Global new investment in renewable power and fuels (not including hydropower projects larger than 50 megawatts, MW) totalled USD 301.7 billion in 2019, as estimated by BloombergNEFi. This was a 5% increase from 2018, due in part to greater spending on small-scale solar PV systems. Investment in renewable power and fuels has exceeded USD 200 billion annually since 2010.

Investment in renewable power and fuel capacity accounted for much of the 2019 total, at USD 282.2 billion, up 1% from 2018. ( See Figure 49 and Reference Table 22.) Investment in hydropower projects larger than 50 MW added an estimated USD 15 billion to the global total in 2019ii.1

Figure 49

Note: Figure does not include investment in hydropower projects larger than 50 MW. Investment totals have been rounded to nearest billion.

Source: BloombergNEF.

Investment in renewable power capacity was

three times

the level of investment in coal, natural gas and nuclear generating capacity combined in 2019.

These estimates do not include investment in renewable heating and cooling technologies, for which data are not collected systematically.

Investment in new renewable power capacity (excluding large hydropower) was almost three times the level of investment in fossil fuel generating capacity and accounted for a remarkable 71% of the total amount committed to new power generating capacity (including coal, natural gas and nuclear) in 2019.

Investment in renewable energy continued to be dominated by wind power and solar photovoltaics (PV). Asset finance of utility-scaleiii projects, such as wind farms and solar parks, dominated investment at USD 230.1 billion worldwide. Small-scale solar PV installations (less than 1 MW in size) accounted for USD 52.1 billion.


iThis chapter is derived from the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2020 (Frankfurt: 2020), the sister publication to the GSR, prepared by the Frankfurt School–UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance (FS-UNEP Centre) in co-operation with BloombergNEF. Data are based on the output of the Desktop database of BloombergNEF, unless otherwise noted, and reflect the timing of investment decisions. The following renewable energy projects are included: all biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal and wind power projects of more than 1 MW; all hydropower projects of between 1 and 50 MW; all solar power projects, with solar PV projects less than 1 MW estimated separately and referred to as small-scale projects or small-scale distributed capacity; all ocean energy projects; and all biofuel projects with an annual production capacity of 1 million litres or more. For more information, see the FS-UNEP Centre and BloombergNEF Global Trends report. Where totals do not add up, the difference is due to rounding. Capacity investment values include asset finance volume adjusted for re-invested equity as well as small distributed capacity investment for solar power. Total investment values include capacity investment values and estimates for undisclosed deals as well as R&D and company investment (venture capital, private equity and public market new equity).i

iiInvestment in large-scale hydropower (>50 MW) is not included in the overall total for investment in renewable energy. Similarly, investment in large-scale hydropower is not included in the figures throughout this chapter, unless otherwise noted.ii

iii“Utility-scale” here refers to wind farms, solar parks and other renewable power installations of 1 MW or more in size, and to biofuel production facilities with capacity exceeding 1 million litres.iii