Last year’s highlights include the United States retaking first place, with total investment surging to nearly $56 billion, up 33 percent; China saw investment rise just 1 percent to $47 billion. The report noted that a major portion of the U.S. increase was due to the now expired federal loan progam, and that another contributor, the production tax credit for renewables, is set to expire at the end of 2012.
Overall, solar technology investments surged 36 percent to almost $137 billion. This nearly doubled the $75 billion spent on wind power, which was down 17 percent. Other categories surveyed included energy-smart technologies, including smart grid, power storage, efficiency and advanced transport. The report also tallied smaller renewable energy sectors: biofuels saw total investment edge up from $8.6 to $9 billion; biomass and waste-to-energy dropped 18 percent to about $11 billion; geothermal slipped from $3.2 to $2.8 billion; and small hydropower fell 25 percent to $3 billion.
Publication date: 02/06/2012