China leads global solar energy investment as US, Europe lag

A U.N.-backed report shows more money was invested in solar energy last year than in any other power source, with China responsible for much of the boom.

Overall, a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity were installed worldwide in 2017. Global investment in solar topped $160 billion, an increase of 18 percent compared to the previous year.

China alone spent $86.5 billion on solar installations, adding 53 gigawatts of capacity.

The report, published Thursday, found renewable energy investments in the United States, Europe and Japan declined noticeably in 2017, partly due to falling prices.

Total renewable energy investments reached almost $280 billion last year. Coal and gas accounted for $103 billion, while spending on large hydropower dams and nuclear plants stood at $45 billion and $42 billion respectively.