July 9, 2018, by Brianna Jackson
The good news for clean energy is global investments in wind power surged during the first half of 2018. The bad news? Solar is slipping.
Financing for wind farms totaled $57.2 billion from January through June, up 33 percent from the same period in 2017, Bloomberg NEF said in a report Monday. Solar investments declined 19 percent to $71.6 billion.
The divergent trends demonstrate that investments in clean energy continue to hold steady, even as China slows development of solar farms. On balance, clean energy investments have been virtually flat so far in 2018, at $138.2 billion. The trends are apt to continue for the remainder of the year, BNEF chief editor Angus McCrone said.
“Solar will see a continuation of the same trend with the solar market in China cooling off,” McCrone said in an interview.
The surge of spending on wind power comes as companies develop sprawling projects from the U.S. to Taiwan. The biggest deals include $1.5 billion for a wind farm in the North Sea, $1 billion for a development on the plains of North Texas and $627 million for a project off the coast of Taiwan.
Investments in the U.S. soared to $17.5 billion — more than doubling from the first half of 2017. That came as developers are pushing to qualify for federal tax credits scheduled to end after 2019.
Wind investments also grew in China, rising to $17.6 billion in the first half of the year. Solar was a different story, as investments slumped 29 percent to $35.1 billion. That’s in part because Beijing announced June 1 that it was slowing the pace of solar developments. BNEF expects the full extent of that cutback won’t be clear until the second half of the year.
China is not the only reason solar investments are lagging. The average price of solar panels has declined 19 percent in the last year. That means solar farms are cheaper to build, and, hence, require lower investments.