Small scale solar bucks global clean energy investment slump

Global investment in clean energy dipped in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2014.

A new report reveals that clean energy investment worldwide was $53bn in the second quarter of 2015, down 28 per cent on the $73.6bn in Q2 2014.

The study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance states that the slump is because “global investment this year is facing headwinds from the financial markets, with the sharp rise in the US currency over the last 12 months reducing the dollar value of deals struck in other countries”.

It adds that volatility in share prices, particularly in China, is holding back equity raising by specialist clean energy companies from both public market investors and venture capital and private equity funds.

However BNEF notes that there have been notable success stories in the second quarter. Small-scale solar enjoyed investment at $20.4bn, up 29 per cent on 2014.

Indeed it states that small solar projects of less than 1 MW are on course for a record year, with the US, Japan and China and other developing countries responding to “the improved cost-effectiveness of rooftop photovoltaics after the price falls of recent years”.

In Europe in the second quarter, there were two offshore wind deals that accounted for nearly $4.2bn of investment between them – the 402 MW Veja Mate array off Germany and the 400 MW E.ON Rampion project off England.

Meanwhile, Chile’s $1.3bn of investment in wind and solar is the highest that the country has committed in any quarter to date.

Of the total global second quarter investments of $53bn, China was the biggest contributor with $15.5bn – however this was down 36 per cent from its buoyant second quarter last year. Solar accounted for $6.4bn of the Chinese total, with one third of that in small-scale projects and two thirds in utility-scale PV parks.

In the US, investment in Q2 was $9.4bn, down 4 per cent on the first quarter and 21 per cent on Q2 2014.

After China and the US, the rest of the top five investment countries were Japan, Germany and the UK.

The largest category of clean energy investment was asset finance of utility-scale projects such as solar parks, wind farms, biomass and waste-to-energy generators, biofuel production units, geothermal plants, small hydro-electric schemes of less than 50 MW and marine energy projects. This amounted to $30.9bn between April and June.

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