UNEP: Global investments in solar fall 11% despite increased deployment; LCOE for PV declined by up to 40%

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report which finds that global investment in solar technologies fell 11% in 2012 to USD 140 billion, despite increased deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies.

“Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013” notes that a 30 – 40% decline in the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for PV drove increased activity. The report also describes a geographic shift in the deployment of PV, CSP and other renewable energy technologies to developing nations.

“The main issue holding back investment last year was instability in the policy regime for renewable energy in important developed-economy markets,” notes UNEP.

“Future investment is likely to coalesce in countries that can offer policies that command investor confidence, plus the need for extra generating capacity and strong renewable power resources.”


Overall investments, stock prices fall

The fall in solar investment is part of an overall 12% fall in renewable energy investments to USD 244 billion in 2012, from a peak of USD 279 million in 2011.

The report finds that renewable energy stock prices also fell in 2012, which it blames on “severe distress” in the manufacturing supply chain for both wind and solar due to over-capacity.


German solar investment falls, Japanese investments increase

On the national level, investments in solar energy changed sharply in 2012, with German investments declining despite consistent installation levels due to falling prices. Meanwhile, Japanese investments in renewable energy increased 73% to USD 16 billion, largely due to a boom in installations caused by the nation’s feed-in tariff.


China the world’s largest investor in renewable energy

The report finds that Chinese investments in renewable energy surpassed US investments to give the nation the leading position in 2012, rising 22% to USD 67 billion largely on increased solar investments.

UNEP also finds sharp increases in investments in South Africa, Morocco, Mexico, Chile and Kenya. In 2012, developing nations invested USD 112 billion in renewables compared to USD 132 million in developed nations, representing a sharp change over the previous five years.


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