India's initiative in the renewable energy sector has received praise in the report on renewable energy trends in 2011, launched, on Monday, by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.

India's National Solar Mission helps the country spur an impressive 62 per cent increase in investments to $12 billion during the year, the fastest investment expansion of any large renewables market in the world, the report says.

According to the report, total global investment in renewables, excluding large hydro, increased by 17 per cent to $257 billion in 2011 — a six fold increase over the 2004 figure and 94 per cent higher than the total in 2007. In more countries, renewable energy has outgrown its ‘niche player' status and now represents a significant share of total energy supply.

Solar generation surged past wind power to become the renewable energy technology of choice for global investors in 2011, the report says.

In fact, solar attracted nearly twice as much investment as wind. Solar photovoltaic capacity moved rapidly into new regions and countries.

Renewable energy capacity

India also finds place in the report as one among the seven countries of the world for renewable energy capacity, excluding large hydro, accounting for about 70 per cent of the total non-hydro renewable capacity worldwide. The other countries are China, the United States, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan.

By region, the European Union was home to nearly 37 per cent of the global non-hydro renewable capacity by the end of 2011.

China, India and Brazil together accounted for roughly one-quarter, the report says. At least 118 countries, more than half of which are developing countries, had renewable energy targets in place by early 2012 and that is up from 96 countries a year before.

The report says that in the power sector, renewables accounted for almost half of the estimated 208 gigawatts (GW) of electric capacity added globally during 2011. By the end of 2011, total renewable power capacity worldwide exceeds 1,360 GW, up 8 per cent over 2010. The estimated total global power generating capacity was 5,360 GW in 2011.

More In: Industry | Business