Global investment in renewable energy spiked 11% in the first half of this year, relative to the same period in 2021, rising to $226 billion and setting a new record according to data from BloombergNEF.
It was the “best-ever first half for renewables investment,” the firm said in a research note published Tuesday. The bulk of that spending went to finance solar and wind projects, analysts said.
Investment in large- and small-scale solar projects reached $120 billion, up 33% over the first six months of 2021. Financing for wind projects jumped 16% to $84 billion.
China led solar investment, with $41 billion in the first half of 2022. The U.S. followed with solar investment of $7.5 billion, followed by Japan at $3.9 billion, according to the data.
China also led first-half wind investment at $57.8 billion, more than doubling its investment in the same period last year. The U.S. investment was the second largest, at $19.7 billion, representing a 9% increase over the first half of 2021, BNEF said.
“This was the highest ever first half for investment in renewables, supported by record venture capital and private equity funding,” according to a summary of the BNEF data.
“Despite the headwinds presented by ongoing cost inflation and supply chain challenges, demand for clean energy sources has never been higher, and we expect that the global energy crisis will continue to act as an accelerant for the clean energy transition,” BNEF Head of Global Analysis Albert Cheung said in a statement.
One area where the United States does lead the world is in renewable energy venture capital and private equity investment, BNEF said. These private funding mechanisms have been “key elements in the growth of renewable energy and storage since these technologies emerged,” the firm said.
Global venture capital and private equity expansion investment in renewable energy was $9.6 billion in the first half, up 63% -- and the U.S. accounted for about half of that at $4.8 billion, followed by Germany at $1 billion, BNEF said.
The largest deal in the first half was independent power producer Silicon Ranch Corp. securing $775 million in new equity capital, including a roughly $400 million commitment from Manulife Investment Management. Silicon Ranch has more than 4 GW of solar and battery storage systems in varying stages of development and operation in North America.