Solar energy investments – additional information
Overall investments into clean energy are largely dominated by wind and solar energy around the world. The wind power sector received just under 110 billion U.S. dollars in new investments in 2015, while geothermal energy investments totaled about 2 billion U.S. dollars. Global investment in solar energy technologies rose from about 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2004 to almost 150 billion U.S. dollars a decade later. Solar technologies have been steadily progressing towards new materials that can be much more efficient than current silicon cells. For example, the utilization of multi-junction cells with several layers that can harvest energy from different parts of the solar spectrum may be undertaken to dramatically increase solar power in the near future.
Funding renewable energy was largely supported by investments into utility-scale projects and small distributed capacities, primarily residential solar projects. In 2015, some 67.44 billion U.S. dollars were invested into small-scale solar systems and 94 billion U.S. dollars into utility-scale systems. However, it must be noted that different entities may utilize varying minimal thresholds for the definition of utility-scale, which has been found to range from 5 to 50 megawatts. As of May 2016, one of the largest solar photovoltaic power plants, the Golmund Solar Park, is located in China and has a capacity of 500 megawatts.