Discover our upstream and downstream technical journals

Solar energy took almost half of all renewable energy investment in 2014, according to the latest figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Investment in all renewables grew 16% in 2014 to US$310 billion. It is the first annual increase for three years but falls short of 2011’s peak of US$317.5 billion. The figures include venture capital, private equity, public financing and research investment.

Asset finance for project development made up US$170.7 billion of this year’s total.

Investment in the solar industry as a whole was US$149.6 billion, a 25% increase on 2013.

“Throughout last year, we were predicting that global investment would bounce back at least 10% in 2014, but these figures have exceeded our expectations,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at BNEF. “Solar was the biggest single contributor, thanks to the huge improvements in its cost-competitiveness over the last five years,” he added.

“Healthy investment in clean energy may surprise some commentators, who have been predicting trouble for renewables as a result of the oil price collapse since last summer. Our answer is that 2014 was too early to see any noticeable effect on investment, and anyway the impact of cheaper crude will be felt much more in road transport than in electricity generation,” said Liebreich.

Geographically, a number of countries showed large gains compared to 2013. China was up 32% to US$89.5 billion, a national record. Japan was up 12% to US$41.3 billion. Europe by comparison was stagnant with 1% growth to US$66 billion.

Yield cos drove a 52% increase in public market financing. The publicly trade project holding companies raised US$3.9 billion in 2014 with the US and UK leading the way.