Renewable energy - investment in solar energy technologies 2004-2018

This statistic represents global investment in solar energy technologies between 2004 and 2018. In 2018, global investment in this field came to a little over 141 billion U.S. dollars. Europe, China and the United States are the main investors in this area.

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 over 131 billion U.S. dollars in new investments in 2018, while geothermal energy investments totaled about 2.3 billion U.S. dollars. Global investment in solar energy technologies rose from about 10.7 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 June 2019, one of the largest solar photovoltaic power plants, the Golmund Solar Park, is located in China and has a capacity of 4,500 megawatts.

Global investment in solar energy technologies from 2004 to 2018

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Release date

September 2019



Survey time period

2004 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Total values include estimates for undisclosed deals. New investment volume adjusts for re-invested equity.
Figures have been restated in the 2019 edition of the report.

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Statistics on "Global renewable energy industry"

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