17 January 2012 – A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows a 36 per cent surge in total investment in solar technology in 2011 to $US136.6 billion, nearly double the $US74.9 billion investment in wind power, which was down 17 per cent on the previous year.
This is not the first time that Bloomberg has shown total investment in solar out-pacing that in wind (on today’s revised figures for prior years, solar exceeded wind in 2004 and again in 2010), but this is the first time there has been such a huge gap.
Bloomberg’s chief executive Michael Liebreich said: “The performance of solar is even more remarkable when you consider that the price of photovoltaic modules fell by close to 50 per cent during 2011, and now stands 75 per cent lower than three years ago, in mid-2008.
“The cost of PV technology has fallen, but the volume of PV sold has increased by a much greater factor as it approached competitiveness with other sources of power.”
The report says total new investment in clean energy reached a new record of $US260 billion in 2011, up five per cent on 2010 and almost five times the total of $US53.6 billion in 2004.
Last year also saw the one trillionth US dollar invested in clean energy globally since the company started compiling data in 2004.
The record investment figures for 2011 are particularly striking because they were achieved during a turbulent year for the world economy in general and for the clean energy sector in particular, the report says.
The industry has suffered severe pressure on the profit margins of manufacturers, a sharp fall in share prices, some notable bankruptcies, cuts in European government subsidy support, and a reduction in the availability of bank finance.