Investors get more watts for their buck as price for solar technology drops

BERLIN – A dramatic drop in the price of solar power technology last year helped the continued growth of renewable energy.

A U.N.-backed report published Wednesday shows the energy-generating capacity from renewable sources worldwide rose by 115 gigawatts in 2012, compared with 105 gigawatts the previous year.

The installed renewable energy capacity exceeded 1,470 gigawatts, equivalent to about 1,500 nuclear reactors.

The United Nations Environment Program said the trend showed investors were getting more watts per dollar as manufacturing costs dropped. Prices for Chinese solar products in particular have plummeted.

That helped bring the cost of investment down 12 per cent to $244 billion from $279 billion in 2011.

UNEP said investment was strong in developing countries and Japan last year, but stagnated or fell in the United States and many European countries.