UN report shows the world invested more in solar last year than coal, gas and nuclear combined

Published: 18 Apr 2018 By Matt Cook

Investment into renewable energy grew rapidly last year, exceeding investment in fossil fuels, according to the UN. With decreasing prices in clean energy, renewables have become ever more appealing to nations worldwide.

Solar China
China was the largest investor in renewables last year, contributing nearly half of the new projects developed. This domination was largely down to its support and investment into solar power. Other nations also showed strong signs of investment growth with countries like Mexico and Australia doubling their investment into clean energy projects.


The UN stated that 157 GW of clean energy was developed last year, a considerably higher figure than the 70 GW of capacity developed for fossil fuels.


The replacement of conventional fossil fuels with clean energy projects resulted in a reduction 1.8 gigatonnes of carbon emissions during 2017. This figure is the equivalent of eradicating the complete transport system within the United States.


The head of UN environment explains how investing in renewables is enabling countries to provide power to more communities and enhance the lives of many people, as well as improving overall air quality. 


The growing energy demands in China have provoked a need for renewable energy as an alternative supply that will also help combat their air pollution problems. Falling prices for solar have supported China’s solar market, along with strong government support to increase solar development across the nation.


Despite the significant growth, there are, however, some nations that have fallen behind this rate of increase. There has been a small drop in the US, and a significant decline in investment in Europe, particularly within Germany and the UK. Whilst the UK has shown strong performance in clean energy, 2017 figures suggest a considerable drop in investment into renewable energy projects. Some experts say this is partly due to the timing of projects, but there is also a significant decrease in support from the UK government. Energy experts believe that if energy prices continue to fall, government subsidies will potentially become less of a factor.


Experts believe the figures from the UN report are overall very positive but there is considerable progress that needs to be made across the world. 

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