LONDON - The global investment in clean energy grew 41 percent in 2007, reaching $117.2 billion, according to analysts at New Energy Finance Ltd. Wind power drew the greatest amount of investments, followed by solar energy and energy efficiency, while biofuels investments slowed due to surging costs for crops.

The majority of the funds, $54.5 billion, were used to finance assets such as biorefineries, wind farms, and solar power plants. Nearly half of that went toward wind energy investments. Meanwhile, solar project investments of $5.9 billion represented an 82 percent increase over investments in 2006, driven partly by large solar energy facilities in Spain and Italy. Solar energy also became the leading clean energy candidate for venture capital and private equity investment, attracting $3 billion of new equity. Much of that went toward solar energy startups in the United States; HelioVolt alone raised $101 million.

Clean energy stocks also did well, as thin-film solar power company First Solar led the pack with a nearly eight-fold increase in price.

Publication date:02/18/2008