A report released by the U.N. Environment Program says solar energy alone attracted investments of $147 billion in 2011.
This was helped by falling costs for solar cells as Chinese manufacturers sparked a price battle that put several American and German competitors out of business.
China claimed almost a fifth of the total investment volume. The Asian nation spent $52 billion on renewable energy.
The United States was close behind with investments of $51 billion. Germany, Italy and India made up the top five.
Puerto Rico’s renewable energy industry has been heating up as investors tap into a range of solar and wind projects around the island.
San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group is developing Finca de Viento Santa Isabel, the first commercial wind energy project in Puerto Rico and the largest in the Caribbean. The 75 megawatt (MW) wind project, located in the southern municipality of Santa Isabel, contemplates a private investment of approximately $215 million.
Other private investors are developing large wind, solar and waste-to-energy projects and planning to sell the power they produce back to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
Canada-based Western Wind Energy Corp. is looking to Puerto Rico to fuel future growth and is already developing a $150 million solar project in the south coast town of Yabucoa.
The Yabucoa project would be bigger than the 24 MW solar farm being developed by Virginia-based AES Corp. in the southcoast town of Guayama.
Construction on the AES project, the first commercial-scale solar operation in Puerto Rico, has begun. It will also be the Caribbean’s largest solar energy project, at least until the Western Wind operation comes online.
Fonroche is set to break ground on a $115 million, 44 megawatt solar project.