World invested more in solar than coal, gas and nuclear combined

Exploring global news coverage of the UN Environment Program (UNEP) report


The world invested more in solar power than coal, gas and nuclear combined last year.

China was by far the world’s largest investor in renewable energy in 2017, accounting for nearly half of the new infrastructure commissioned, according to the report from the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

It shows that renewables, excluding large hydro, made up three-fifths of net power capacity growth in 2017 and supplied a record 12 percent share of global electricity generation.

The report also shows that solar power accounted for more than a third of all electricity generated from energy sources that came online in 2017, a larger share than any other new source, the New York Times reports.

On top of this, solar power is becoming more affordable, the report shows, with the cost of electricity from large-scale solar projects dropping 72 percent in the last nine years.

However, fossil fuels still dominate existing capacity, Reuters reports.

“We are at a turning point … from fossil fuels to the renewable world,” Erik Solheim, head of U.N. Environment, told Reuters. “The markets are there and renewables can take on coal, they can take on oil and gas.”

“Much lower costs … are the driver of solar investment worldwide,” said Angus McCrone, chief editor of Bloomberg New Energy Finance and lead author of the report, told Reuters.

Solar, wind, biomass and other renewables generated 12.1% of world electricity in 2017, up from 5.2 percent a decade earlier, the report shows.

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