Sparking optimism in solar energy, China ranked second and India sixth amongst the G-20 nations in investments worldwide. China, which led the global clean energy race since 2009, slid to second place at investments of US$ 45.5 billion, while India rising by 54 percent received US$ 10.2 billion investments in clean energy notched up the ladder. Globally, investment grew to a record $263 billion in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year according to the Pew Charitable Trust, who conducted the report.
“On a number of measures, India has been one of the top performing clean energy economies in the 21st century, registering the fifth highest five-year rate of investment growth and eighth highest in installed renewable energy capacity,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program.
Clean energy investment, excluding research and development, has grown by 600 per cent since 2004, on the basis of effective national policies that create market certainty, Cuttino added.
India’s “National Solar Mission”, with a goal of 20 GW of solar power installed by 2020, helped drive the seven-fold jump in solar energy investments, to $ 4.2 billion, the report said, adding the country received $ 4.6 billion and an additional 2.8 GW of capacity was installed over the course of the year. Comparatively, China now has the capacity to produce more than 64 gW of wind energy. He pointed out, though, that about a quarter or more of that capacity may not be operational or connected to the electrical grid.
India now has 22.4 gigawatts of installed clean energy generating capacity, it noted.
“China’s overall economic growth rate slowed in 2011, so it is not surprising that investment growth in the clean energy sector also slowed,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s clean energy program.
But because of the falling prices of solar and wind-energy technologies, the same amount of investment was able to support the use of even more renewable power in 2011, he said.
Despite China’s decline in the rankings, the country remains a global hub for clean energy, particularly in its support and use of wind energy and in wind-energy and solar manufacturing. China has the capacity to generate 133 gigawatts of clean energy, accounting for 26 percent of the world total.
China’s long-term plans provide a predictable future for the country as it pursues its goal to meet “the world’s most ambitious clean energy targets”, he said. The country intends to install 160 gW of wind power and 50 gW of solar power by 2020, he said. In 2011, China’s investments in solar energy increased to US$11.3 billion and 2.3 gW of capacity was installed.