Developing countries increased their renewable energy investments by more than $74.3 billion to $177.1 billion in 2017, according to a new report by UN Environment in collaboration with the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. By comparison, developing countries invested $102.8 billion in renewables during 2016.
The report, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report 2018, found that “Developing economies accounted for a record 63 percent of global investment in renewable energy in 2017, up from 54 percent in 2016.”
“The ‘big three’ of China, India and Brazil accounted for just over half of the global investment in renewables excluding large hydro last year, with China alone representing 45 percent, up from 35 percent in 2016,” the report states.
The shrinking gap between the investments made by developing economies and developed economies during 2017 reflects a broader global shift toward green forms of energy and a brisk expansion in solar energy.
The report ranks India as fourth in terms of new investments in renewable energy. In 2017, Mercom researchers found that the Indian solar sector logged over $10 billion (~₹650 billion) in financing activity in Mercom’s 2017 Q4 and Annual India Solar Market Update.
Mercom found that 2017 project financing into the Indian solar sector rose to about $6.4 billion (~₹416 billion) on the back of 9.6 GW in solar installations, compared to $3.5 billion (~₹228 billion) in financing during 2016, when 4 GW of solar was installed.
However, the new UN Environment report sounded a warning bell for the country by noting that Indian investments have oscillated in the range of $6 billion to $14 billion since 2010, and have not yet reached the level required for the country to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious renewable energy goals for 2022.
According to the UN Environment report, “In India, solar activity was held back by an unexpected rise in PV module prices in local currency terms, due to a sudden reduction in the oversupply of imported Chinese units, exacerbated by the imposition of a 7.5 percent import duty on modules, and a local goods and service tax on panels. There was also a slowing in the pace of solar auctions around India.”
The findings are in line with observations made by Mercom. Previously, Mercom reported that India’s solar tender and auction activity slowed down substantially in July 2017. The reduction in activity was related to uncertainty surrounding the applicable GST rates for solar, DISCOMs seeking lower tariffs after the Bhadla record-low bid, and an anti-dumping investigation initiated against solar imports from China, Taiwan, and Malaysia.