Two joint reports recently released found that solar energy is the top renewable energy technology worldwide. Solar power investment increased 52 percent last year.
The reports–the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012 (known as the REN21 report), from the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Renewables 2012 Global Status Report, from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century — revealed that the United States is No. 2 worldwide in renewable energy investment. U.S. renewable energy investments increased by 57 percent in 2011, to over $51 billion.
Part of the reason renewable energy investment activity rose last year was so that developers could take advantage of three incentive programs. Those programs were set to expire in 2011 and 2012.
The REN21 report showed that renewable energy met nearly 17 percent of global energy demand in 2011. Furthermore, renewable power (excluding hydro) accounted for 44 percent of all new generating capacity around the world, up from 34 percent in 2010.