Solar Energy Investment in Developing Countries Surpasses Investment in Wealthy Nations for First Time

In an unprecedented milestone, developing countries have surpassed richer nations in terms of investments on renewable energy.

This was revealed through a recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) via a news item. According to the report, China led the upswing in clean energy investments for the emerging markets. The country increased its energy capacity by 35 gigawatts, more than the combined energy outputs of France, U.K., and the U.S.

The report revealed that 55 developing countries invested $126 billion for clean energy projects in 2014. This was a 39-percent jump from the previous year. In terms of energy capacity, developing countries added 50.4 gigawatts, adding 21 percent from capacity figures in 2013.

The results of the report are timely, considering the recent climate change discussions in Paris. “The good news highlighted in this report is that emerging markets truly can attract investment in clean energy… The perhaps even better news is that this is being driven less by concerns about climate change than other factors,” said BNEF U.S. research chief Ethan Zindler.

In addition, Zindler believes that the shift towards renewable energy sources may be influenced by the following:

  • Using these technologies as well as the availability of sun and wind to generate energy have lowered the cost of renewable energy systems.
  • More financial institutions are in support of clean and renewable energy, with many of them supplying funds for clean energy projects. Apart from projects initiated by the United Nations, other investments are being funded by the World Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
  • Renewable energy removes the vulnerability of fossil fuels, which have volatile prices and potential supply limitations.

The figures in the BNEF report included investments for clean energy such as solar and wind, but not hydropower.

[Photo courtesy of Ken Bosma on Flickr]