot afford to be complacent. Global power sector emissions have risen about 10% over this period. It is clear that we need to rapidly step up the pace of the global switch to renewables if we are to meet international climate and development goals.”
The decade is set to see around 2,366GW of power capacity installed, including all major generating technologies (fossil fuels and zero carbon), with solar accounting for the largest single share at 638GW, coal at 529GW and wind and gas at 487GW and 438GW respectively.