Cleantech investments rose 32% globally in 2010 compared to the previous year, driven mainly by expansions of wind farms in China and European rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, according to a report on renewable energy investment trends by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
In 2010, a record $211 billion was invested into renewables, according to "Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011," which was prepared for UNEP by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Among the developed economies, the United States was a leader, with financial new investment in large-scale renewables jumping from just under $16 billion in 2009 to more than $25 billion. The big feature was asset financing of wind energy, which totaled $14.9 billion, helped in part by falling turbine prices, the report stated.
Overall, developing economies overtook developed ones in terms of "financial new investment," which the UNEP report defined as spending on utility-scale renewable energy projects and equity capital for renewable energy companies. For example, spending in the Middle East and Africa surged 104% to $5 billion, while renewable investments in Central and South America grew 39% to $13 billion. China, with a nearly $49 billion investment, was the world leader, increasing its spending by 28%. Although there was a 22% decline—to $35 billion—in Europe's large-scale renewables, this was offset by small-scale projects, particularly rooftop solar. See the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011 report.