Investment in solar jumped 25% to $149.6 billion in 2014, the second highest figure ever


According to Frankfurt School-UNEP Centre’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015 latest report based on data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF),  global investments in renewable energy rebounded strongly last year, registering a solid 17% increase to $270.2 Billion in 2014 after two years of declines, which reflected several influences, including a boom in solar installations in China and Japan, totalling $74.9 billion between those two countries.

Key Findings 

  • A key feature of the 2014 result was the rapid expansion of renewables into new markets in developing countries. Investment in developing countries, at $131.3 billion, was up 36% on the previous year and came the closest ever to overhauling the total for developed economies, at $138.9 billion, up just 3% on the year.
  • China saw by far the biggest renewable energy investments in 2014 — a record $83.3 billion, up 39% from 2013. The US was second at $38.3 billion, up 7% on the year but well below its all-time high reached in 2011. Third came Japan, at $35.7 billion, 10% higher than in 2013 and its biggest total ever.



  • A record number capacity of wind and solar photovoltaic power was installed, at about 95GW.
  • As in previous years, the market in 2014 was dominated by record investments in solar and wind, which accounted for 92% of overall investment in renewable power and fuels. Investment in solar jumped 25% to $149.6 billion, the second highest figure ever, while wind investment increased 11% to a record $99.5 billion. These expenditures added 49GW of wind capacity and 46GW of solar PV, both records.
  • Altogether, wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-power, geothermal, small hydro and marine power are estimated to have contributed 9.1% of world electricity generation in 2014, compared to 8.5% in 2013. This would be equivalent to a saving of 1.3 gigatonnes of CO2 taking place as a result of the installed capacity of those renewable sources.
  • Equity raising by renewable energy companies on public markets jumped 54% in 2014 to $15.1 billion, helped by the recovery in sector share prices between mid-2012 and March 2014, and by the popularity with investors of US “yieldcos” and their European equivalents, quoted project funds. These vehicles, owning operating-stage wind, solar and other projects, raised a total of $5 billion from stock market investors on both sides of the Atlantic in 2014.
  • Renewables faced challenges as 2015 began – notably from policy uncertainty in markets such as the US and the UK, retroactive policy changes in countries such as Italy and Romania, and concerns about grid access for small-scale solar in Japan and some US states. Wind and solar sectors should be able to carry on flourishing, particularly if they continue to cut costs per MWh.

To read all key finding see document below or click here to read full report.

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Source: Press Release by FS-UNEP Center. Image Credit: FS-UNEP Center.