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Global solar power investment continues to increase

18th Oct 2011

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has released a report which shows the global investment in solar power increased in the third quarter of 2011.

The growth comes despite obstacles in the form of the European financial crisis and falls in the value of clean energy shares.

Investment in clean energy technology rose nine per cent higher than the second quarter of 2011 - up to $45.4 billion.

Solar panel systems, biofuels, solar thermal plants and geothermal projects have all seen a boost in the last three months.

Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance says: "Over the past three years we have seen extraordinary falls in the prices of clean energy equipment - wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels.

"As these figures show, this has driven up installation rates and asset investment levels."

According to Liebreich, the current climate is a buyer's market - with suppliers reporting stock levels above demand.

Bloomberg has investigated the average price of solar photovoltaic systems and found that they have fallen by one-third since spring 2010.

Compared to mid-2008 prices, solar power technology is now 70 per cent cheaper at the current market rate.

Increased affordability has led to thousands of Australians installing rooftop solar panels in their home, allowing them to generate their own clean energy and reduce their reliance on power companies.

Many have been eligible to take part in state-run feed-in tariff schemes that pay consumers for the excess energy they channel into the grid.

Investment in wind farms has also seen dramatic growth - now representing more than one gigawatt in worldwide capacity and $6.3 billion in investment.

The cost of this technology has fallen 20 per cent since 2009, resulting in more and more wind farms being built around the globe.

A number of large-scale clean energy company acquisitions - valued at $25.9 billion this quarter - have signalled increasing confidence in the technology.

Liebreich says: "The low valuations for clean energy companies are giving industrial groups and utilities the opportunity to move in on a sector that they know will enjoy growth over the medium to long term."

Bloomberg reported a total of $243 billion being spent on clean energy technology in 2010, with analysts now looking towards fourth-quarter activity - which posted record investment numbers in the same time last year. 

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent

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