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Solar And China Dominate Clean Energy Investment In First Quarter


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An aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power plant in Morocco. The North African country has approved a new $2.4bn 800MW scheme. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Emerging markets dominated investment in clean energy in the first quarter of 2018, with more than 40% of funding going to projects in China, while there were notable developments in Mexico, Morocco, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Total investment for the first three months of the year was $61.1 billion, 10% lower than the same period in 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Using slightly different criteria, Clean Energy Pipeline said that the figure was $62.1 billion.

One reason for the fall in investment was a 19% drop in solar funding, partly as a result of a 7% fall in the price of photovoltaic equipment over the past year, and partly because of weaker activity in some markets.

Despite the sector’s first quarter weakness, BNEF expects solar to have a strong year overall. “We expect the world to install even more solar this year than last year’s record of 98GW ,” said Jenny Chase, head of solar for BNEF. &nbsp;“Two of the main drivers are the ongoing boom in China for both utility-scale and smaller, local PV systems, and the financing of very large solar parks in other developing countries as cost-competitiveness continues to improve.”

The largest project to be approved was the $2.4 billion 800MW Noor Midelt scheme in Morocco, which combines PV panels with a solar thermal facility that can store the energy generated. There were also large PV facilities approved in India and Mexico.

By contrast, there was a 10% increase in investment in wind to $18.9 billion while investment in geothermal rose 39% to break the $1 billion barrier. There was also a startling 519% increase in investment in biofuels from the same period a year before as two ethanol plants were approved in the US, but the fact that this took investment to just $748 million highlights just how far out of favour the sector has fallen in recent years.

Biomass and energy-smart technologies (smart meters, energy storage and electric vehicles) fell 29% and 8% respectively, with small hydro-electric schemes also falling, by 32%.

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An aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power plant in Morocco. The North African country has approved a new $2.4bn 800MW scheme. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Emerging markets dominated investment in clean energy in the first quarter of 2018, with more than 40% of funding going to projects in China, while there were notable developments in Mexico, Morocco, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Total investment for the first three months of the year was $61.1 billion, 10% lower than the same period in 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Using slightly different criteria, Clean Energy Pipeline said that the figure was $62.1 billion.

One reason for the fall in investment was a 19% drop in solar funding, partly as a result of a 7% fall in the price of photovoltaic equipment over the past year, and partly because of weaker activity in some markets.

Despite the sector’s first quarter weakness, BNEF expects solar to have a strong year overall. “We expect the world to install even more solar this year than last year’s record of 98GW ,” said Jenny Chase, head of solar for BNEF.  “Two of the main drivers are the ongoing boom in China for both utility-scale and smaller, local PV systems, and the financing of very large solar parks in other developing countries as cost-competitiveness continues to improve.”

The largest project to be approved was the $2.4 billion 800MW Noor Midelt scheme in Morocco, which combines PV panels with a solar thermal facility that can store the energy generated. There were also large PV facilities approved in India and Mexico.

By contrast, there was a 10% increase in investment in wind to $18.9 billion while investment in geothermal rose 39% to break the $1 billion barrier. There was also a startling 519% increase in investment in biofuels from the same period a year before as two ethanol plants were approved in the US, but the fact that this took investment to just $748 million highlights just how far out of favour the sector has fallen in recent years.

Biomass and energy-smart technologies (smart meters, energy storage and electric vehicles) fell 29% and 8% respectively, with small hydro-electric schemes also falling, by 32%.

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