"Global investment in renewable energy jumped 32 per cent in 2010, to a record $211 billion," reads the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011 report. The report, commissioned by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), revealed that for the first time financial new investment (money invested in renewable energy companies, utility-scale generation and bio fuel projects) by developing countries surpassed that of developed countries. China led the way, now the world leader with investment of $49 billion. Significant increases were also seen in South and Central America, the Middle East and Africa.
Europe saw a decline in financial new investment to $35 billion; however, this was more than made up for by a surge in small-scale project installation, predominantly rooftop solar. Germany alone saw an increase of $34 billion, up 132 per cent. "Europe’s small-scale solar energy boom owed much to feed-in tariffs, particularly in Germany, combined with a sharp fall in the cost of photovoltaic modules," said the report. The cost of PV modules has fallen by 60 per cent since mid-2008. As costs decrease, feed-in tariffs—higher prices for green power—are being reduced accordingly. In 2010, investment in solar came close to catching up to that in wind.
The overall increase in renewable energy investment from $160 billion in 2009 to $211 billion in 2010 is encouraging. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner commented: "The continuing growth in this core segment of the Green Economy is not happening by chance. The combination of government target-setting, policy support and stimulus funds is underpinning the renewable industry’s rise and bringing the much needed transformation of our global energy system within reach." Yes, well ... keep your fingers crossed.