A record £165 billion ($263 billion) last year went into renewable energy investment by the G20 countries, up 6.5% year-on-year, new figures show. During the year, the sector received its trillionth dollar of total private investment since 2004 when figures began.
In 2011, America ploughed £30 million ($48 billion) through private and public investment into clean energy, beating China for the first time in two years.
The Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? study from the Pew Charitable Trusts has shows Britain, India, Germany and Italy attracted the highest amount of new private investment.
Phyllis Cuttino, who directs Pew's Clean Energy Program, says, "Clean energy investment, excluding research and development, has grown by 600 percent since 2004, on the basis of effective national policies that create market certainty."
Some of the success was because the countries had credible national policies to back the renewable energy sector, such as America's stimulus initiatives and tax credits on clean electricity, she explains.
Solar energy received almost half the investment and rose 44% to £80 billion ($128 billion) thanks to costs halving over the last year. Wind energy prices also dropped significantly.
The total generating capacity for clean energy reached a new high of 83.5 gigawatts (GW). Wind power accounted for 43 GW and energy from the sun for 30GW last year.
The total generating capacity from renewables of 565 GW is almost 50% more than from installed nuclear plants in 2010, according to the report.
Michael Liebreich, CEO of Pew's research partner, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, says with the prices of photovoltaic modules falling 75% in just three years, solar power projects took off.
China generated £28.5 billion ($45.5 billion) of investment in clean energy and the highest amount of wind power at 20 GW.
Investment in German projects reached £19.1 billion ($30.6 billion) with 7.4 GW of solar power installed.
Italy achieved £17.55 ($28 billion) in clean energy financing last year, up 38.4% on 2010, with a record of nearly 8 GW of solar generating capacity. Per head of population, Italy has the highest investment growth.
India's investment total rose by more than half up £6.4 billion ($10.2 billion), aided by its "National Solar Mission," which aims to reach 20 GW of power by 2020.
In Brazil, investment rose 15% to combat declines in Mexico and Argentina and helped the Americas region rise over 21% to £39.5 billion ($63.1 billion) and achieve the fastest growth.
In Asia and Oceania, Flat investment in China was compensated by increases in India, Indonesia and Japan that are now some of the world's fastest-growing markets.
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