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Solar surge credited with 10% rise in clean energy investments

Household solar systems in Japan and US accounted for $21.2bn of investments in Q1 of 2014

Solar Energy Systems installed this solar PV rooftop system in New York City (Pic: Aeon)

Solar Energy Systems installed this solar PV rooftop system in New York City (Pic: Aeon)

A surge in small scale solar installations in the US and Japan saw clean energy investment rise 10% in first quarter of 2014, say analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

A total of $47.7 billion was invested in clean energy projects, compared to $43.6bn in the first three months of 2013.

Falling costs of solar units have been credited with a 42% leap in Japanese and US households buying photovoltaic systems, totalling $21.2bn of investments.

Q1 also saw the expansion of clean energy investments to more emerging economies, with Indonesia and Kenya recording two of the top four asset finance deals.

“It is too early to say definitively that 2013 was the low point for clean energy investment worldwide and that 2014 will show a rebound, but the first-quarter numbers are encouraging,” BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said in a statement.

ANALYSIS: Climate challenge needs radical technologies

China’s investment rose 18% to 9.9bn, while Brazil’s rebounded after a tough 2013 to $1.3bn, a rise of 211%.

The Middle East and Africa managed an 82% increase to $2.4bn, but Europe’s fell 30% compared to Q1 2013, at $11.1bn.

Today’s figures mark the possible upturn for a market that has struggled since 2011. Investment in renewable energy technologies fell 11% in 2013, after falling 10% in 2012.

Separately, Tocardo International BV, a Dutch manufacturer of marine turbines, say the market for installing its products could be worth as much as $1.4 billion by 2024.

Tocardo is currently selling turbines to Asian customers and expects its next markets to be in South America and the Himalayas.

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