U.S. Department of Energy

    U.S. Tops 2011 Clean Energy Investments: Report

    January 18, 2012

    Photo of several rows of solar trough collectors in the desert.

    Solar energy systems attracted the biggest slice of global investments in 2011 according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.
    Credit: Department of the Interior

    The United States topped China for the first time since 2008 as global clean energy investment reached a new record of $260 billion in 2011, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The analysis company reported on January 12 that the total was up 5% over 2010, as solar spending outpaced investments in wind.

    Last year's highlights include the United States retaking first place, with total investment surging to nearly $56 billion, up 33%; China saw investment rise just 1% 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% to almost $137 billion. This nearly doubled the $75 billion spent on wind power, which was down 17%. 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% to about $11 billion; geothermal slipped from $3.2 to $2.8 billion; and small hydropower fell 25% to $3 billion. See the Bloomberg New Energy Finance press release.