Solar investments drop in H1 2018, wind is up - BNEF

Solar panels in USA. Author: Pete Jelliffe. License: Creative Commons. Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

July 10 (Renewables Now) - Global clean energy investment in the first half (H1) of 2018 decreased slightly to USD 138.2 billion (EUR 117.6bn) as the period was marked by a drop in solar, and now there a projections for the first fall ever in annual solar installations.

According to figures released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on Monday, investment in clean energy declined by 1% on the year, but in the second quarter it was up 8% year-on-year to USD 76.7 billion.

The H1 decrease reflects a 19% drop in solar investment to USD 71.6 billion, due to the lower capital costs per MW and a slowdown in China, both of which are seen to further gather momentum this year. The recently announced restrictions to subsidised solar projects in China will cause a sharp drop in installations this year and the extent of that decision is expected to be felt on a global level from the second half onwards, the research organisation said.

Apart from shrinking solar investments, BNEF projects that China’s decision will lead to overcapacity in solar manufacturing and steeper price falls.

“Before the Chinese announcement our team was already expecting a 27% fall in PV module prices this year. Now we have revised that to a 34% drop, to an end-2018 global average of USD 0.244 per watt,” commented Pietro Radoia, senior solar analyst at BNEF.

Taking a look at the wind sector, investment in wind projects in the first half of 2018 improved by 33% to USD 57.2 billion, driven by large project financings in various markets, including the US, Taiwan, India, the Netherlands and Norway. The top investment deal was the financial closure of the USD-1.5-billion Borssele 3 and 4 offshore wind projects in the Netherlands, totalling 731.5 MW, and the USD 1 billion obtained for the 478-MW Hale County wind project in Texas. US wind investments soared by 121% to USD 17.5 billion in the first six months of the year.

“We see U.S. wind investment increasing in 2018-2019 as developers rush to finish projects in time to qualify for federal tax credits,” said Amy Grace, BNEF head of North American research.

Energy smart technologies, such as electric vehicles (EVs) and battery storage, also attracted strong investment in the period under review, with overall investment growing 64% on the year to USD 5.2 billion.

Smaller clean energy sectors, such as biomass and waste, small hydro, geothermal and biofuels, lured between USD 700 million and USD 1.2 billion of investments each. All except for biofuels dropped in terms of investment.


The table below shows clean energy investments in major markets, as given by BNEF.

Market H1 2018 investment (in USD) Y/Y change (%)
China  58.1 billion -15%
US 28.8 billion +31%
Europe 16 billion +8%
India 7.4 billion +22%
Australia 4.1 billion -1%

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.851)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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